To consider the attached report.
Contact Officer: Kate Mulhearn (01296) 585724
The Committee received a progress report on activity undertaken against the 2018/19 Assurance Plan that had been approved by the Committee in June 2018. The following matters were highlighted:-
Final Reports issued since the previous Committee Meeting
The following reviews had been completed since the last Committee meeting:-
· Corporate Health and Safety (Medium risk) – the review had identified three medium and two low risk issues where further work was required to strengthen controls in a number of areas, as detailed in the Committee report Overall, procedures were found to be working in accordance with health and safety requirements at both a corporate and operational level, and a number of areas of good practice had been noted, in particular at the Waste and Operations site at Pembroke Road.
· Procurement and Contract Management (Medium Risk) – the review had identified one medium and four low risk issues. The report had noted that significant progress had been made in 2017-18 in strengthening procurement and contract procedures and visibility over contract spend. A number of areas had been highlighted where further work was required. Again, these were detailed in the Committee report.
The full review reports were attached as Appendix 3 to the Committee report.
2018/19 Internal Audit Plan Work in Progress
The Committee was informed that two reviews (Customer comments, compliments and complaints, and Housing Benefits) had held their scoping meetings.
Three reviews (Section 106, Commercial Waste and Parking Services) had agreed terms of reference with it anticipated that final reports would be made to the Audit Committee in January 2019.
Summary of changes to the 2017/18 Internal Audit Plan
To remain relevant, the annual internal audit plan needed to be flexible to respond to emerging or changing risks. With budget constraints, there was also a need to ensure prioritisation was given to work that would achieve the greatest value to the organisation.
When the 2018/19 plan had been approved in June 2018, the Waste and Recycling review had included looking at the contracts for Street Cleansing/Horticulture and Recycling. However, the Council had recently approved the proposal to bring Street Scene services in-house when the current contract concluded in January 2020. Due to changes in the recycling market, AVDC was paying for waste to be taken to a MRP rather than receiving income for recyclates. For both contracts, management procedures were in place and this was not considered a high risk for internal audit review. Audit days would be re-allocated to allow for more in-depth reviews of Commercial Waste and Parking Services.
Implementation of Agreed Audit Actions
The implementation of actions and recommendations raised by internal audit reviews were monitored to ensure that the control weaknesses identified had been satisfactorily addressed. Actions arising from low risk audit findings were followed up by management and reviewed, but not validated, by internal audit.
A detailed listing of all internal audit actions, together with a status update was included at Appendix 4. In total, 36 actions were followed up for the October 2018 Audit Committee – that included an update on all actions whether they were due or whether they had a later due date. 20 out of 36 actions (55%) had been completed.
Members sought further information and were informed:-
Corporate Health and Safety
That the Buckinghamshire Safety Advisory Group (SAG) brought together all the agencies that had an interest in the safety and environmental impact of public events, including Bucks Fire and Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police, South Central Ambulance Trust, and Bucks County Council’s Highway Department. It allowed public event organisers to obtain advice from multiple agencies but did not ‘sign off’ event proposals, nor did it accept any liability for issues arising from an event. It was explained that it was the responsibility of individual events organisers to ensure that risk assessments and the level of health and safety input required was addressed in advance of the event.
Procurement and Contract Management
That the contracts team was working to ensure that the Contract Register on the Council’s website was updated and met the requirement of the Local Government Transparency Code 2015.
· Safeguarding – that while individual managers performance managed their staff to ensure mandatory safeguarding training was undertaken, the Council needed to ensure that corporate records were regularly reviewed and updated. A new HR/Personnel system ‘XCD’ was in the process of being rolled out across the organisation which would address this issue.
· Lone working – it was confirmed that the Council’s Lone Work Policy had recently been updated, with devices issued to relevant staff.
· Taxi Licensing – Members expressed concerns in relation to taxi licensing and driver contact with vulnerable people, particularly where drivers who had been licensed by other local authorities then operated in the Aylesbury Vale area.
Action point: To ensure that a review of the Taxi Safeguarding policy was considered for inclusion in the Internal Audit Plan for 2019/20.
That the progress report be noted.