This report sets out the Internal Audit Plan as at 1 April 2022. The plan details the activities to be audited and the indicative scope for each audit.
Assurance Lincolnshire introduced themselves as the Council’s new Internal Auditors, who would work in partnership to deliver the internal audit plan. It was reported that a workshop would be available to Members to gain knowledge around Assurance Lincolnshire’s way of working and answer questions raised around the ease of reading reports. It was noted that the Head of Internal Audit and their opinion were independent and should be maintained.
It was confirmed that Assurance Lincolnshire would start working with the Council from 1 April 2022. The draft plan was an indicative plan brought together from discussions with the Council’s senior leadership team and the review of the strategic risk register.
Further points were made regarding the report from Assurance Lincolnshire:
· The plan would cover 2022/23.
· The plan would seek to provide assurance within the agreed resources.
· The plan would be flexible to reflect any changing needs and new risks or priorities.
· The focus would be around significance, sensitivity, and level of assurance.
· The plan would be 142 days and would focus on the key areas:
- Key control testing within financial governance
- Risk management, good governance and decision making, health and safety and programme management within governance and risk.
- Critical activities within housing void management, housing income management and HRA building programme.
- Cyber security.
A query was raised on the effectiveness of scrutiny within governance and decision making and whether it would be auditable through the draft plan. A further question was raised on EnvironmentSK Ltd in relation to grounds maintenance and whether the Council were making an income from the company. It was suggested that the Committee could consider discussing EnvironmentSK Ltd at a later meeting.
Reassurance was requested on the procurement process of the refurbishment of a leisure centre and whether this would be included within internal audit.
Assurance Lincolnshire reported that the role of the Committee was to consider governance and risk control. It was confirmed that as part of the internal audit plan, commercial activities were explored and a report had been produced by the Council’s outgoing internal auditors, therefore this was not included. It was noted that areas could be revisited for the plan.
It was confirmed that the area around decision-making would cover scrutiny and Assurance Lincolnshire could place level at any leverage assurance around the effectiveness of the previous review undertaken.
It was reported that large projects would be covered within programme management which would include the refurbishment of the leisure centre.
The Monitoring Officer provided assurance to the Committee that all works undertaken would be governed by contract procedure rules and financial regulations.
The Chairman raised a question on the timescales around the work within the draft plan.
Assurance Lincolnshire reported that they would work closely with the Council’s Governance and Risk Officer and management to provide a schedule on the timescales around undertaking the work, alongside meeting KPIs around timings.
It was suggested that accountable managers should attend Committee meetings to ensure relevant questions around progress and low assurance could be answered and to discuss the focus on areas at most risk.
It was confirmed that Assurance Lincolnshire would have access to the 4action system to follow up outstanding management actions. They would also be assessing the level of risk to the Council’s control framework.
Assurance Lincolnshire assured the Committee that if any concerns or queries arose, they would be contactable for discussion.
That Governance and Audit Committee accepts the draft internal audit plan for 2022/23.