To consider a report from the Group Audit Manager.
Members considered a report from the Group Audit Manager which provided a summary of the outcomes of the work of Internal Audit for 2019/20 and included the Head of Internal Audit’s annual opinion on the effectiveness of the Council’s arrangements for governance, risk management and internal control in accordance with the requirements of the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS).
The Group Audit Manager highlighted the key points of the report and informed Members that 79% of audits with an assurance rating (including schools) had received a substantial or reasonable rating. There were no audit reviews in 2019/20 given the lowest assurance level of ‘limited’.
Members were informed that based on the work undertaken by internal audit during 2019/20 the Group Audit Manager was able to provide reasonable assurance over the effectiveness of the Council’s arrangements for governance, risk management and internal control. The opinion was based on the work undertaken on the audit plan approved by the Audit and Assurance Committee in March 2019.
The Group Audit Manager highlighted to members that the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors had commented that the annual opinion of the Head of Internal Audit should be based on the percentage of work completed due to COVID-19 and that where a limited amount of work had been done the Head of Internal Audit should report to the Committee that the opinion was based on that limited amount of work. The Group Audit Manager commented that sufficient work had been undertaken. In overall terms the opinion was based on 34 reviews completed or at draft stage (compared with 44 reviews for 2018/19). The expectation was that, without the impact of COVID-19, there would have been 42 reviews completed or at draft report stage at the time of giving the Head of Internal Audit Opinion.
The Group Audit Manager highlighted two areas where further work was required. Firstly, more consistency in operational risk management in terms of periodically reviewing risks and being able to demonstrate that this had been done. Secondly, he recommended the updating of procedure notes that were in place in certain areas to reflect current circumstances.
Regarding follow up audit reports, members heard that there had been a positive response with 14 out of 15 follow up reports bringing about an improved assurance rating. All 14 of those which improved were now reasonable assurance with 6 out of the 14 having previously received the lowest level of assurance.
The Group Audit Manager was satisfied that there had been sufficient coverage across the directorates and thanked colleagues for providing their support and for working with the Internal Audit team over the year.
The Chair responded to the significantly increased assurance provided by the follow up audit reports and thanked the Group Audit Manager and the Internal Audit team for their work.
1) Members note the progress in delivering the 2019/20 audit plan and the outcomes of completed audits set out at Appendix 1 of the report,
2) Members note the Head of ... view the full minutes text for item 56