Agenda item

Verbal Report from Jamie Hay, Senior Internal Auditor


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The Committee received an update from the Senior Internal Auditor as follows;


·         Over the past year provide assurance to senior management and elected members

·         17 Successful Audit completed. These audits covered a range of areas, including financial controls, compliance with regulations, and operational efficiency.

·         2 Outstanding Audits- Local Council Tax Support/ Housing Benefit and Council Tax/Non-Domestic Rates

·         Overall assurance opinion provided- 2 substantial assurance, 9 reasonable assurance and 3 limited assurances and 3 Position Statements.

·         One significant achievement has been assurance regarding the mitigation of risks to the council and local authority trading companies objectives.

·         Identified 102 actionable recommendations to mitigate these risks - 10 high, 31 medium and 61 low and a further 13 Suggested Actions within Position Statements

·         All 7 audits carried forward from 2022/23 annual plan were concluded by 24/07/23.

·         7,312 investigations were completed exceeding the KPI target of 5,000 (an achievement of 146%) for fraud and corruption.

·         Due to an increase in the number of matches received in year 3,836 cases were carried forward into the 2024/25 financial year.

·         Identified Fraud & Error Totalled = £323,145.77

·         Traced Debtors/Absconders Totalled = £145,413.94.

·         Overall = £468,559.71

·         Looking ahead we are committed to concluding the remaining audits of the 2023/24 plan prior to the full progress report presented in June. Work has also commenced on all Quarter 1 audits of the 2024/25 Annual Internal Audit Plan which is being presented shortly.

·         The Senior Internal Auditor thanked responsible officers, senior leadership and the Audit Committee for their ongoing support and guidance.



The Chair invited questions and comments from the Committee, as summarised below;


The Senior Internal Auditor responded to questions from Councillor Bearshaw and advised recommendations from previous years which were outstanding were being looked at and a progress report for this would be ready in June 2024. He stated if the Audit Committee would like further reasons as to why recommendations were outstanding then individual officers as can be asked to attend Audit Committee to explain why.


The Head of Internal Audit added further that the recommendations were discussed with Senior Management and highlighted to them to enable to support Internal Audit with ensuring the recommendations were implemented.


Councillor Bearshaw commented that with the severity of some of the recommendations, had SMART actions been considered.


In response to Councillor Bearshaw, the Chair asked for a draft progress report of the actions in May before it was presented to the Committee in June.


The Senior Internal Auditor confirmed a progress report could be communicated to the Committee in May.


Councillor Devulapalli sought clarification on the assessment of risks in which the Senior Internal Auditor confirmed the risks were identified and decided by management and risks were graded by them as red, amber, and green.


Cllr Bearshaw commented that the butterfly matrix presents risk information a lot easier and suggested the Committee wait until this is brought back to them before undertaking training on risk as requested by the Chair.  The Chair supported this. 


At the invitation of the Chair, the Portfolio Holder for Finance addressed the Committee. Councillor Morley commented there was a comprehensive list of timescales for recommendations to be completed by.  An example was procurement which is outstanding due to delays in new legislation post Brexit but hopefully this will now progress.


In response to Councillor Devulapalli’s question, he added there was corporate strategy and objectives which related to risk which feed into the Risk Register and then to the Corporate Performance Panel.  He commented that the process was well placed in the organisation but needed to ensure it is followed correctly and this panel oversees that.


RESOLVED: The Committee noted the update