Committee round-up: Audit Committee 15.2.17

Aberdeenshire Council’s new Audit Committee met for the first time in the authority’s Woodhill House headquarters on Wed, Feb 15, with members discussing the new arrangements before getting on with business.

The role of the group, formerly known as the Scrutiny and Audit Committee, changed at the end of January when the council’s new Scheme of Governance came into effect. As part of that change, scrutiny matters will now be managed directly by policy committees.

The committee will continue its focus on audit matters, and Audit Committee chair Cllr Gillian Owen explained that the new arrangements meant the committee can now have substitute members.

Updates on internal audit reports considered

The committee discussed the progress of audit recommendations made to a number of council teams and services.

Topics covered included the provision of external legal advice, an electronic document management system used by the council, the registrars service, and teacher recruitment procedures.

Updates were also provided on recommendations relating to the council’s rent system, and the Portsoy Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme.

Audit Scotland provide presentation on external audit

The committee welcomed Audit Scotland Assistant Director Gillian Woolman and Senior Audit Manager Anne MacDonald to the meeting.

They gave a presentation about the work of Audit Scotland, which includes which include checking that organisations such as councils are using public money properly.

Audit Scotland’s work with Aberdeenshire Council was also discussed during the presentation.

Learning and development investigation concluded

An investigation looking at cross-service learning and development, and the associated budget commissioning and delivery, has been concluded.

The committee noted updates on work previously undertaken by the Scrutiny and audit Committee and agreed that the investigation could be closed as all related updates have been completed.

Committee discusses progress of investigation topics

The committee considered the outcomes of three workshops undertaken by the former Scrutiny and Audit Committee and agreed no further work was required in these areas of work.

The work had covered using complaints to improve services and the council’s customer feedback process; the effectiveness of the ‘town centre health check’ exercise, and performance reporting.

Updates on two other areas of work – regarding IT systems for council tax collection and the collection of income and debts; and on the council’s strategy for disposing of surplus equipment – are to be considered immediately before the next meeting of the Audit Committee.

Other matters

The committee heard an update on the progress of actions from previous Scrutiny and Audit Committee meetings and the related timelines.

The full public reports considered by the Audit Committee can be found at http://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/