Agenda item

Internal Audit Progress & Follow-up Report


This report examines the progress made between 26 November 2022 to 30 May 2023 in relation to delivery of the Annual Internal Audit Plan for 2022/23 and provides details of any outstanding internal audit recommendations.



The report contains an update on progress against the Internal Audit Plan for 2022/23 and progress against the completion of   internal audit recommendations.


It is recommended that the Committee receives internal audit progress and progress against internal audit recommendations within the period covered by the report. 





Contact Officer, telephone number, and e?mail:


Faye Haywood

01508 533873



The HIA introduced the report and referred Members to the audit plan agreed in March with finalised reports summarised with gradings and recommendations listed, all of which were positive gradings, except for key controls and assurance which had been given a limited assurance grading. It was noted that a further two pieces of work had been undertaken on economic growth, where no suggested improvement points had been raised. However, on the property services – operational audit 22  recommendations had been made, primarily in relation to managing health and safety. The HIA noted that as a result property services had been added to the 23-24 audit plan to provide additional assurance. On the key controls audit given a limited assurance grading, it was reported that actions and recommendations had been accepted and would be monitored until complete. It was noted that key reconciliations had not been done in a timely manner, and investments had not been signed off by a separate officer to ensure segregation of duties. The HIA stated that there were also concerns about car parking income not being reconciled and updates required on the asset register, but the Finance Team were committed to addressing all concerns.


Questions and Discussion


       i.          Cllr C Cushing referred to the limited assurance of p47 and noted that the Council had struggled with key reconciliations since the introduction of the new finance system, and asked whether any updates could be provided. The DFR stated that there had been a learning curve for officers adapting to the new software, which meant that reconciliations took longer to complete, exacerbating issues of an under resourced team. She added that efforts were being made to resolve the issues as a priority, and recruitment was also in progress to bring the team back up to capacity. Cllr C Cushing asked whether issues were anticipated during the implementation of the system, to which the DFR replied that the issues had not been foreseen as it was expected that the system would be more efficient. Cllr C Cushing asked whether staff were trained on the system prior implementation, to which the DFR replied that training had taken place post-implementation. She added that implementation had not gone as she would have preferred, but those responsible had left the authority, and officers had adapted to the situation that was presented to them. Cllr C Cushing stated that it appeared that implementation had added to the burdens of the Team rather than reducing them, and that the timing of the change appeared to be ill advised.


      ii.          The Chairman suggested that the Committee should consider the recommendations and actions outlined in the report to ensure that Members were confident it would bring the Finance Team back up to speed. Cllr Cushing asked whether officers could confirm when reconciliations would be back up to date, and the DFR replied and it was hoped that reconciliations could be brought back up to date once recruitment was complete.


     iii.          The HIA noted that there would be a post-implementation review of the new finance system as part of the 23-24 audit plan, and any learning points or recommendations could be put in place for future changes.


    iv.          The Chairman referred to appendix 4 on outstanding audit recommendations of which several had updated deadlines, and suggested that it would be helpful to understand why some longstanding recommendations had not been completed. The CE replied that prior to Covid-19 the list had approximately 45 outstanding audit recommendations, so considerable progress had been made. He added that some delays outlined within the Planning Service had been caused by the implementation of the Uniform system, but overall planning performance had improved significantly. It was noted that S106 monitoring and record keeping had recently been addressed with a module of the Uniform system, and the last outstanding action would be addressed shortly.


      v.          The CE stated referred to civil contingences and noted that the officer had been on an extended absence due to long Covid, but was now on a phased return. He added that for waste services, the recent resolution of the pay dispute and continued improvement of collections performance had helped to address outstanding audit actions. On key controls and reconciliations, it was noted that officers were reviewing the car parking payments and management system, with changes needed to improve the clarity of the contract or consider alternate options. It was noted that counter-fraud and anti-corruption actions were covered under a separate agenda item.


    vi.          The Chairman asked when the PSIP was expected to return to the Overview & Scrutiny Committee, which was confirmed to be September, following which it may be possible to close the final recommendation. He asked whether the number of outstanding recommendations had fallen, to which the HIA replied that the Committee should maintain pressure to keep momentum on resolving the audit recommendations, though considerable progress had been made.




To receive and note the internal audit progress and progress against internal audit recommendations within the period covered by the report. 

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