Agenda item

Internal Audit Reports:- Progress Report; Affordable Housing & Housing Need Audit; Knowledge Management Audit and Follow-up of Recommendations Report

To consider the report of the Director of Resources and associated appendices, (copies enclosed):-

 

Appendix 1 – Progress Report

 

Appendix 2 – Affordable Housing & Housing Need Audit

 

Appendix 3 – Knowledge Management Audit

 

Appendix 4 – Follow-up of Recommendations Report

Minutes:

 

 

 

TheCommitteeconsidered thereport ofthe Director ofResourcesandassociated appendices that covered four reportsfrom theInternal AuditorsBDOLLPnamely, theProgressReport; Affordable Housing & Housing Needs Audit, Knowledge Management Audit and the Follow-up of RecommendationsReport.

 

TheChairmanintroduced thereportsand deferred to theInternal Audit Partnerto presentthe detail.  He tookthe Committeethroughthe four reports in turn, starting with the ProgressReport.  He advised that the Fraud Risk Audit would be submitted to the next meeting, that a number of areas in the work plan for 2021/22 were now underway and that the Climate Change and Sustainability Strategy Audit had been moved to 2022/23. This was to allow for development of new sustainability strategies and plans to be completed before undertaking an Audit, thus ensuring a meaningful exercise.

 

Addressing the Housing Needs and Affordable Housing Audit he reported the key findings. The level of assurance was moderate on both design and effectiveness  with good processes in place for putting together a strategy and identifying housing needs.  Following a slow start, due to fewer schemes online at the introduction of affordable housing targets, the Council had since exceeded its target in 2018/19 and 2021/22.  There was still work to be done to ensure the Council met its target year on year, the Housing Service Business Plan should be finalised and disseminated to all staff and a strategy put in place to manage S106 spend.  It was noted that overall the response from Officers was positive and that COVID 19 had adversely impacted delivery rates in some areas.

 

The level of assurance on the Knowledge Management Audit was moderate in both design and effectiveness.  The key findings included good processes in place in terms of identifying and documenting efficiencies and ensuring staff engagement. The next steps should include robust documentation of the prioritisation process and updating the Business Continuity Plan, in particular updating the lead officers.

 

With reference to the Follow-up of Recommendations report it was noted that three recommendations had been signed off and two were still overdue since the last iteration of the report.  The overdue recommendations were Building Control and Flooding Risk Management.  The Committee was reassured that since the resource issue had been resolved the Building Control work was underway with a revised completion date of September 2021.  The Flooding Risk Management recommendation had a revised completion date of December 2021.

 

At this point the Chairman moved the recommendations in the report and these were seconded by Councillor Nunn.  The Chairman then opened the debate.

 

In response to questions Officers provided the following information:

 

  • That whilst the Council had exceeded its affordable housing targets in both 2018/19 and 2021/22 these were not consecutive years. The aim must be to consistently meet targets in each year of the Housing Strategy period. It was clarified that the Management Response was available on page 29 of the meeting pack.

 

  • That now the vacancy had been appointed to in Building Control work was back on track and the audit recommendation would be implemented in September 2021.

 

  • That Climate Change and Sustainability was one strategy.  The aim was to provide enough lead in time to develop the strategy therefore it was more effective to move the completion date to 2022/23 when there was a concrete strategy to audit.

 

  • That although the Housing Strategy was initially slow in meeting affordable housing targets there had been a marked improvement in the last three years, therefore, it was deemed on track to deliver planned targets.

 

  • That the rumours about London Boroughs buying up affordable housing in the district was unfounded. That on the strategic sites residents had 100% nomination rights to affordable units.

 

  • That the figures on completed and expected units (both 2021 and previous years) were maintained by Housing who continuously monitored, in liaison with Housing Associations and Developers, each step of the development on units. Those figures were then relayed to the Section 106 Officer who in turn reported on a bi-annual basis to this committee.

 

The Chairman 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 AuditProgress Report- July2021 at appendix 1;

(ii)              AffordableHousing & Housing NeedAuditJuly2021 at appendix 2;

(iii)            KnowledgeManagementAuditJune 2021 at appendix 3;

(iv)            Follow-upof RecommendationsReportMarch 2021 at appendix 4.

 

 

 

Supporting documents: