To consider the audit manager’s report. Reporting officer: Adrianna Partridge
Purpose: 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 necessary.
Recommendation: To note the report.
The committee considered the audit manager’s report on internal audit activity during the second quarter of 2012/13, covering July to September 2012. Of the audits referred to in the report, one had received a full assurance rating from internal audit, three had received satisfactory assurance, and one had received limited assurance. The report also referred to nine follow-up audits, of which internal audit had given six satisfactory assurance in the planned audit reviews, whereas three had received limited assurance.
The committee considered the report on the HR Pro audit, which had received limited assurance, and a follow-up audit. The committee noted that where there were changes to staff conditions of employment, authorisation for these were not recorded in an archive separate from the council’s email system. The head of service believed this would be unnecessary duplication. The retention policy required the officers to keep such records for seven years. The committee asked the officers to revisit the policy to see whether it needed amending. The committee also asked the audit manager to check whether these records were easily accessible when conducting the next review. The committee also asked officers to check annual leave entitlement calculations to ensure these were now being carried out correctly.
The committee discussed the waste management and recycling follow-up audit report, which had received limited assurance. With regard to outstanding actions, the committee noted that officers had introduced a system to record variable work, and had introduced regular stock counts of spare waste bins. However, the committee noted that further work was necessary to reconcile the weighbridge data provided by the council’s contractor, Biffa, and the county council. The committee recognised that it was important to reconcile the weighbridge data as the council received recycling credit income for the recycled waste collected. The committee asked internal audit to follow up this outstanding action.
The committee raised a query relating to waste collection: when new homes were built, did the council have a system to record information about new occupiers and pass this on to the waste service and other services? The officers agreed to review the process currently adopted.
The brown bins audit resulted in several recommended improvements, all of which the service manager accepted and agreed to implement within the agreed timescales. With regard to the reconciliation of council’s customer data against the contractor’s data, the council was checking that the records were accurate and reconciled. The chairman asked the officers to provide a completion date.
Turning to the audit of the Building Control service, the service manager assured the committee that he would meet the implementation deadlines for all recommendations set out in the report.
The committee also noted the audit manager’s review of systemic control weaknesses. The review showed that the council was improving its practices to reconcile data regularly, but there was a need to concentrate more on training officers and councillors in their roles and corporate responsibilities.
(a) note the report;
(b) ask the officers to review the retention of documents policy to establish whether the timescales are still relevant;
(c) ask the audit manager to check whether emails relating to changes to staff conditions of employment are accessible;
(d) ask the audit manager to check annual leave entitlement calculations to ensure they are correct;
(e) follow up the need to reconcile weighbridge data for the amount of recycled waste collected;
(f) review the process to record data once and pass it on to services when new homes are built and occupied; and
(g) provide the committee with a completion date for the reconciliation of brown bin customer data against the contractor’s data.