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 three reports from the Internal Auditors BDO LLP namely, the Progress Report; the Follow-up of Recommendations Report and the Payroll Audit report.
The Chairman introduced the reports and deferred to the Internal Audit Manager to present the detail. She took the Committee through the Progress Report that summarised Internal Audit’s progress against the 2020/21 internal audit plan. The Payroll Audit report was finalised since the last committee and on today’s agenda, the Knowledge Management Audit was underway and audits on Housing Needs and Affordable Housing together with Management of Property were in the planning stage. The Annual Plan for next year had been approved at the last meeting and work on that was in the planning stage to be reported at the meeting on 29 July 2021. .Internal Audit was also on track to deliver its Internal Audit Report ahead of Internal Audit opinion, this would be considered at the meeting on 29 July 2021.
The Follow-up of Recommendations report had one recommendation relating to flood risk management which had been implemented and one overdue on Building Control. The remaining recommendations on the table were not yet due for completion. The Specialist Services Manager then provided an update regarding the overdue Building Control recommendation which was largely due to capacity issues and the impact of COVID. Currently two staff members covered this area and a new staff member was due to start in May 2021. This would free up the Senior Specialist to complete the actions required. In response to a query from Councillor Heard regarding the completion date it was clarified that work would be completed by the end of September 2021, which was a realistic timeline.
The Internal Audit Manager then presented the Payroll Audit report which had a level of assurance of substantial in both design and operational effectiveness. This included a review of starters, leavers, overtime claims, Member expenses and allowances. The report was positive with no significant weaknesses found.
A query was raised by Councillor Nunn regarding two staff leavers who were paid the annual increase which had not been approved until after their leaving date. Officers clarified that procedures had been followed in accordance with the national pay award. It was agreed that the wording in the report on page 28 be changed with reference to ‘Council’ removed and replaced by ‘Officers’ to clarify the decision makers in this instance.
There being no further discussion the Chairman moved the recommendations, to include the amendment to the report under recommendation (iii) as outlined above and these were seconded by Councillor Nunn. She then put the recommendations to the Committee and they were agreed by assent.
RESOLVED by assent that the Committee considered, commented and approved the:
(i) Internal Audit Progress Report - March 2021 at Appendix 1;
(ii) Follow-up of Recommendations Report – March 2021 at Appendix 2, and,
(iii) the Payroll Audit Report – February 2021 at Appendix 3 with the amendment to page 28 removing reference to the ‘Council’ and replacing it with ‘Officers’.