Agenda item

Internal Audit Reports - Progress; Follow-up of Recommendations; Safeguarding and CIPFA Code Preparedness

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).







      The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources and associated appendices that covered four reports from the Internal Auditors BDO LLP, the Internal Audit Progress Report; Follow-up of Recommendations Report; Safeguarding Audit and CIPFA Code Preparedness, all as at November 2020.


The Chairman introduced the report and deferred to the Internal Auditors to present the detail.  The Internal Audit Partner then presented the Progress and Follow-up of Recommendations reports.


He drew Members attention to page 19 of the Progress report that listed the planned work for the remainder of the financial year which he reported would be completed within the normal timeframes. Other ongoing work included training for staff on fraud risk assessment and training had been also been scheduled in for the new lease standard IFRS16 compliance. He advised that should the introduction of the standard be put back a year the time allocated would be used for other key work. With reference to the Follow-up of Recommendations report he said he was very pleased with progress. There was only one recommendation outstanding that of Climate Strategy which would be completed next month.


The Internal Audit Manager then took the Committee through the Safeguarding Audit. She reported that the final assessment was moderate in both design and operational effectiveness. It was noted that good controls were in place, a new lead officer for safeguarding had been appointed and the role was defined in the safeguarding policy. All other related roles were properly defined, new starters were DBS checked with appropriate procedures and training in place. Improvements required included better controls around contractors and volunteers working for the Council and secure storage of safeguarding documentation. It was noted that the Management Action Plan would address the improvements required.


The Chairman moved the recommendations in the report and these were seconded by Councillor Nunn.


In response to questions raised Officers reported as follows:-


  • that the audit had been a good benchmarking exercise that enabled the Council  to strengthen its safeguarding procedures. That the Council took its safeguarding responsibilities very seriously and work was now underway to create an approved list of contractors with a built in agreement where all on the list had undertaken the necessary/appropriate DBS checks. This would also apply to volunteers and the information would be held centrally on a secure network.


  • that the Lead Specialist on Safeguarding would check with the auditors to determine if they had included staff checks around allegations and look into the procedure for DBS checks for Members and report back.


  • that Member training was now being rolled out supported by partners at Chelmsford City Council.


  • that Internal Audit were content with the moderate assessment as there was good practice evidenced but also areas for improvement which would now be addressed through the new Management Action Plan.


  • that FreshService was the chosen secure network for safeguarding documentation as it accommodated safeguarding triggers.


  • that although the completion timeline was end of next year there would be an interim progress update report for consideration by the committee. It was noted that the long lead in for completion would allow time to embed the new system and ensure it was working. The progress update report would provide a detailed breakdown of the timescale.


The Internal Audit Manager then presented the CIPFA Code Preparedness report. She informed the Committee that the assessment was substantial on both design and overall effectiveness. The Council was prepared for the code with one area requiring strengthening that of service plans. It was noted that some service plans did not clearly state how they relate back to the themes as set out in the Council’s Corporate Plan. However, it was envisaged that these would be addressed in the review currently underway on Corporate Plan Objectives.


The Chairman then put the recommendations to the Committee and they were agreed by assent.


RESOLVED  that the Committee considered, commented and approved the:


(i)           Internal Audit Progress Report - November 2020 at appendix 1;


(ii)         Follow-up of Recommendation Report – November 2020 at appendix 2;


(iii)        Safeguarding Audit – November 2020 at appendix 3;


(iv)        CIPFA Code Preparedness – November 2020 at appendix 4.



Supporting documents: