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Audit, Governance & Standards Committee

28 July 2021

 

Annual Internal Audit Report & Opinion 2020/21

 

Final Decision-Maker

Audit, Governance & Standards Committee

Lead Head of Service

Rich Clarke, Head of Audit Partnership

Lead Officer and Report Author

Rich Clarke, Head of Audit Partnership

Classification

Public

Wards affected

All

 

Executive Summary

 

The Annual Internal Audit report includes the Head of Audit Partnershipís overall opinion on the Councilís internal control, risk management and governance for the year ended 31 March 2021. Based on the work completed, as summarised in the report, the opinion is positive and informs the Councilís Annual Governance Statement.

 

Purpose of Report

 

Noting

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

1.   The Committee notes the Head of Audit Partnershipís opinion.

2.   The Committee notes the work underlying the opinion and the Head of Audit Partnershipís assurance of its independent completion in conformance with proper Standards.

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Audit, Governance & Standards Committee

28 July 2021



Annual Internal Audit Report & Opinion 2020/21

 

1.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

We present this report for noting. Mid Kent Auditís work supports all Council activity and the wider Corporate Priorities in evaluating governance.

Rich Clarke, Head of Audit Partnership.

July 2021

Cross Cutting Objectives

Risk Management

The audit plan draws on the Councilís risk management in considering areas for audit review. In turn, audit findings will provide feedback on identification and management of risk.

 

Financial

Mid Kent Audit delivered the 2020/21 audit plan within the set operating budget.

Staffing

Mid Kent Audit delivered the 2020/21 audit plan within agreed staffing, supplementing vacancies through short-term market contractor engagements.

Legal

This report fulfils the Councilís responsibility
under the Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015 for maintaining an effective internal audit.

Principal Solicitor, Contentious & Corporate Governance

Privacy and Data Protection

We handled all information collected by the service in line with the data protection policy of Maidstone BC, as our host authority.

Rich Clarke, Head of Audit Partnership July 2021

Equalities

No direct implications.

Public Health

 

 

No direct implications.

Crime and Disorder

No direct implications.

 

Procurement

Completing the plan involved no new procurement.

Biodiversity and Climate Change

No direct implications

 

 

 

2.††††† INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

2.1     Internal audit is a compulsory service for authorities as set out by Regulation 5 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015. The principal objective of internal audit as described by that regulation is:

 

ď[to] undertake [audit work] to evaluate the effectiveness of [Ö] risk management, control and governance processes, taking into account public sector internal auditing standards and guidance.Ē

 

2.2     As those charged with overseeing governance the Terms of Reference for this Committee direct it to consider internal audit work, in particular the annual opinion.

 

2.3     The overall scope of the Councilís audit service Ė which remains delivered as part of a four-way partnership with Swale, Tunbridge Wells and Ashford Ė is set out in the Audit Charter and Annual Plan. This Committee approved the 2020/21 plan in March 2020 and an updated plan reflecting post-covid adjustments in September 2020. This Committee also received an interim progress update in January 2021.

 

2.4     This report fulfils the Head of Internal Audit annual reporting directed by the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (the ďStandardsĒ). The report includes the Head of Audit Partnershipís annual opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the Councilís framework of governance, risk management and control. This opinion feeds into the Annual Governance Statement for 2020/21.

 

2.5     The Standards, in particular Standards 2450 (Overall Opinions), direct the annual report to include:

 

         The annual audit opinion.

         A summary of work completed that supports the opinion, and

         A statement on conformance with the Standards.

 

2.6     We have completed the work set out in the plan in full conformation with the Standards. We have also worked independently, free from undue influence of either officers or Members.

 

 

3.   PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

3.1     The Head of Audit Partnership is satisfied the Council can place assurance on the system of control in place during 2020/21. Further, he is satisfied the corporate governance framework complies in all significant respects with the best practice guidance issued by CIPFA/SOLACE. Finally, he is satisfied the Councilís risk management processes are effective. We ask the Committee to note these opinions.

 

3.2     Please see Appendix 1 for the full Annual Report for 2020/21. This report includes a summary of all work conducted to support the opinion and affirms the independence and effectiveness of the internal audit service.

 

 

 

4.       CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

4.1     We consult and agree with relevant Heads of Service before finishing all findings and recommendations arising from individual audit engagements. The headline messages in our report are as discussed with the Corporate Leadership Team across the year and have been shared to help prepare the Annual Governance Statement.

 

 

 

 

5.        REPORT APPENDICES

 

The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:

         Appendix 1: Internal Audit Annual Report 2020/21

 

 

6.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

Full reports which support the audit engagements summarised in this annual report are available.