Committee round-up: Audit Committee 29.3.17

Progress being made to address internal audit recommendations, discussions on compliance with key council documents, and the work of the council’s external auditors were among matters discussed at the latest meeting of Aberdeenshire Council’s Audit Committee.

Adjourned topic-scoring reports dismissed

The committee’s business began with the consideration of two reports adjourned from February’s meeting.

The first concerned a topic-scoring exercise regarding the council’s IT system for council tax collection and the collection of income and debts. Following consideration of the background report, the committee agreed to dismiss it from any future work.

The second report, on the council’s strategy for the disposal of vehicles, equipment and other assets by fleet services, was also dismissed from any future work.

Internal audit reports considered

Moving on to the formal meeting of the Audit Committee, councillors discussed the latest updates on the implementation of internal audit recommendations.

The committee requested a briefing note regarding the procedure for approving temporary dispensations from Disclosure Scotland checks. Updates were also requested on internet connection speeds for the Glow education network, the capacity of rural schools to benefit from Council policy, and on the retendering of the CareFirst social care management system.

Councillors also requested that Education and Children’s Services Committee undertake the first stage of an investigation into whether the Glow network is a suitable solution for the service over similar packages.

In a report that followed, the committee approved the 2017/18 Internal Audit Plan for Aberdeenshire Council. The plan highlighted proposed areas of investigation across all council services.

Progress of matters raised by external auditor discussed 
The committee noted the progress made addressing issued raised in the External Auditor’s Audit Report for 2015/16.

In September 2016, the former Scrutiny and Audit Committee agreed responses to the action plan of issues to be addressed by the council, all of which were classed as ‘medium’ priority.

A report before councillors outlined that 9 of the 11 recommendations had been addressed, one was in progress and not yet due for completion, and that the remaining action had passed the initial deadline for completion. A verbal update was given to say that this final action had since been addressed.

In a report that followed, the committee noted Audit Scotland’s Annual Audit Plan for 2016/17.

Update provided on ‘internal control compliance and good governance’ concerns

An update stemming from a special meeting of the former Scrutiny and Audit Committee was brought before councillors for discussion.

At the special meeting, committee members raised concerns over a number of compliance issues, heard by the council’s chief executive. The concerns related to compliance with the council’s financial regulations, matters relating to decision-making, and the implementation of internal audit recommendations.

The update report highlighted that performance over the past six months had improved, with a reduction in the average total number of recommendations not implemented by their due dates.

Commenting on the update, the committee asked for an update on the actual figures behind a compliance rate of 87% between September last year and March 2017.

The committee also requested that an update on the action plan be brought before the next meeting of the Audit Committee in June. 

Other matters

• The committee discussed an update on actions agreed at previous meetings of the committee.
• The committee was thanked for their efforts both on the former Scrutiny and Audit Committee, and the new Audit Committee, and for the range of work that had been undertaken.
• The full public reports considered by the committee can be found via http://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk