The Internal Auditor submits an annual report to the Audit and Risk Committee which reports on internal audit work conducted during 2020-21. The report also contains information on the internal audit function’s conformance to professional standards and provides an insight into its effectiveness.
The Committee is recommended to:
1. Receive and approve the contents of the Annual Report and Opinion
2. Note that for the year ended 31 March 2021, the HoIAS has reported that the Council’s control environment overall remained adequate and effective.
3. Note that the individual assignment opinions expressed together with any significant matters arising from internal audit work have been given due consideration when developing and reviewing the Authority’s Annual Governance Statement for 2020-21.
4. Note the outcomes of the HoIAS self-assessment against the PSIAS and QAIP.
5. Make any recommendations it sees fit to the Chief Operating Officer/s151 officer, the Deputy Director of Finance or the Executive.
The Internal Auditor submitted an annual report to the Audit and Risk Committee which reported on internal audit work conducted during 2020/21. The report also contained information on the internal audit function’s conformance to professional standards and provided an insight into its effectiveness.
Neil Jones, HoIAS presented the report and highlighted the following information:
· The end of year report completed the cycle of audit work undertaken and was required under the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS).
· There were specific requirements to be incorporated into the report, the most important being an annual internal audit opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s control environment.
· Annex 1 to the report explained that to form an opinion it used a combination of factors and evidence, including internal audit work summarised in Annex 2.
· Despite the impact of Covid-19 internal audit still managed to undertake sufficient audit and control environment work and observe governance.
· It was reported the Council’s overall control environment remained adequate and effective.
· There was some shift from assurance audits to reactive and advisory work around Covid-19 and grant certifications.
· Any partial assurance ratings would continue to be followed up and remain in the Committee’s domain until the HoIAS was satisfied enough action had been taken to mitigate risk.
· A key audit undertaken each year on IT controls was postponed due to significant pressure on City IT staff, but Internal Audit were able to provide assurance on remote working arrangements and that key IT risks associated to the pandemic had been actioned.
· Also due to the pandemic, no maintained schools were audited.
· Paragraphs 20-26 reflected performance over the year which on the whole was reasonable given the unique circumstances, such as redeployment, some longer-term Covid-19 absences and the extreme pressures and demands on city management.
· The HoIAS considered there was a sufficient range and amount of work undertaken, but that was the lowest it could go before affecting the audit opinion.
· On a positive note, audit staff in the city and county remained interchangeable, with a lot of synergy gained, especially through auditing grants, and an increase in collaboration and information sharing, and high satisfaction rate of audit work undertaken.
· Internal Audit work was self-assessed for conformance to the PSIAS and Quality Assurance and Improvement Programme (QAIP) and both had come through positive.
The Chair thanked the Officer for the report, and the recommendations in the report were noted.
That the Audit and Risk Committee:
1. Received and approved the contents of the Annual Report and Opinion.
2. Noted that for the year ended 31 March 2021, the HoIAS had reported that the Council’s control environment overall remained adequate and effective.
3. Noted that the individual assignment opinions expressed together with any significant matters arising from internal audit work had been given due consideration when developing and reviewing the Authority’s Annual Governance Statement for 2020-21.
4. Noted the outcomes of the HoIAS self-assessment against the PSIAS and QAIP.