Agenda item

Head of Internal Audit Annual Report 2021/22


Moira Mackie (Head of Internal Audit) presented the report that summarised the work of Internal Audit in 2021/22. She highlighted that 91% of audits received a positive opinion, an improvement on the previous year, and only three areas received limited assurance. She also noted that the percentage of recommendations implemented was also very positive.


Councillor Florian Chevoppe-Verdier, in reference to Appendix 1, said it would be useful to know the scale of the levels of assurance given (i.e., what the minimum and maximum levels were).


Moira Mackie said the worst level was ‘no assurance’ which meant nothing was working as expected, ‘limited assurance’ meant there were several issues to put right, ‘satisfactory’ meant there was a mix of recommendations but nothing critical, and ‘substantial’ was the best with no issues and only minor improvements to be made. ‘Advisory’ denoted when a manager proactively came to the Audit team to ask for their help to review and improve the service.


Councillor Chevoppe-Verdier, in reference to Appendix 2, asked if any of the changes to the internal audit plan had been motivated by resourcing issues. Moira Mackie said the changes were mostly due to timing issues. Both the audit and service resource had to line up. None of the changes were in areas of concern.


Councillor Chevoppe-Verdier asked why sickness absence had been removed from the plan, but remote working remained. Moira Mackie said there was a concern at the time that sickness absence data was not being captured properly. However, after looking into it with HR officers were reassured that it was being captured correctly. Sharon Lea (Interim Chief Executive) assured members there had been a high level of monitoring around performance management and annual leave over the lockdown period. The Strategic Leadership Team received reporting on staffing levels and service availability every week during the pandemic.


The Chair asked if officers had concerns looking ahead given expected increases in inflation. David Hughes said any concerns about the impact of inflation on staffing costs or capital projects would be captured in risk registers. He said he would consider how to report on inflation at future meetings.

ACTION: David Hughes


The Chair asked how long it would take to upload any remaining contracts to the capitalESourcing system. Moira Mackie said work was ongoing. They would be looking at this area again over the coming quarter as part of a wider change to arrangements for managing contracts. Emily Hill added that officers had begun to strengthen arrangements with a new Assistant Director for Procurement and Commercial. A review of contracts was taking place and due to conclude shortly.


The Chair raised concerns that there was no system allowing officers to upload receipts for claims. David Hughes said that was due to a software limitation, but officers were asked to keep receipts locally and IBC carried out spot checks with managers. The Chair asked if it could be added in future. David Hughes said there had been conversations with the software provider.


Councillor Chevoppe-Verdier asked if managers challenged staff to ensure they were keeping receipts locally. David Hughes said they should and the sample check from IBC reinforced that practice.


The Chair asked if guidance on best practices was available to managers. David Hughes said guidance had been issued but it was up to managers to establish their own controls. Emily Hill (Director of Finance) added that staff had access to procurement cards where all purchases were coded, and receipts or invoices were uploaded to a central system. Expenses were only for small value items. Oversight should be proportionate given level of spend.


Councillor Paul Alexander asked if there was a set period of time that officers had to retain receipts. He also suggested they could store a PDF electronically. Moira Mackie said electronic storage was a complex issue as each receipt had to be linked to a claim. Councillor Alexander asked officers to consider electronic storage and other ways of making the process and guidance more robust. Councillor Chevoppe-Verdier agreed and suggested a report to the Committee with potential solutions and their costs. Councillor Rowan Ree agreed with the principal of improving transparency and efficiency. He said he would discuss the issue with officers.


ACTION: David Hughes / Councillor Ree




1.    The Committee noted and commented on the report.


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