Agenda item

Internal Audit Progress Report 2022/23

Report by Devon Audit Partnership (attached).

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report by Devon Audit Partnership regarding the Internal Audit progress report for 2022-23 (circulated previously).

 

The Internal Auditor highlighted the following points in relation to the Internal Audit Progress Report 2021-22:

 

·       There were three audit reports, which were summarised on page 19 of the agenda all with reasonable assurance ratings.

·       The Council’s target to deliver Net Zero emissions by 2030 was still a challenge and there should be a focus on mitigation by the Council to achieve this objective.

·       The audit of security measures for the Council explored the mechanisms that were in place to protect Officers and Members in loan working situations and whilst the risk to Members was relatively low at the present time as there were no surgeries taking place, this risk is likely to increase with the elections in 2023. Members had been offered Personal Safety Awareness training but less than half had attended them. They faced the same risks as lone working Officers, and it was appropriate that they be risk assessed in the same way.

·       Staff and Officers had Reliance Protection ‘Pulse’ devices while they were out working alone and had been given training on their use. However, they needed to use them more often and test them regularly and managers should follow this up. Staff had limited knowledge of the threat/risks posed by intruders therefore could benefit from generic training on keeping themselves and others safe, particularly during ingress/egress from secure areas.

·       The Council had a Scheme of Members’ Allowances, which was updated annually with an Independent Remuneration Panel undertaking a fundamental review every four years. All members currently received a Basic Allowance of £4,970.22 / annum a twelfth of which was paid to them monthly. One member had elected to forgo his annual increase in Basic Allowance and received payment based upon the amount agreed at time of his election. Several members also received a Special Responsibility Allowance in addition to the Basic Allowance. All payments made to members in May 2022 were found to be in accordance with the scheme in place with each member receiving the correct allowances due.

·       Since Covid-19 the number of members claiming travel allowance had reduced significantly, in line with a reduction in the travel being undertaken. Personal safety was potentially compromised with the publishing of residential addresses.

·       The grants system was audited and all payments had been made accurately via the Councils processes.

 

Councillor Luggar joined the meeting at 6.38pm.

 

·       There had been no reported fraud issues in the year to date. Management was aware that they could refer any suspected issues to the counter fraud team.

·       The Council had agreed with Devon County Council that they would fund an exercise to review the Single Person Discounts claimed by individuals.

·       The audit plan was broadly on schedule for the delivery of the plan.

The Chair thanked the Auditor for his informative report and acknowledged the comments made in relation to climate change.

 

In response to questions, the Internal Auditor advised the following:

 

·       The business case in relation to grants was ready and the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive advised that the Economic and Regeneration team were reviewing processes regularly.

·       The Council Tax review of Single Person Discounts claimed by individuals was in part an exercise to ascertain that claimants were still eligible for the reduction or whether their circumstances had changed.

 

RESOLVED that the Internal Audit Progress report be noted.

Supporting documents: