Agenda item

Internal Audit - Progress Report

This report provides an update on progress against that plan and summarises the results of work to date.


Consideration was given to a report which provided an update on progress made against the internal audit plan for 2021/22 as agreed by the Governance and Audit Committee on 18 March 2021.


Two changes to the 2021/22 internal audit plan had been requested by management since the last meeting of the Committee. Following some additional work to provide management with assurance that previously agreed actions relating to cash handling had been implemented, it was agreed that an audit of ‘income and banking’ be undertaken which had been added to the plan. In addition, the ‘repairs stock’ item had been removed as the Council no longer held stock.


The Chairman queried the performance of local land charges. It was noted that the previous meeting of the Governance and Audit Committee had referred this matter onto the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee for consideration.


In terms of the audit plan itself, the Chairman asked whether there was sufficient time to undertake the number of audits it comprised of when taking into account some significant items that were included. An assurance was given that there was sufficient time to deliver full audits on all activities scheduled in the plan.


An update was provided on the Disabled Facilities Grant and, overall, it was found that the controls in place were adequately designed and operating effectively. Testing had confirmed compliance with all controls and, as a result, no management actions were raised.


A question was raised whether the specification of the Disabled Facilities Grant audit was appropriate, with an assurance sought that funding was being properly and efficiently allocated every year. It was a reported that a full scoping was developed at the outset of the audit which did challenge management on key areas of the scheme. Members expressed concerns that the budget was consistently underspent and part of the audit should have led to understanding why this was the case. The opinion from the perspective of customers going through the process should also have been sought in terms of their experiences and the timescales involved from applying for the grant to improvements being installed in their homes. It was also suggested that procedures of other local authorities should have been used to inform the audit. It was agreed that these comments would be taken away and given due consideration for similar audits undertaken in the future.


In terms of corporate complaints, the update highlighted and confirmed issues with the current complaints system as discussed at a recent meeting of the Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee. A member challenged the 30 September 2021 target date timescale as being optimistic but it was noted that a report would be submitted to the Governance and Audit Committee at its September meeting.


Reference was made to ten control areas set out in the report at page 220 of the agenda pack, noting that of ten control areas five were non-compliant, with those non-compliant control areas being categorised as two low priorities and three medium priorities. It was reported that this was the first time the Council had worked together with RSM on a continued assurance basis and that this had been a useful piece of work, identifying and confirming where improvements were needed but also highlighting those other areas that had stood up well to their testing. The Interim Director of Finance and Section 151 Officer reminded the Committee that the Council had specifically identified areas to be reviewed as officers were aware of potential concerns which would need highlighting and addressing, so it was expected that there would be a degree of non-compliance in some areas. Identifying where improvements were needed would be extremely helpful as a result of this work in helping address and improve the issues.


Confirmation was sought as to the definition of ‘new starter’. This related to new South Kesteven District Council employees and did not include contractors or sub-contractors. In respect of supplier bank accounts, a question was asked as to whether this related to new suppliers during the Covid-19 pandemic or regular suppliers of the Authority. It was confirmed that this related to regular suppliers, however, new processes had been in place since June 2021 to address the issues outlined as part of the audit.




The Governance and Audit Committee noted the progress made against the internal audit plan for 2021/22.

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