The Committee is asked to note the report.
Theresa Mortimer, CIA presented the report which informed members on the progress of the internal audit activity in relation to the 2018/2019 Internal Audit Plan and provided a progress report on the internal audit outcomes from the period October to December 2018 including the opinions provided on risk and control. Members were pleased to note that no limited assurance opinions on control or risk had been provided during this period.
The report included a graphical summary that highlighted the opinions provided for the 2018/19 year to December 2018.
The CIA informed the committee that internal audit made two recommendations to improve the control environment, these were both deemed as medium priority and were both accepted by management.
The Committee discussed the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) in considerable detail, particularly around the underspend position. The CIA explained that the audit was a grant certification audit which verified that the expenditure was in accordance with the terms and conditions of the grant criteria. It was noted that consideration could be given to the Health Overview Scrutiny Committee discussing this issue further, whilst considering the time it takes to complete the process for adaptations to an individual’s home. The Committee asked the Commissioning Director to look at the DFG in his district capacity role.
One member suggested that it would be beneficial to look at ways in which the audit committees across the county could work together more effectively.
Members wished to know who had the authority to cancel or defer an audit, they were concerned that individual managers could prevent or influence an audit from taking place. The CIA advised the Committee that in her role as the Council’s Chief Internal Auditor, she had a cancellation / deferral process in place which is based on current risk, reaffirming that the audit plan is a dynamic and living plan based on in year risk and changes to the Council’s risk profile. The CIA is required to provide an opinion on the control environment under the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and is required to be independent in her decision making, with the ability to report to the Audit and Governance Committee if it is felt that she has been unduly influenced. This reporting on ‘limitations on the scope of activity’ statement is provided to the Audit and Governance Committee in the Annual Report on Internal Audit activity.
The CIA stated that she would review the plan and reprioritise accordingly and assured the Committee that she would be compromising her professional standards if she was influenced in any way. All changes to the plan are discussed with and reported to the Director of Strategic Finance. Members requested that the terminology for cancelled be amended to deferred/postponed.
The CIA explained that the team was working closely with Directors to devise the Internal Audit Plan for 2019/20, and any items which had been deferred / cancelled would be viewed and re risk assessed against the long list of other identified activities. The CIA explained that many of her team were heavily involved in the GFRS audits and resources had to be re-allocated accordingly. The Head of Financial Services added that new risks arise during the course of the year and it was not always possible to plan for these situations, therefore there needed to be room for the plan to adapt appropriately.
That the report be noted.