Meeting documents

Audit Committee
Thursday, 29th June, 2017 9.30 am

Date: Thursday 29th June 2017 Time: 9.30 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

PresentAndWithReport toReport of
MR. PETER WILLIAMS (CHAIR)
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. CONDOLENCES

The Chair reported that the former Councillor Dickie Jones had sadly passed away and the Committee stood as a mark of respect.

Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors S. Healy, M. Holland and H. McCarthy.

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

No declarations of interest or dispensations were reported.

Noted
5. RESPONSE TO WAO ENQUIRY TO THOSE CHARGED WITH GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT
Report (125K/bytes)
Appendix A (175K/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Head of Internal Audit.

The Head of Internal Audit spoke to the report which was presented to inform the Audit Committee of the management response to the Wales Audit Office enquiry to those charged with Governance and Management.

RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the response to the WAO enquiry be endorsed.

Agreed
6. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT 2016/17
Report (152K/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Head of Internal Audit.

The Head of Internal Audit presented the report which highlighted the work undertaken by the Internal Audit Service and provided an objective review of the Authority's system of internal control during the financial year 2016/17.

A Member commented that over the past 5 years the Authority's governance framework had strengthened and continued to improve and this work had been recognised by external audit and other agencies. The strength and change agenda was how the Authority organised itself with regard to budgets, and it was crucial to maintain that level and continue to lead the Council in a fit and proper way moving forward, as any lessening in the way the Authority operated would be detrimental to the Council.

The Executive Member assured Members that focus would remain on continuing positive development of the Authority's governance framework.

In response to a Member's question regarding the Authority's representation on the Board in relation to the IT Shared Resource Service (SRS), the Head of Internal Audit said that the Chief Finance Officer was the Authority's representative on the Board and as such could provide feedback.

A Member expressed concern regarding the increase in cyber crime and asked what measures had been put in place to tackle this issue.

In response, the Information & Governance Officer confirmed that IT were in the process of updating the Authority's security software, and putting mechanisms in place to prevent fraud. The Head of Internal Audit advised that a report looking at fraud on a corporate basis would be submitted to a future Committee.

The Head of Financial Services assured that all systems and servers were thoroughly and stringently tested on an annual basis, and security of our network systems would be checked by an external company.

A Member commended the Audit Team on their exemplary attendance levels. The Executive Member concurred with the Member's comments and gave a commitment to support the work of the Audit Section.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Audit Committee acknowledge the opinion set out in section 8 of the detailed report.

Agreed
7. STRATEGIC INTERNAL AUDIT PLAN 2017-2022
Report (160K/bytes)
Appex 2 (303K/bytes)
Appex 3 - 5 (120K/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Head of Internal Audit.

The Head of Internal Audit spoke to the report which was presented to inform the Audit Committee of the strategic five year Audit Plan for 2017-2022 which included a one year operational plan.

The Officer went through the report and highlighted points contained therein.

A Member referred to the Appendix, namely Social Services and asked whether the increase in looked after children had impacted on the scoring system.

In response the Officer stated that looked after children was not specifically looked at, but Social Services was a high priority area and would remain a priority for the Audit Section moving forward.

A Member asked whether additional audit days could be allocated to Social Services and Environment. The Officer confirmed that additional audit days could be allocated to priority Directorates to enhance services, with CMT approval.

The Head of Financial Services reported that the review of the Audit Service had not yet been completed, and whilst the two existing vacant posts of Audit Trainee and Audit Clerical Assistant within the Team were acknowledged, there would be more value in appointing a Senior Auditor with the necessary qualifications and skill set needed to ensure the service was fit for purpose moving forward.

A Member expressed concern regarding the impact of diminishing budgets on front line services, and said the Council should be mindful of this moving forward, particularly in relation to Education and Social Services.

A discussion ensued regarding Option 3 detailed in the report, when the Executive Member suggested that the new post of Senior Auditor be advertised on a fixed term basis for a period of 2 years.

In response the Head of Financial Services said if agreed the post would, in line with Council policy, be advertised internally in the first instance. If it became necessary to advertise externally she agreed that the post be advertised for a two year fixed term but sought Committee agreement that if no suitable candidates presented that the post be advertised externally on a permanent basis.

RESOLVED accordingly.

FURTHER RESOLVED that the Audit Committee:-

i. Endorse the Internal Audit Plan for 2017-2022 attached at Appendix 2;

ii. Acknowledge the basis for audit selection/prioritisation as outlined in paragraphs 1.3 - 1.5 of the report; and

iii. Approve Option 3 with the proposal that the Senior Auditor post be advertised internally in the first instance, and if necessary to advertise externally for a two year fixed term and if no suitable candidates presented the post be advertised externally on a permanent basis.

Agreed
8. UPDATE ON AUDIT ACTIVITIES RELATING TO THE 2016/17 AUDIT PLAN
Report (121K/bytes)
Appendix A - B4 (369K/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Audit Manager.

The Audit Manager spoke to the report which provided an update of progress made on audits from the 2016/17 Audit Plan.

In response to a Member's question regarding the systems audit of attendance management, the Audit Manager confirmed that the Attendance Management Task and Finish Group had reported into CMT, and appropriate actions to mitigate the weaknesses identified had been agreed. A Member Task & Finish Group was also being considered to look at current arrangements and identify further improvements.

The Officer also reported that ITrent, the Council's HR / payroll system, was also being further developed to support reporting and recording attendance, and a report would be presented to the Audit Committee in due course.

A Member referred to the Aneurin Leisure Trust, and asked whether the results of the audit could be reported back to Committee, and the Officer undertook to seek clarification on this matter.

Another Member raised concerns in relation to the feasibility report for CCTV, and the Communications, Marketing and Customer Access Manager explained that due to historical ongoing problems a recommendation was made to CMT to undertake a review of CCTV, and consider potential options moving forward. However, due to the technical nature of the system this review would need to be undertaken by a specialist independent team. He also pointed out that there was no budget allocated for CCTV system repairs or maintenance, as the contract with Newport only covered monitoring of the CCTV cameras.

A Member pointed out that CCTV was a valued and important service and Members would have to decide whether to keep the service and find the necessary funding but would need to be assured that the system provided value for money.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and progress on activities from the 2016/17 Audit Plan be noted.

Agreed
DECISIONS UNDER DELEGATED POWERS