The Committee is asked to note that the performance of Internal Audit meets the required standards.
Theresa Mortimer, Chief Internal Auditor (CIA) presented the report in great detail. The Committee were provided with an annual report on Internal Audit activity, which met the CIA annual reporting requirements as set out in Public Sector Internal Audit Standards 2017 (PSIAS).
The report provided an annual opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s Internal Control environment comprising risk management, control and governance, this opinion supported the Council’s Annual Governance Statement. It was explained that a satisfactory opinion was provided, with the exception of the matters relating to children’s services.
Members were referred to page 333 of the report which described the meaning of opinions given and page 338 which provided the Committee with a pie chart summary of the overall opinions given during 2016/2017.
The CIA demonstrated that 83% of audited activity received a substantial or satisfactory opinion on control and 86% received on risk. The Committee’s attention was drawn to the spreadsheet which provided a summary of the activity undertaken from which the CIA’s opinion was derived.
It was noted that the report provided a summary of counter fraud activity undertaken during the year, such as work on special investigations, participation in the National Fraud Initiative Data matching exercise, updating and reviewing the Council’s anti-fraud polices and compliance with the Local Government Transparency Code 2015. The CIA also presented the Fraud and irregularity reporting requirements and updates on working with Gloucestershire Fraud Hub to support counter fraud work.
The Committee noted that the PSIAS also required the CIA to annually report on compliance with the PSIAS, reporting any non-conformance; and summarise the performance of the Internal Audit function.
It was reported that an external quality assessment had been undertaken by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (national standard setters) where Internal Audit received 100% conformance.
The CIA explained that at the end of each audit review, Internal Audit requested customer feedback. Officers were pleased to report that 100% of customers rated the service as good or excellent.
Members were informed that there were always lessons to be learnt and customer feedback was used to ensure that Internal Audit fully considered where improvements could be made. It was explained that individual staff targets had been set to assist with achieving these outcomes.
The Committee was provided with a progress report in relation to those audits undertaken during the period April – June 2017. Member’s attention was drawn to a limited assurance opinion provided on control relating to Retrospective Orders. It was noted that whilst management had accepted and responded positively to the recommendations made, Internal Audit would continue to monitor their implementation. It was recommended that senior management attend the next meeting of the Committee to provide an update on the actions taken in relation to the recommendations made. The Committee welcomed this approach.
Members suggested that the third paragraph of the Chief Internal Auditor’s Opinion on page 333 of the report, in relation to the Improvements Board be amended to include ‘Group Leaders’.
That the Committee assessed, from the findings set out in the report that it could take reasonable assurance that the internal control environment, comprising of risk management, control and governance was operating effectively.
That senior management attend the next meeting of the Committee to provide an update on the actions taken in relation to the recommendations made in the limited assurance Retrospective Orders audit report.
That the Committee noted that the performance of Internal Audit met the required standards.