Agenda item

Agenda item

Internal Audit Update - Quarter 1 (2022/23)

The report of Head of Audit and Risk Management is attached.


The Committee received a report of The Head of Audit and Risk Management which provided an update of the progress on the agreed audit plan and detailed assurance opinions issued in the first Quarter of 2023/24.


In addition to the background and context, the report included:


·       An outline of progress and delivery of the Audit Programme

·       Audit assurance findings, risks and issues with specific reference to Payment Systems and Processes, Schools Financial Value Standards (SFVS) and Related Parties, Housing Services, Commercial and Contracts, and Climate Change.


The Head of Audit and Risk Management introduced the report with reference to its new format and enhanced focus on key issues arising from audit work and the incorporation of other sources of assurance. He referred to the Council’s robust Overview and Scrutiny function which through established reporting arrangements provide assurance on a variety of Council functions.


In response to the new format, a member suggested added clarity could be given in respect of audit reviews and follow up activity.


In response to the report’s discussion about a backlog of payments within the Council social care system (Liquid Logic) to providers, it was explained a number of payments had been actioned outside of the system to mitigate cashflow impacts on providers, where indicated. Reference was made to the associated challenge and complexity around payments outside of the establish process was also discussed. The deputy City Treasurer added that a working group had been constituted to review payment processes so that issues are identified and resolved at the earliest possible opportunity.


In respect of controls that are in place for any such transactions valued over £20,000 in the schools sector, the Head of Audit and Risk Management gave emphasis to the role of Governor oversight and challenge, to address concerns over transparency, in particular where payments to family members were found. He outlined a number of planned actions to support schools in strengthening their governance arrangements.


With regard to the reports discussion about fire risk, the Head of Audit and Risk Management gave assurance that whilst those issues were of concern, he was satisfied that the challenge around identified compliance matters were well understood by managers and that there was a plan in place to address those concerns. He added that the key consideration for him was centred on the tracking and implementation of identified actions to address the issues around fire risk as well as the procedures that are in place to resolve and prevent a recurrence of outstanding works. The Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer gave assurance that the matter was considered with the highest possible regard and referred to the scope of work being undertaken by colleagues in Housing Operations to resolve a number of legacy issues since returning in-house. She referred to earlier engagement with the Regulator adding that a clear plan had been established with robust oversight from the Housing Improvement Board in terms of implementation. The Committee agreed to a further update on this matter being included in the next scheduled update (Quarter 2) planned for October 2023 with a focus on likely timescales for completion.


Discussions moved to the issue of damp and mould. The Head of Audit and Risk explained that a plan was in place to ensure that the Council remained cognisant of developing regulatory and legislative requirements as well as other requirements for Housing Services, including matters concerning procurement and contracts and that further work around contracts assurance. Further information on this would be brought to a future meeting of this committee.


The Chair asked a question about the aids and adaptations delivery model with regard to assessment, design and implementation. The Head of Audit and Risk Management confirmed that management were seeking to address the delays in service delivery performance and that a number of recommendations had been made arising from the audit.




1.    To note the report.


2.    To note the intention to provide a further update on Housing Services findings in the next scheduled update.


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