The purpose of this report is to give an opinion on the adequacy of Surrey County Council’s control environment as a contribution to the proper, economic, efficient and effective use of resources. The report covers the audit work completed in the year from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 in accordance with the Internal Audit Strategy for 2018/19.
The Chairman considered Item 7 (this item) before Items 6 and 8.
Russell Banks, Chief Internal Auditor
David John, Audit Manager
Key points raised during the discussion:
· Areas of significant weaknesses had been highlighted by Internal Auditors. There was now a clear commitment and desire from management to improve internal control and governance through the transformation programme.
· That the Committee had a key role in overseeing the Internal Audit function and would continue to ensure that the Internal Audit performance indicators were satisfied.
· Reported the proactive approach with the Council’s Strategy on counter fraud.
a) The Chief Internal Auditor recalled the case of the former employee of Surrey County Council who defrauded the Council of around £90,000 through the use of a pre-paid card scheme, which was discovered in May 2017. However, it was explained that Internal Audit had identified relatively small amounts of fraud considering the large size of Surrey County Council.
b) The Chief Internal Auditor summarised examples of the three areas of minimal assurance identified and reported the specific weaknesses within the CFL Care Assessment audit with a detailed summary in Annex 2.
c) The Audit Manager stated that work was in progress on the Looked After Children Initial Health Assessments and an update would be given at the next Committee in September. He was hopeful that verbal robust assurance could be given later this calendar year.
d) The Audit Manager explained that high priority actions of partial and minimal assurance were being monitored in a management system with follow-up emails to managers and to the relevant auditor. Managers were required to report back to Internal Audit to explain any overdue actions and that compensating controls would be in place to mitigate any further and future delays. The system tracked performance and ensured more regular engagement between Internal Audit and the Corporate Leadership Team on a quarterly basis.
Actions/ further information to be provided:
That the Committee: