Agenda item

Internal audit - Q1 2021/22 progress report

To note the Q1 internal audit progress report for 2021/22.


To make any comments and/or observations on the report to the Interim Head of Finance.


Natalie Jerams, Deputy Head of Southern Internal Audit Partnership (SIAP), gave the Committee an overview of Annex 1 to the report, which provided an update on the delivery of the 2021/22 internal audit plan as of the end of quarter 1. An update on the outstanding audit reviews from 2020/21 was also provided.


So far this year one limited assurance rated audit review, relating to the Harlequin Theatre, had concluded. This examined local income, banking and reconciliation functions.


The Interim Head of Finance explained that the audit had been commissioned due to the unusually high level of banking discrepancies identified when the Finance team were preparing bank account reconciliations. The outcome of the audit was to highlight areas of weakness and inconsistency at the operational level that were causing these errors. It also confirmed that this was due to human error rather than irregularity. Action was now underway to update procedures to eliminate the scope for error and train Harlequin staff in their use.


The Interim Head of Finance confirmed that the Harlequin was the service that received the highest volume of cash. Members were assured that there were controls in place for the Council’s other venues that accepted cash payments.


The Interim Head of Finance agreed to provide a written response to members on progress in progressing the management actions arising from this audit and on the current budget position for the Harlequin.


Referring to page 49 of the report, it was noted that 44% of audits were yet to commence, all other audits related to Q4 and were on track for delivery. In terms of live audits there were a number of management actions that were pending. A number of actions that were overdue had received revised implementation dates. All quarter 2 audits were on track. The audit review on the Local Government (COVID-19 Sales, Fees & Charges) Compensation Scheme had been signed off in October.


There were 2 outstanding actions relating to cyber security and they had received revised implementation times for the end of September. SIAP would follow these actions through to completion.


Concern was raised regarding the number of overdue actions for the review relating to Human Resources and Organisational Development. It was explained that because the report was undertaken in October 2019, this did not mean the actions needed to be completed by this date and may have only just become overdue. The revised date for these actions was December 2021. Meetings with senior officers considered SIAPs reports monthly and questioned why some deadlines were being delayed or deferred. SIAP attended these meetings and discussed areas of concern, particularly with high priority actions. It was important to set realistic targets for actions, as it had become apparent that some original target dates were likely to have been unachievable.


A member stated that it would be useful to have a summary of the overdue actions in a table, as well as further information showing target dates, showing planned, managed and actual.


Further information was requested regarding the 2 high priority cyber security actions. It was stated that one related to the need for recruiting a member of staff and the other related to patch that was awaiting implementation.




(i)            written responses would be sent to Members;


(ii)          a summary table to be produced detailing information regarding management actions;


(iii)         That the Audit Committee notes the Q1 2021/22 internal audit progress report available at annex 1; and,


(iv)         That the Council’s Chief Finance Officer notes the comments made.


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