Agenda item

SWAP Internal Audit - Progress Report 2021-22 Internal Audit Plan

This report summarises the work of the Council’s Internal Audit Service and provides:

·     Details of any new significant weaknesses identified during internal audit work completed since the last report to the committee in December 2021.


·     A schedule of audits completed during the period, detailing their respective assurance opinion rating, the number of recommendations and the respective priority rankings of these.



The Assistant Director from SWAP introduced the report: 

·                     The report was a progress update to be noted by the Committee.   

Cllr Pugsley left the meeting at 19:03 

·         It highlighted progress against and changes to the Internal Audit Plan and brought significant findings to the Committee’s attention.  

·         Four reviews had been completed. No adverse opinions had been given.  

·         Council Tax Business Rates audit was given reasonable assurance and three low priority recommendations were raised. 

·         Housing benefits audit was given reasonable assurance. There were two low priority recommendations around use of printers and around system access.  

·         The audit around GDPR received reasonable assurance. There were a few level 2 priority actions.  

·         A small annual piece of work was done around system parameter testing. This was done to ensure various areas had been correctly updated in terms of terms and conditions.  

·         Operate a rolling audit plan. The priorities were agreed for January through to March with the Council’s Senior Management Team.  

·         There were no adverse opinions to bring to the Committee’s attention.  


During the Debate the following points were raised: 

·                     It was asked whether projects such as Tonedale Mill which were partly funded by Historic England or other groups were included under Regeneration Projects in the reporting. It was responded by the SWAP Assistant Director that the Regeneration Projects audit area was a high-level scope so when an audit was undertaken it would be decided what areas of Regeneration Projects should be looked at in terms of Governance.  

·                     It was raised that there were some advisories which needed to be considered and concerns were raised about this in relation to local government reorganisation. In particular, concerns were raised about the time officers were spending on unitary work and the hidden costs of this. It was responded by the SWAP Assistant Director that the Unitary Preparedness review was to look at lessons learned from the Transformation this council went through and to use those lessons for the current local government reorganisation. There would be pressures on staff as a result of the work involved in the transition to a unitary authority and maintaining services would be a challenge.  

·                     It was asked what issues had been highlighted from Dorset and what lessons had been learned. The Assistant Director from SWAP responded that the report with lessons from Dorset’s transition could be provided once it was completed.  

·                     It was asked about staff retention being included in the audit and why this had been included. It was responded by Assistant Director from SWAP that staff retention had been highlighted as a risk of Local Government Reorganisation. SWAP would look at what the Council was doing to address this risk and to support staff.  

·                     It was raised that the Unitary Programme was currently four weeks behind and it needed to be considered what could be done to prevent any last-minute rush due to running out of time. It was asked if this could be considered by the auditors as part of the Unitary Preparedness audit. The Assistant Director from SWAP responded that the report from the Unitary Preparedness audit would be a high-level report but there was a quality review being done by PricewaterhouseCoopers which would also provide assurance.  


The Audit and Governance Committee resolved to carry the recommendation in the report: 

2.1 Members are asked to note progress made in delivery of the 2021-22 internal audit plan and significant findings since the previous update in December 2021. 


Supporting documents: