Agenda item

Internal Audit Activity Report - 2nd Quarter 2008/09

To receive and consider report 80/08 of the Audit Manager. 


Introduction and Report Summary


The purpose of this report is:

·        to summarise the outcomes of recent internal audit activity for the Committee to consider.  The Committee is asked to review the report and the main issues arising, and seek assurance that action will be/has been taken where necessary.

The Contact Officer for this report is Adrianna Penn, Audit Manager for South Oxfordshire District Council and Vale of White Horse District Council, telephone (SODC) 01491 823544 and (VWHDC) 01235 547615.




that Members note the content of the report. 


The Committee received and considered report 80/08 of the Audit Manager which summarised the outcomes of recent internal audit activity.  The Committee was asked to review the report and the main issues arising and seek assurance that action had been taken where necessary. 


Appended to the report was the outcome of thirteen audits of different functions and one follow-up review.  In the majority of cases a ‘full’ or ‘satisfactory’ assurance had been given but in three cases a ‘limited’ assurance had been given.  The Committee was generally satisfied with the outcomes but sought further assurance in some cases.  It was reported that where the audit outcomes included recommendations for action and implementation or completion dates, the Committee would be advised on progress in the follow-up reports from Internal Audit.  These were undertaken six months after the initial audit. 




This audit had resulted in a ‘limited’ assurance rating.  It was noted that written procedures were not in place for all functions and this had contributed to some problems when there were staff shortages.  Procedures needed to be documented for the new payroll team to follow. 


Members queried why training expenses had not been reclaimed in two cases where staff had left and what mechanisms there were in place to ensure the Council’s policy of recovery was followed.  The Strategic Director agreed to check this outside of the meeting. 


White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre


This audit had resulted in a ‘limited’ assurance rating.  Members recalled that this audit report had been submitted to the last meeting of the Committee in June but had been deferred as the service manager had been unable to attend and the Committee wished to raise questions on the audit’s outcome.  The Committee noted that the service manager had again sent his apologies and Members accepted the reasons for this.  However, the Committee considered that this matter should be progressed and assurances sought before the Committee’s next meeting in January 2009.  It was agreed that an ad-hoc advisory group should be set up to investigate the outcome of this audit and report back to the Committee’s next meeting. 


National Non-Domestic Rating (NNDR)


This audit had resulted in a ‘satisfactory’ assurance rating.  Members queried whether the auditor was aware of the limitations of the content of the explanatory leaflet before producing the final audit report.  The auditor reported that a subsequent meeting with the service manager revealed that the information contained in the leaflet was prescribed by Government regulation.  This was accepted by the auditor.  It was noted that the regulations presented the minimum content only. 


Risk Management


This audit had resulted in a ‘limited’ assurance rating.  Members noted that many of the recommendations from internal audit could not be implemented without additional resources.  It was intended to introduce a new post jointly funded with South Oxfordshire District Council to carry out this work.  It was hoped an appointment could be made early in 2009. 


One recommendation referred to the need for Deputy Directors to include risk management and a review of their service area’s risk register as an ongoing agenda item at team meetings to ensure that risk management was a continuous process.  As part of the audit, all Deputy Directors had been asked to confirm their current arrangements.  Three Deputy Directors had not responded to Internal Audit.  Members asked that this was followed up by the Strategic Director to ensure that Deputy Directors responded to Internal Audit enquiries. 


Out of Hours Arrangements


This audit had resulted in a ‘satisfactory’ assurance rating.  Internal Audit had expressed an opinion about the Council’s Out of Hours Service.  Where call outs were infrequent, it was suggested that consideration should be given to replacing the standby payment for staff on standby duty with an enhanced hourly payment which only applied when officers were called out.  However, it was recognised that this might require a review of employee contract terms to ensure officers were aware of their revised responsibilities.


Members recognised that there was a need to review the Out of Hours service but concern was expressed by Councillor Terry Cox at Internal Audit’s suggestion that there should not be a payment for staff on duty if they were not called out.  He believed that to require staff to be at home, on duty and by a telephone should be recognised by a compensatory payment, whether they were called out or not.  He asked that his views were recorded in the Committee’s minutes. 




(a)       that the contents of report 80/08 be noted; and


(b)       that an ad-hoc advisory group be set up to investigate the outcome of the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre Audit and report back to the Committee’s next meeting.  The advisory group to consist of:

·         Councillor Dudley Hoddinott (the Committee’s Chair)

·         Councillor Andrew Crawford (the Committee’s Vice-Chair)

·         Councillor Terry Cox (Committee Member)

·         Councillor Tony de Vere (Leader of the Council)

·         Councillor Jerry Patterson (Committee Member and Executive Portfolio Holder for Leisure Services)

·         Councillor Reg Waite (Opposition Shadow Member for Leisure Services)

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