Agendas, reports and minutes

Audit and Scrutiny Committee

Date: Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Agenda: Read the Agenda

A meeting of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee will take place in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 at 10.30am.

Webcast Notice: This meeting will be filmed and broadcast over the Internet on the Highland Council website and will be archived and available for viewing for 12 months thereafter.

You are invited to attend the meeting and a note of the business to be considered is attached.

Yours faithfully

Michelle Morris
Depute Chief Executive/
Director of Corporate Development
  


Business

1. Apologies for Absence
Leisgeulan

2. Declarations of Interest
Foillseachaidhean Com-pàirt

Members are asked to consider whether they have an interest to declare in relation to any item on the agenda for this meeting. Any Member making a declaration of interest should indicate whether it is a financial or non-financial interest and include some information on the nature of the interest. Advice may be sought from Officers prior to the meeting taking place.

3. Recess Powers
Cumhachdan Fosaidh

The Committee is asked to note that the Recess Powers granted by the Council at its meeting on 26 June 2014 have not been exercised in relation to the business of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee.

4. Internal Audit Reviews and Progress Report 
Ath-bhreithneachaidhean In-sgrùdaidh agus Aithisg Adhartais

There is circulated Report No. AS/16/14 dated 15 September 2014 by the Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management which summarises the final reports issued since the date of the last meeting, together with details of work in progress and other information relevant to the operation of the Internal Audit Section as follows:-

  • Community Services/Corporate Development – Business Continuity Planning Arrangements (follow up
  • Corporate Development – Corporate Governance Arrangements 2013/14
  • Development and Infrastructure – Contractors’ Framework Agreement for Works up to £50,000
  • Finance – Creditor Payments
  • Finance – Revenue Budgetary Control
  • Finance – Housing Benefit Payments 2013/14
  • Finance – End User Computing Spreadsheet Controls

The Committee is invited to consider the Final Reports referred to in Section 1.1 to the report, note the current work of the Internal Audit Section and note the deletion of an audit of the National Recruitment Portal from the Audit Plan.

5.Compliance with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards – Action Plan 
Gèilleadh ri Inbhean In-sgrùdaidh na Seirbheis Poblaich – Plana-gnìomh

There is circulated Report No. AS/17/14 dated 29 August 2014 by the Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management which refers to the completion of an action plan to demonstrate how the Internal Audit Section is proposing to comply with the requirements of the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS).

The Committee is invited to note:-

i. the actions which have been identified to address the areas of partial compliance and non-compliance together with the respective target dates;
ii. the actions taken since the previous meeting on 19 June 2014 which have now led to the achievement of an 86% compliance rate;
iii. that the current areas of partial compliance or non-compliance do not impact significantly on the ability to demonstrate overall compliance with the Standards; and
iv. that a further report will be presented to the meeting in March 2015 detailing the remaining actions required to achieve full compliance.

6. Revisions to Internal Audit Charter 
Ath-sgrùdadh air Cairt In-sgrùdaidh

There is circulated Report No. AS/18/14 dated 8 September 2014 by the Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management which refers to a review of the Internal Audit Charter in order to comply with the requirements of the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS).

The Committee is invited to consider and approve the revised Internal Audit Charter.

7. Risk Management Update  
Cunntas As Ùr mu Rianachd Cunnairt

There is circulated Report No. AS/19/14 dated 12 September 2014 by the Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management which provides details of changes to the actions in place to address the Council’s corporate risks.  In addition, details are provided of other risk management activities which have been recently undertaken.

The Committee is invited to scrutinise the corporate risk register information, as provided at Appendix 1 to the report, and note the recent risk management activities and the next steps, both of which are intended to assist in the continuing improvement of risk management within the Council.

8. Inspection of Equipment in Schools – Internal Audit Report Update  
Sgrùdadh Uidheamachd ann an Sgoiltean – Fios Às Ùr mu Aithisg In-sgrùdaidh 

There is circulated Report No. AS/20/14 dated 12 September 2014 by the Director of Development and Infrastructure which informs Members on the objectives and findings of the Audit Report presented to the Audit and Scrutiny Committee on 19 June 2014 and updates them on progress against the agreed action plan.

The Committee is invited to note the findings of the Audit Report presented to the Audit and Scrutiny Committee on 19 June 2014 and the progress being made against the agreed action plan.

9. Scottish Public Service Ombudsman Cases Received by the Council – Update Report 
Cùisean Ombudsman Sheirbheisean Poblach na h-Alba a Fhuaireadh leis a’ Chomhairle – Aithisg as Ùr

There is circulated Report No. AS/21/14 dated 14 September 2014 by the Chief Executive which sets out the number and types of complaint about the Council that have been determined by the Office of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) in the period since the last report to Audit and Scrutiny Committee.

The SPSO reports can be read in full at: http://www.spso.org.uk/ 

The Committee is invited to consider and note the details of the report.

10. Code of Corporate Governance  
Còd Riaghladh Corporra

Members will recall that the Highland Council approved the Code of Corporate Governance 2013/14 at its last meeting on 4 September 2014.  The Council also noted the progress in delivering the actions within the Code for 2013/14. 

In this connection, there is circulated Report No. AS/22/14 dated 6 August 2014 by the Depute Chief Executive/Director of Corporate Development which provides an update on progress with delivering the actions agreed in Local Code of Corporate Governance for 2013/14 and presents the Code for 2014/15 which was approved by Highland Council on 4 September 2014.
 
The Committee is invited to:-

i.  notes the good progress on delivering the agreed actions in the 2013/14 Code of Corporate Governance;
iii. notes the Substantial Assurance provided by the Internal Audit report on the delivery of the 2013/14 Code; and
iv. considers and scrutinises the 2014/15 Code of Corporate Governance.

11. Audit Scotland National Reports 
Aithisgean Nàiseanta Sgrùdadh Alba

There is circulated Report No. AS/23/14 dated 8 September 2014 by the Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management which provides details of the National Reports issued by Audit Scotland and the action taken within the Council to address the report findings as follows:-

  • Overview of Local Government in Scotland 2014
  • Re-shaping Care for Older People
  • Options Appraisal: are you getting it right?
  • Review of Recovery of Benefits Subsidy in 2012/13

The Committee is invited to consider and note the action being taken by the respective Committees to address Audit Scotland’s National Reports and whether this provides sufficient assurance that appropriate action has been taken to address the report findings.

12. Audit Scotland: Benefits Performance Audit Annual Update 2013/14 
Buidheann-sgrùdaidh na h-Alba: Fios Bliadhnail Sgrùdadh Buaidh nan Sochairean 2013/14

There is circulated Report No. AS/24/14 dated 1 September 2014 by the Director of Finance which provides the outcomes of Audit Scotland’s Benefits Performance work across Scotland in 2013/14.

The Committee is invited to note the findings from Audit Scotland’s Benefits Performance Audits during 2013/14, which included the involvement of the Council in a Risk Assessment study, the results of which have already been reported to Committee; and to welcome the efforts of Audit Scotland in disseminating good practice in this area of work and seeking with the Council to clarify continuing uncertainties about certain aspects of Welfare Reform.

13. External Audit Reports
Aithisgean Sgrùdaidh bhon Taobh A-muigh

The following summarises the external audit reports prepared by the Council’s External Auditors (Audit Scotland) issued since the last Audit and Scrutiny Committee:-

a) Arms-length external organisations: are you getting it right? – A follow-up report
b) Assurance on Internal Controls 2013/14
c) International Standard on Auditing 260 (ISA 260) / Report to those charged with governance on the 2013/14 Audit (will follow)

The Committee is invited to note the terms of the report.