The Board received a report of the Strategic Director, Policy and Resources, which provided details of the proposed Internal Audit Plan for 2013/14. The Audit Plan outlined the likely programme of internal audit work for the year.
It was reported that the Audit Plan was designed to provide sufficient coverage across the organisation to enable the Head of Internal Audit to deliver an overall opinion on the Council’s risk management and overall assurance framework.
The Plan for 2013/14 was appended to the report for information and provided details of how the Council’s internal audit resources were to be utilised during the year.
Members were advised that a total of 1,086 days of audit work was planned based on a forecast staffing resource of 6.5FTE staff. Planned coverage was reduced slightly from 2012/13 to take account of a maternity leave absence.
It was further reported that as resources were limited, a risk-based approach was adopted to prioritise internal audit coverage and details of what was taken into account when compiling the programme was set out in the report for information.
Arising from discussion of the report Members discussed provision of audit services to other bodies such as the Manchester Port Health Authority, the statutory provision to provide library services, the use of volunteers and possible challenges around the Mersey Gateway procurement. It was noted that the Audit Team were planning a piece of work around the Mersey Gateway procurement process. It was further noted that delays would be likely should there be any challenges to the tendering process.
The following questions were raised:
· In respect of “Internal Disciplinary Process” within the Audit Plan, was the reason for this that there had been an increase, and who was the Council using to outsource investigations?
· In relation to credit for early payment, how many of our creditors had discussed this with us and how many were prepared to pay promptly to gain a percentage discount?
· Why was the budgetary control review not completed by 2012/13?
The following answers were provided:
· There hadn’t been an increase in internal disciplinary investigations but there had been a number of protracted investigations recently that had involved members of staff being suspended for extended periods. In addition capacity within the Council was stretched which made it difficult for Senior Officers to take on the role of Investigating Officer. A recent investigation was outsourced to Stobarts so it could be useful to examine how that fared in comparison to the usual in house process;
· The Early Payment Discount Scheme was still in development. ICT services were working on the programming required within Agresso. Until that was complete the Council would not be contacting suppliers about the scheme. It was noted that Oldham MBC had introduced a similar scheme last year and over 100 suppliers had signed up;
· This review was scheduled to be started in March 2013. It was likely to be reported to either the next BEB or the meeting after that.
RESOLVED: That the Board approve the proposed Internal Audit Plan for 2013/14