Manchester City Council

Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Audit Committee - Tuesday, 11th February, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Council Antechamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension. View directions

Contact: Andrew Woods 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 241 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 10 December 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision

 

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 10 December 2019 as a correct record.

 

2.

Internal Audit Assurance Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 817 KB

The report of the Deputy Chief Executive andCity Treasurer / Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management is enclosed.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer and the Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management that provided a summary of the audit work undertaken and opinions issued in the period April to December 2019.

 

The Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management introduced the key themes as set out within the report. The Chair then invited questions from the Committee.

 

A Member sought further information regarding the current vacancies within the Audit Department. The Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management stated that two temporary staff had been appointed to cover imminent vacancies and the intention was to have implemented a full review and restructure by the end of June 2020, following the appropriate consultations. He described that this programme of work was being delivered in conjunction with Bolton Council and he envisaged that this approach, in addition to reviewing the progression opportunities for staff would make Manchester an attractive and interesting place to work that would also help assist with the recruitment and retention of staff.

 

A Member enquired if staff with audit responsibilities across the schools’ estate were appropriately trained and competent to discharge their responsibilities. The Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management commented that appropriate oversight and support for this function was promoted across all schools for this critical role and advice and guidance, including lessons learnt was provided to Head Teachers. A Member commented that a service level agreement should be introduced regarding training for school business managers to assist them and support them in the areas of activity and themes that emerged from the audit work. The Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management stated that he would raise this with colleagues in the Education Department and the Schools Group with a view to progressing this, noting that issues seemed to arise when schools deviated from agreed purchase protocols and systems.

 

A Member sought clarification as to who was responsible for recommendations identified for schools and if any remained outstanding, where were these reported to and monitored. The Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management clarified that there existed a separate schools’ recommendations tracker and that they were monitored, and if areas of concern were identified these would be reported to the Executive Member for Children and Schools and if appropriate to the Audit Committee. He further stated that clarification would be sought as to whether any outstanding recommendations relating to schools needed to be included in the regular Outstanding Audit Recommendations report that was considered by the Committee.

 

The Head of Internal Audit and Risk commented that there was significant work required to improve Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIA) and said that work had been undertaken to reiterate the importance for officers to complete these in a timely manner and a programme of actions had been agreed, in consultation with the City Solicitor to improve this area of activity. A Member noted the importance of this as failure to carry out a DPIA when required or  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Outstanding Audit Recommendations pdf icon PDF 598 KB

The report of the Deputy Chief Executive andCity Treasurer / Head of Audit and Risk Management is enclosed.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer and the Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management that provided a summary of the current implementation position and arrangements for monitoring and reporting internal and external audit recommendations.

 

The Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management introduced the key themes as set out within the report. The Chair then invited questions from the Committee.

 

Members sought an opinion as to whether those recommendations that were reported as being over nine months would be completed or whether the relevant Executive Member and Strategic Lead would be required to attend a future meeting of the Audit Committee to explain why they remained outstanding. A Member enquired if the Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management was satisfied that the system for monitoring Outstanding Audit Recommendations was working efficiently. The Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management commented that the Committee had heard from the relevant officers and Executive Members in regard to the outstanding recommendations over nine months and further commented that this approach had assisted in keeping a focus and accountability on this area of work, noting that this approach had been supportive and helpful to the Audit Team.

 

A Member commented that whilst he welcomed the list of outstanding recommendations listed by length of time they remained outstanding, what was being done to recognise, and where appropriate prioritise new entries. The Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management acknowledged the comment and stated that consideration would be given to the format of the reporting and the allocation of a critical score against each entry to assist with the prioritisation of each individual recommendation.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer informed the Committee that both herself and other Senior Management Team members did assess the critical levels of each recommendation when the reports from Audit were received. She further added that whilst the ambition was always to reduce the number of outstanding recommendations, the number of these was relatively low when compared to the number of recommendations made.

A Member sought an update on the recommendations that remained outstanding in relation to the Disability Supported Accommodation Services and Transition to Adult Services. The Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management stated that an audit opinion on Disability Supported Accommodation Services would be provided at both the March and April 2020 meetings of the Committee and this would further update Members on the implementation of these. He further commented that the report would be updated and any revised target dates for the Transition to Adult Services recommendations would be included when this information was next reported to the Committee.

 

The Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management responded to a question asked by a Member in regard to the implementation date of the Supervisions Google Form by advising that this would be checked and updated in the report for when it was next submitted to the Committee.

 

In response to a question asked by a Member in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Audit Strategy Memorandum pdf icon PDF 4 MB

A copy of the Audit Strategy Memorandum from the Council’s external auditors (Mazars) is enclosed.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Council’s external auditors Mazars that summarised their audit approach, highlighted significant audit risks and areas of key judgements and provide the Committee with the details of their audit team.

 

Karen Murray, Mazars introduced the key themes as set out within the report. The Chair then invited questions from the Committee.

 

A member of the Committee enquired if the reporting deadline of 31 July was achievable. Karen Murray described that last year there had been a challenge nationally to adhere to the deadline and it was anticipated that this would be repeated this year. She described that discussions were currently ongoing with the appropriate government minister to understand if this deadline could be extended, however Mazars continued to work to the 31 July deadline, pending any ministerial decision. She said that she would continue to liaise with the City Treasurer as these discussions progressed to ensure the correct opinion was delivered.

 

In response to a question regarding the IFRS 16 Leases accounting standard, Karen Murray described that work was ongoing to understand the impact of this reporting requirement. She stated that to date they as the external auditor were satisfied with the approach that was being taken by Manchester City Council to comply with this requirement to disclose this information and regular meetings with the finance team would continue to monitor this significant piece of work to comply with the relevant accounting standard.

 

The Chair supported a comment from a Member who described that the addition of another layer of reporting made it difficult for the lay reader to fully understand the Council’s accounts and noted the additional work this represented for officers. The Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer stated that the requirements to comply with the accounting were very challenging and she paid tribute to the staff who worked within the Finance Team. She described that consideration had been given to streamlining the reporting of the accounts, however to comply with the legislation and reporting standards this was very challenging and she commented that a summary of the accounts was always provided.

 

Decision

 

To note the report.

 

5.

Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 161 KB

A copy of the Committee Work Programme and Recommendations Monitor is enclosed.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Members considered the Committee’s work programme. A Member requested that the meeting dates for the 2020/21 municipal year be circulated.

 

Decisions

 

The Committee;

 

1. Note the Work Programme.

 

2. Recommend that the Governance Officer circulate the meeting dates for the 2020/21 municipal year.