Agenda item

For Audit Committee to consider the following recommendations:

a)    Internal Audit Charter 2024/25

b)    The Internal Audit Strategy 2024/25

c)    The Strategic Plan 2024/25 to 2026/27

d)    The Annual Internal Audit Plan for 2024/25.



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The Committee received a report from Head of Internal Audit.


The report included the Internal Audit Charter which defined the authority’s purpose, roles, and responsibilities The Head of Internal Audit highlighted to the committee of the relevant changes which were title changes only. The Internal Audit Strategy detailed the resources and approach of the audit. It also included the three-year strategic internal audit plan and annual plan as well as an assurance map for the top 5 risks as at 2023/24 which had not been updated this year. Further work was required to produce more detailed maps on corporate risks. It signified there was a total of 307 Audit days, 23 audits and time for follow up included in the plan.


The Chair thanked the Head of Internal Audit, for their report and invited questions and comments from the Committee as summarised below:


Councillor Dark commended the Officer on the report and referred to Appendix 5 of the report which was the five strategic risks in an assurance map and sought for reassurance that the audit work in third line had been undertaken.


The Senior Internal Auditor advised the Cost Management Audit had been deferred to year 2024/25 plan. He added, that the audit on Economic Growth was carried out this year and had reasonable assurance opinion given. The third risk, an Anti-Social Behaviour and Community Safety audit was carried out in 2022/23 along with, Homelessness and Housing Options which was concluded for year 2023/24 and a reasonable opinion given. Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates was still being finalised. Organisational Change was deferred due to a review and assessment outstanding by an external provider in liaison with the Personnel Department.


Councillor Dark suggested this was put in writing for Councillors to understand the position of all five strategic risks and the third line of assurance.


The Chair agreed with Councillor Dark for an update on the third line of assurance and timeline and sought clarification that these risks were either being audited currently or would be audited in the future.


The Senior Internal Auditor confirmed this could be put in writing.


Councillor De Winton asked if the internal audit would also audit the Council owned companies.


In response to Councillor De Winton’s question, the Head of Internal Audit advised that as subsidiaries of the Borough Council, they could not be audited unless agreement had been made with the companies to allow engagement with the auditors. If they were audited in the Council’s Audit plan, it would be from the point of view of the Borough Council managing and monitoring these companies.


The Senior Internal Auditor added that as part of June progress report, included would be executive summary of position statements of West Norfolk Housing Company and West Norfolk Property Company and would specify what was carried out as part of the audit and provide assurance.


Councillor Bearshaw commented that the companies of the Borough Council could be audited by the external auditor. He also asked if all the 32 audit areas detailed in the strategic plan would be audited over the 3 years.


The Head of Internal Audit advised that over the 3 years some areas may not be audited. Different strategies were going to be considered for different audit areas going forward rather than just repeating audits on a cyclical basis. 23 audits would be enough for an audit opinion to be given by the Head of Internal Audit in 2024/25. The plan was not fixed so any emerging risks needed to be considered throughout the year and the audit plan adapted if needed.


Councillor Devulapalli referred to the Council companies being audited and stated that as they deal with large sums of money they should be audited.


The Assistant Director confirmed a financial audit was carried out as the statement of accounts must be published by the appointed external auditor for the companies “Ensors”.


The Chair invited the Portfolio Holder for Finance to address the Committee. Councillor Morley reminded the Committee of the Shareholders meeting, taking place the next day and that these questions could be asked under Standing Order 34. The business plan for the housing and property companies would include the how their audit will be undertaken.


The Chair asked about the audit for Alive West Norfolk. In response, Senior Internal Auditor advised the leisure facilities had been discussed and liaising with them to gain assurance in other areas such as health and safety.


Councillor Jones as the Chair for Alive West Norfolk clarified audit was carried out by external auditors.


Portfolio Holder, Councillor Morley reminded the Committee budgets and statement of accounts for Alive West Norfolk were available for Councillors. He commented the risks of Alive West Norfolk were being considered due to the Borough Council financing the company.


Councillor Dark agreed with Councillor Morley’s comments and advised there was financial and also non-financial considerations around Alive West Norfolk which delivered well-being and support to our communities. He noted his frustration as was advised this had been considered from the start of the administration however it was now being delayed. He commented strategic audit needed to be carried out and stressed the urgency of that report being delivered. 



RESOLVED: The Committee approves recommendations as set out below:


a)    Internal Audit Charter 2024/25

b)    The Internal Audit Strategy 2024/25

c)    The Strategic Plan 2024/25 to 2026/27

d)    The Annual Internal Audit Plan for 2024/25.


Supporting documents: