Agenda Item No 4
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Audit Committee 18th November 2014
Report from the Operational Manager - Audit as the Head of Audit
Building Services Update
Purpose of the Report
1. The purpose of this report is to provide the Committee with an update on the current situation as it relates to Status 10 Jobs (either jobs which are ongoing or jobs that have been finalised and as yet unclaimed) within Building Services.
THAT the report be noted.
Reason for the Recommendation
To facilitate monitoring of the Council's overall internal control environment.
2. During the Audit Committee meeting held on the 22nd September and whilst scrutinising the Annual Governance Statement for 2013/14; Members noted the comments at paragraph 11.8 relating to Building Services which stated 'there is a trend which sees an increasing number of jobs remaining unclosed'. Members further noted that the Auditors appreciated that the increase was nowhere near the original level as identified in March 2013 but the numbers had started to rise. Members had further regard to the fact that the Auditors felt that speedy and efficient closing of work within ConSol must continue to be a priority within the Section as it would allow for a more accurate monitoring of budgets and a more positive reputation between Building Services and its clients.
3. Members expressed the view that this situation must be investigated and that the Head of Housing and Building Services appear before the Committee. It was therefore resolved that Audit investigate the situation with regard to the increasing number of jobs remaining unclosed and bring a report on this subject to the meeting of the Committee scheduled for 18th November 2014 and also that the Head of Housing and Building Services be required to attend the meeting.
Relevant Issues and Options
4. The classification of Status 10 refers to either jobs which are ongoing or jobs that have been finalised and as yet unclaimed. During the follow up review of Building Services it was noted that the number of Status 10 jobs were increasing indicating that there appeared to be delays in closing jobs on ConSol.
5. At the request of the Audit Committee; Internal Audit has undertaken further work to try and establish the reasons for the increase.
6. Table 1 below provides a breakdown of the number of Status 10 jobs for the period July 2013 to September 2014.
Data Report Date
Total of Status 10's
7. The details in Table 1 above show that the numbers peaked in September 2013 with 2,368 jobs outstanding, after which saw a steady decrease where it can be seen that in April 2014 the numbers had significantly decreased by over 77.5% to a total of 534. However; as reflected in the Annual Governance Statement; and as demonstrated above, the trend shows an increase in numbers of Status 10 jobs outstanding.
8. Attached at Appendix A is a further analysis which provides Members with the numbers and percentages of status 10 jobs by officers. The appendix shows that by far; the greatest proportion of status 10 jobs is within Building Services. The details also show that the highest percentage of jobs outstanding are those classified as "confirmer"; these are mobile jobs assigned via the PDAs; followed by "WHQs" and "Mobile Jobs not in confirmer". The Auditors have established that in the case of "confirmer jobs", it is the responsibility of two allocated Maintenance Officers to undertake the necessary checks i.e. hours assigned; materials used and associated costs before closing and changing the status to "Status 12 which means it has been passed to the Business Support Officer for authorisation .
9. A Maintenance Officer's Status 10 Report which lists raised and released jobs is provided to all Maintenance Officers within the Section, on a monthly basis, by the Business Support Officer, in order for the Maintenance Officers to investigate why the jobs detailed within the report have not been completed within ConSol. For accurate trading account information it is essential that jobs are completed and closed in a timely manner in ConSol to ensure that jobs are charged to clients and income recovered. It is also stated within the Building Service's Financial Procedure Note to all Maintenance Officers (September 2013) (Revised April 2014) that "All mobile responsive repairs are to be closed by the relevant Maintenance Officers in "Confirmer" (mobile jobs). This is to be completed on a daily basis - where Maintenance Officer on annual leave etc. adequate cover to be provided to cover the "Confirmer" role". Therefore, there is an expectation that Maintenance Officers will ensure that "they are always up to date in clearing these reports". It is clear from Appendix A that this has not been a priority since May 2014 which sees as an example; "Confirmer" jobs outstanding increasing significantly.
10. In addition to the above and as contained with the Financial Procedure Note (FPN) it also states that "A monthly overview report will be provided to the Building Services Manager outlining progress of all Maintenance Officers and for reporting to the Maintenance Officer Service Improvement Group". The Auditor requested copies of the minutes for the last six meetings of the Maintenance Officer Service Improvement Group to ascertain whether any issues in relation to the closing of Status 10 Jobs had been identified and addressed. It was disappointing to note that these meetings had not been held at monthly intervals as stated in the FPN with only four being held since January 2014; the most recent of which, at the time of the Audit, was 11th August 2014.
11. Therefore there does not appear to be any identifiable reason as to why the number of Status 10 jobs has increased. However, the fact that the monthly meetings of the Maintenance Officer Service Improvement Group are not taking place as regularly as expected; there are no defined acceptable levels/targets for the number of Status 10's outstanding and a lack of prioritisation could all be contributory factors to the increase.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
12. Effective audit planning and monitoring are key contributors in ensuring that the Authority's assets and interests are properly accounted for and safeguarded.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
13. None directly.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
14. Provision of an adequate and effective Internal Audit function is a legal requirement under the Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2005 as amended.
Crime and Disorder Implications
15. Pursuing initiatives to prevent, detect and deter crime is encompassed within the terms of reference under which the audit function operates.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
16. None as a direct consequence of this report.
17. The work of audit is intended to assist in the achievement of all corporate and service objectives.
Policy Framework and Budget
18. The proposals in this report are in accordance with the policy framework and budget.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
19. No further consultation is proposed.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
20. Corporate Resources.
Helen Smith - Operational Manager - Audit Tel: 01656 754901
External Audit Manager - Grant Thornton UK LLP
Alan Jenkins - Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer