To receive and consider report 171/08 of the Audit Manager.
The Committee received and considered report 171/08 of the Audit Manager. The report set out details of recent Internal Audit activity, including report on nine individual audits. One of these audits, relating to anti-fraud and corruption arrangements, had received a limited assurance; the remainder had received a satisfactory assurance. The report also included four follow-up reviews, one of which had originally received a limited assurance rating. The Committee asked questions on the reports, concentrating mainly on those with limited assurance or those where the auditor’s recommendations had not been fully agreed.
Budgetary control 2008/09 – assurance rating: satisfactory
In answer to a question from a Member, it was reported that the accountants could not guarantee that the auditor’s recommendation on ensuring that significant budget variances were reported could be achieved on every occasion. The recommendation had been agreed in principle but sometimes a large variance was the accumulation of several smaller variances. However, variance limits were in place of £5,000 or 5% of each budget item. Members accepted this explanation.
Petty cash procedures 2008/09 - assurance rating: satisfactory
In answer to a question from a Member, it was reported that insurance cover was £500 for each petty cash location. However, the officers agreed to check this and reply to the Member outside of the meeting and send a copy to other Committee Members.
Anti-fraud and corruption arrangements 2008/09 – assurance rating: limited
It was noted that the roles and responsibilities for anti-fraud and corruption arrangements had not been clearly defined and this had led to a limited assurance rating, despite all of the auditor’s recommendations being agreed. However, since the senior management restructuring, it had been decided that the responsibility for anti-fraud and corruption arrangements should fall to the new Head of Legal and Democratic Services, Margaret Reed. However, the money laundering prevention element of these arrangements would be the responsibility of the Head of Finance. The Committee was assured that the responsible officers would work with Internal Audit to ensure best practice and consistency with South Oxfordshire District Council.
With regard to the recommendation that the Committee should approve a revised anti-fraud and corruption policy, it was noted that while the Committee could consider the draft policy, approval of policy was a matter for the full Council. It was noted that the policy should be available for consideration in the autumn.
General ledger - assurance rating: satisfactory
In answer to a question from a Member, it was reported that the new system for reconciliation of the general ledger had been implemented in time for the deadline of March 2009. From April, the bank reconciliations would be signed off by the Head of Finance.
White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre follow up review
Original assurance rating: limited
Members noted that there was an outstanding action following the original audit. The auditor had recommended that a formal assurance framework should be devised to require the leisure centre operators to produce an annual self assessment providing evidence of compliance with the terms of the contract. This had not been agreed by the service manager and had led to a further meeting with the manager at which it had been agreed that the Deputy Director (Contracts and Procurement) would report on this to the Executive in February 2009 with the intention of introducing the new process from April 2009. Members noted that no report had been presented to the Executive in February due to the senior management restructuring. It was intended to implement the new formal assurance process by 31 October 2009 instead. Members asked that this implementation was monitored.
Members also called for a better procedure to allow the public to make comments or complaints about the centre’s facilities and facilities at other centres too. It was considered that the Council should know as soon as possible about users’ views so appropriate, early action could be taken to rectify any problems. The Internal Audit Plan for 2009/10 contained a planned audit for the comments and complaints process and as part of this the Audit Manager reported that a check would be made to see if this process was being carried out by contractors. Members supported this.
that the report be noted.