The Committee considered a report on progress made by the Council’s internal audit manager (KPMG) on their internal audit plan for 2022-23 for the period April 2022 to January 2023, which included a summary of the work that they had concluded since the previous report to Committee and what they had planned to do ahead of the next.
The report also reviewed the design and effectiveness of the processes and controls over corporate programmes at the Council for which KPMG had provided a ‘partial assurance with improvements required’ (amber-red rating).
In debating this item, the members of the Committee raised the following points:
· Whilst the report had set out the agreed management actions in respect of the red (high risk) findings, there were no similar actions set out in respect of the amber (medium risk), or green (low risk) findings. In response, Mr Crouch of KPMG indicated that they had not previously set out agreed actions in respect of amber or green findings in their executive summary reports. However, he would be happy to share the detail of the agreed actions in respect of this audit report with Councillors.
· It was noted that KPMG were due to submit their internal audit report on Regeneration to the next meeting of the Committee, and in that regard, it was assumed that, as Weyside Urban Village was a key regeneration project, further information on that project would come forward as part of that report.
· Further information was requested in relation to the comment in the audit report that KPMG had agreed with management to undertake an additional review looking at the payroll budget discrepancy identified in 2022. In particular, whether this discrepancy related to the payroll error referred to in the draft budget. The Lead Councillor for Finance and Planning Policy stated that this error had been first mentioned to the Committee at its meeting in September last year, and to the Executive following that meeting. This had been the third year where there had been an issue with incremental pay rises to employees, amounting to approximately £600,000 per year. Whilst employees had been paid the correct amount, it had not been accounted for correctly in the budget. It was anticipated that this would be corrected in the forthcoming budget. As it was a significant issue, it was considered appropriate to commission an audit report.
· In response to a request for an update on the recruitment of a Programme Manager and the issue raised regarding the integration between Verto and Business World, the Executive Head of Regeneration and Planning Policy reported that it was anticipated that the target date for the recruitment of the Programme Manager was 30 April 2023. In relation to the integration between Verto and Business World, it was noted that considerable effort had been made to ensure that there was alignment between the two systems in terms of the detail that was included on both. However, the fiscal integration of the two different types of software, had not yet been looked at. It was the other priorities that had been outlined, that were probably more critical to progress.
RESOLVED: That the Internal Audit Progress Report (April 2022 to January 2023), attached as Appendix 1 to the report submitted to the Committee, together with the key findings from the reviews undertaken since the last report to the Committee, be noted.
To ensure good governance arrangements and internal control by undertaking an adequate level of audit coverage.