Agenda item

Internal Audit Progress Report

This report provides an update on progress against the internal audit plan and summarises the results of our work.


Presented by Assurance Lincolnshire, the purpose of the Internal Audit Progress Report was to:


        Provide details of the audit work during the period April 2022 to September 2022


         Advise on progress of the 2022/23 plan


       Raise any other matters that may be relevant to the Governance and Audit Committee role.


The auditors had completed two assurance audits and had four audits scheduled in for future dates.  The two audits which had been completed were:


·                              Good Governance Phase 1 and Decision Making - Substantial Assurance


·                              Risk Management - Substantial Assurance


The audits that were being carried out currently were:


       ICT Cyber Security (originally planned June/July and moved back at client’s request) – Commenced 30th August


       Programme Management – Commenced 5th September


       Housing Void Management – Commencing 3rd October


Health and Safety was to be rescheduled to October.  The vast majority of high and medium priority actions have been completed since the last audit and reasoning behind those yet to be completed were within the report.  The Auditor informed the Committee that the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) would be issuing an updated Audit Committees Guide by the end of September 2022.


Members raised the following points during discussion:


·            Acknowledgement of the Governance Team’s hard work was given.


·            Were many high assurance ratings given?


·            The report referred to work to embed the discussion of risk in decision making – was there a timescale for this, including a change to the report template?


·            What will be the format and scope of the second phase of the Governance review?


·            The report referred to examples of good governance, including the consultation work with Deepings Leisure Centre.  What was the evidence for this?


·            The Food Waste trial was very popular with residents but not continued, why?


·            The updating of the Constitution made the Council less transparent with access to public meetings more difficult.


·            Housing Services had been through a period of change and was still in special measures with the housing regulator.


·            What was the Council’s Governance compared with?


The Auditor confirmed that actions were already in place.  Discussion around Risk was ongoing since 31 August 2022 and a new report template was in place.


The Chief Finance Officer added that a further element was added to the report.  There was now a requirement to consult with the Governance and Risk Officer to ensure any risks considered were independently verified and given more prominence within each report.


The Auditor informed the Committee that the second part of the Governance Review will look into the leadership and culture of the Council – how governance works in practice, as structures were already in place.  It was made clear that work had been completed in the first phase on having an appropriate Constitution and no further comment could be made on the next phase at this time.  There were to be workshops, engaging with both Officers and Councillors and this would likely start in the new year.  The report, which compared the Council’s Governance to a Local Government framework, looked into the structure for Governance and not into any detail as yet on specific consultations but will look closely at the process around the Deepings Leisure Centre and policy and process.


The Director of Housing and Property informed Members that there was an interplay between the Auditors and the Housing Regulators and the Council provided information to both.


The Chairman added that a consultation can be good within its process but that the outcome may not be popular, such as the budgetary restrictions that prevented the food waste trial from being expanded across the district.


It was acknowledged that a lot of work had been completed to improve services and the Director of Housing and Property was thanked for his contribution.


The Deputy Chief Executive confirmed he was proud of the work that was put into the updated Constitution and that inconsistencies had been removed when appropriate changes were made. 


It was proposed, seconded and AGREED:


That the Governance and Audit Committee accepted the findings of the report.




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