Agenda item

Annual Internal Audit Report

To consider the report of the Audit Manager.



The Audit Manager (HK) presented the Annual Internal Audit report for the year ending 31 March 2023, which conformed to the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and was timed to inform the Council’s Annual Governance Statement. The report included an audit update, a survey of work and audit standards and the results of the Quality Assurance programme.


The Audit Manager drew Members’ attention to key points in Section 3 of the report to be included in the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) which included:-


·         Debt Collection with a number of areas requiring attention within service areas relating to raising invoices and subsequent collection of debt for all income streams.

·         the Council’s Financial Position

·         Change Management and the speed of the One Exeter Programme and factors which present a risk in achieving the objectives.


The Audit Manager stated that Section 4, contained an update on the delivery of the Annual Audit Plan 2022/23, which included an outcome of all audits undertaken throughout the year which have also been reported to previous meetings.


The Audit Manager responded to the following Members’ questions:-


·         improvements to the weaknesses identified in relation to raising invoices and subsequent collection of debt was now part of a management review ofdebt collection.  Any areas of improvements identified in the audit work would be followed up.

·         the scope of the audit of Risk Management completed in 2022 related to operational risk management not corporate risk Management.

·         a Member asked for a copy of the recent Hospitality Audit report and the Audit Manager agreed to circulate to members of the Committee.

·         key assurances were identified by the Audit Managers as set out in Section 2 of the report, which included their input to the overall opinion. The Director Finance responded to a request for consideration of a specific area of concern and advised that Members may request areas for consideration to the Audit Managers for inclusion in the Action Plan.


The Director Finance also responded to Members’ questions and stated that:-


·         the audit work covered a range of sundry debt collection in Council Tax and Housing Rents. The teams provided services to either business or the general public across a whole range from the Home Call Alarm scheme through to managing commercial property which included managing leasehold service charges and ground rent.

·         a key parameter of the audit was about reporting on the management of the process and not the level of debt of individuals. It was anticipated that the debt system was due to be replaced in two years’ time.

·         in respect of the Medium Term Financial Plan, the Council’s budget for this financial year had taken account of an outstanding sum of £9.7 million, and the correct figure had subsequently been reduced to £5.1million.

·         as part of the audit of IT/Strata Asset Management, the Strategic Management Board at Exeter City Council had discussed the current levels and replacement of IT equipment with an inventory to ensure the agreement was updated in line with current practice. It was appropriate for this to be discussed by the tripartite authorities of Exeter City and East Devon and Teignbridge District Councils at the Strata Joint Executive Committee meeting.


A Member proposed and Members agreed for this matter to be referred to both Strata Joint Executive and Strata Joint Scrutiny for the organisational agreement to be updated in line with current practice, noting that IT equipment was an asset.. It was noted that Strata’s legal team had drafted up an updated contract which had been agreed by the Council.


The Audit and Governance Committee noted the Annual Audit Report for the year ended 31 March 2023 and the request that Strata Joint Executive and Strata Joint Scrutiny Committees ensure that the organisational agreement is updated in line with current practice noting that the City Council is holding an asset in terms of IT equipment.

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