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Agenda Item No 10

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Audit Committee: 18th November 2014

 

Report from the Operational Manager - Audit as the Head of Audit

 

Senior Management Assurance Statement

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         The purpose of this report is to provide the Committee with an update on the implementation of the Senior Management Assurance Statement for the Financial Year 2014/15.

Recommendation

THAT the report be noted.

Reason for the Recommendation

To facilitate monitoring of the Council's overall internal control environment.

Background

2.         The Vale of Glamorgan Council is responsible for ensuring that its business is conducted in accordance with the law and proper standards, and that public money is safeguarded and properly accounted for and used economically, efficiently and effectively.  In discharging its overall responsibilities, the Council is also responsible for ensuring that there is a sound system of internal control which facilitates the effective exercise of its functions and which includes arrangements for the management of risk.

3.         On an annual basis and since the Financial Year 2008/09 (one year in advance of the statutory requirement), the Council has produced its Annual Governance Statement (AGS) to accompany the Annual Statement of Accounts.  The purpose of the AGS is to provide a true reflection of the governance arrangements in place at the Vale of Glamorgan Council.  Good governance ensures that as a Council we are open and transparent in our affairs and any areas which are of concern at a corporate level are highlighted in the Statement with details of how the issues will be managed.

4.         Good governance is about running things properly.  It is a means by which the Council shows it is taking decisions for the good of the people of the area, in a fair, open and equitable way.  It also requires standards of behaviour which support good decision making both collective and individual in an open and honest manner.  It is the foundation for the delivery of good quality services that meet all local people's needs and is fundamental to demonstrating that public money is well spent.

Relevant Issues and Options

 

5.         For there to be effective corporate governance across the Council, it requires active participation from Members and Officers alike.  Internal Audit has a finite resource that will be used to ensure completion of the annual risk based internal audit plan.  To gain a wider level of assurance for both the AGS and the Head of Audit's annual opinion it was proposed to Corporate Management Team that assurance is sought from Directors and their Senior Management Teams with regard to the systems within their remit.  A briefing note and questionnaire was presented to CMT on the 7th May where it was agreed that the Senior Management Assurance Statement be adopted.  The questionnaire is attached at Appendix A.

6.         In accordance with the agreed protocol and for the first time, Senior Management Assurance Statements (SMAS) were distributed to all Directors for onward distribution to their relevant Heads of Service / Operational Managers.

7.         A total of 22 statements were distributed and responses were required to cover the period April to August 2014.  A summary of the responses is shown below with an analysis of the SMAS responses included at Appendix B.

 

April to August 2014

Number of SMAS

22

Number of questions

9

Total number of answers

198

Break-down of responses

Total

Yes

Partly

No

197

1

0

Managing Director / Director of Resources Directorate

 

54

 

 

Development Services

44

1

 

Visible Services and Housing

45

 

 

Social Services

27

 

 

Learning and Skills

27

 

 

 

8.         As can be seen from the above, only 1 response indicated only partial compliance and this is summarised below.

 

No.

 

Question

No of

Partly

 

Senior

Management

Comment

7.

All audit reports received from external and internal audit are considered in a timely manner and action taken to implement agreed recommendations to enhance the internal control environment. Management actively monitor reports received to ensure all recommendations are actioned in a timely manner.

 

1

Sometimes recommendations are unachievable and responses to the audits reflect and explain why this is.

 

9.         A section of the SMAS asks for management to detail any significant governance issues.  In total, of the 22 SMAS’s returned 7 have identified governance issues and these are set out in Appendix C.

10.      It should be noted that three of the significant issues identified in Appendix C have already been reflected in the 2013/14 Annual Governance Statement; these being reduced funding from Welsh Government; Building Services and the monitoring of Leisure Management Contract.   In addition, of the remaining 4 issues identified; they had already been pinpointed as having a potential impact on the AGS and therefore assurance can be placed on the value of implementing this SMAS process.  

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

11.      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

12.      None directly.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

13.      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

14.      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)

15.      None as a direct consequence of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

16.      The work of audit is intended to assist in the achievement of all corporate and service objectives.

Policy Framework and Budget

17.      The proposals in this report are in accordance with the policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

18.      No further consultation is proposed.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

19.      Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Helen Smith - Operational Manager - Audit Tel: 01656 754901

Officers Consulted

External Audit Manager - Grant Thornton UK LLP

Responsible Officer:

Alan Jenkins - Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer

 

 

 

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