To receive and consider report 137/08 of the Audit Manager.
The Committee received and considered report 137/08 of the Audit Manager which summarised the outcome of recent internal audit activity. Members reviewed these and sought assurance that action had been taken where necessary.
Eight audits had been completed in the period since the last meeting as well as three follow-up reviews. Of these, four audits had resulted in only limited assurance being given. However, most of the recommendations had been agreed by the service managers. The Committee debated the following audits:
It was reported that as many of the recommendations had an implementation of April 2009, it was agreed that the Head of Communications should be invited to the March meeting to provide an update on the implementation of the recommendations and to answer Members’ questions.
(ii) Rent accounting
Members noted that an audit of the rent accounting function had taken place in 2007/08 and a review had been requested. The review audit report was now presented to the Committee. There had been significant improvements to the service over the past year but further improvements were still to come. Resources were now in place to implement these improvements. The manager outlined the difficulties of managing this service and the previous problems experienced in using the Council’s sundry debtor software to manage rent accounts. A separate system was now used to manage the accounts and reconciliation with the Council’s Agresso system was now carried out monthly. The auditors and the Chief Finance Officer were satisfied with the progress made and the current reconciliation arrangements.
(iii) Brown bins
It was reported that the service manager was unable to attend the meeting to answer Members’ questions. However, it was noted that the officers would look again at incentives for payment by Direct Debit when the service was reviewed and the payment collection process needed to be refined. Internal Audit had a consultancy role to play in assisting services in designing the best methods to reduce risks. Any changes would need to be in line with the Council’s Financial Regulations also.
The audit was the first of the Council’s Direct Services Organisation (DSO) and it had been requested by the service manager as there had been significant changes in the past two years. The recommendations had been welcomed to help guide the service on further improvements. Members thanked the officers involved and valued their work.
(v) Concessionary Fares follow–up review
Members were pleased to note that this review had resulted in a satisfactory rating. However, Members sought assurance that the Council was being charged correctly for journeys under the bus pass scheme. It was suggested that an independent auditor could be used to carry out checks. Members supported this approach.
The Head of Finance reported that, despite some deadlines not being met from the original audit, he was confident that the revised deadlines would all be met.
Members requested that in future, the period the audit covered should be reported to allow Members to assess the level of risk.
that the report be noted.