The Internal Auditor submits a report to the Audit and Risk Committee which provides a summary of progress against the 2020-21 & 2021-22 Internal Audit Plans, information on resources used to progress the plans, and summary of information on high importance recommendations and progress with implementing them.
The Committee is recommended to note the contents of the routine update report.
The Head of Internal Audit Service (HoIAS) submitted a report for noting to the Audit and Risk Committee which provided a summary of progress against the 2020/21 and 2021/22 Internal Audit Plans, information on resources used to progress the plans, and summary of information on high importance recommendations and progress with implementing them.
Neil Jones, HoIAS, presented the routine report, outlined the main headlines and provided an overview on progress and plans for closing off the 2020/21 year and starting 2021/22. Points highlighted were:
· The Committee had duties under the Council’s Constitution to monitor performance and receive summaries against the Internal Audit Plan.
· Assurance levels were given as to whether material risks were being managed.
· It was noted that remote working continued for the Internal Audit Service (IAS).
· Appendix 1 to the report provided a summary of Internal Audit progress against planned audits. Items in bold font highlighted a change of status from when previously reported.
· A meeting would be held with the Deputy Director of Finance in August to re-evaluate progress and prioritise audits not yet started and close off some audits. Tables at paragraph 9 to the report provided a summary position of progress, and resources used of just over 90 days.
· Appendix 2 to the report provided a summary position of high importance recommendations. It was noted that anything in bold font depicted a change in status from when last reported in March 2021.
· There was one high-importance additional recommendation and three closures for the period, summarised at Paragraph 12 to the report.
In response to Members’ questions, the following responses were given:
· Requests for the postponement of an audit could be for a number of reasons, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic as management focussed on other urgent matters. Other reasons could include a position change in terms of new systems or developments coming in.
· The Deputy Director of Finance noted that during the pandemic the plan was relaxed, but from here on any requests for a postponement would be looked at critically in terms of risk and would need to be fully explained. The Deputy Director of Finance was also mindful of the need for Internal Audit to conduct a certain amount of audit across the authority to produce the internal audit opinion, so that the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Director of Finance could be satisfied that on the whole audit and governance arrangements were robust.
· In terms of an external auditor’s viewpoint, if the internal audit function wasn’t progressing its plan and was being put back in terms of other priorities, it would trigger alarm bells from an external auditor’s point of view, questioning internal controls and governance arrangements, and would likely factor into the Value for Money consideration as part of the governance narrative.
The Chair thanked the Officer for the report.
1. That the contents of the routine update report be noted.