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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Audit Committee 16th November 2015

 

Report of the Head of Finance / Section 151 Officer

 

Audit Committee - Annual Report on Schools 2014/15

Purpose of the Report

  1. To present to Members a copy of the report issued to the Director of Learning and Skills, summarising the findings made by Internal Audit in relation to the school based audits conducted in the 2014/15 audit year.

Recommendation

THAT Members note the content of the report attached as Appendix A;

Reason for the Recommendation

To keep the Audit Committee informed.

Background

  1. On an annual basis, the Internal Audit Section visits a proportion of the Authority's Primary, Secondary and Special Schools in order to carry out a pre-determined programme of work, with a view to giving the school, their Governing Body and the Authority assurance that controls are operating effectively. The visits are determined by a risk assessment which considers if schools have had previous limited or no assurance in controlling risks, schools with recent changes in key personnel such as Head Teachers or Clerks or any other concerns brought to Internal Audit's attention. If schools are not visited during the year they are issued with a control risk self-assessment questionnaire (CRSA) which enables the Head Teacher to review the controls and ensure they comply with the requirements of the Financial Scheme for Schools. The CRSA also provides a tool for Internal Audit to evaluate the controls that are in place at the school.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. In 2014/15 over £85 million was delegated to the Authority's Secondary, Primary and Special Schools.
  2. During 2014/15 a total of 18 audit visits were conducted, 14 were planned visits, one was a follow up where the previous visit identified control weaknesses and the remaining three visits were unplanned and made at the request of the Head Teacher or Director. The report presented in Appendix A provides Members with details of the key findings made during these audit visits.
  3. In summary 14 of the schools visited were graded as providing substantial or reasonable assurance (77%) whilst one was graded as limited assurance. The three unplanned visits were not assigned audit opinions as they were in response to audit advice being requested on specific matters.
  4. Any recommendations made relating to Internal Audit's findings will have been presented in a report directly to the school and Governing Body concerned.
  5. In order to ensure that audit days available are used in the most effective way, changes will be made to the school audit programme for 2015/16 which will allow for more in depth coverage of high risk areas. Therefore a CRSA will be issued to all schools annually which will enable schools to self-evaluate the controls they have in place to mitigate risk. The completed CRSA will be evaluated by Internal Audit and any issues will be addressed with the school. In addition a Head Teacher Assurance Statement will be required which will provide assurance that the Head Teacher is ensuring that the school has sufficient internal controls. A similar statement will also be sent to the Chair of Governors. The planned audit days for schools will then be used to undertake reviews of particular areas across schools such as safeguarding or procurement, or it will allow more in depth reviews at individual schools based on a robust risk assessment which takes into account senior management requirements.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. None as a direct consequence of this report.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None directly from this report

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. Provision of an adequate and effective Internal Audit function is a legal requirement under the Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2005 (as amended). The PSIAS replace the Code of Practice for Internal Audit in Local Government in the United Kingdom, last revised in 2006. In local government in Wales, the PSIAS is mandatory for all principal local authorities and other relevant bodies subject to the Accounts and Audit (Wales) (Amended) Regulations 2010.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. 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)

  1. None as a direct consequence of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

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

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. No further consultation is proposed.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

16. Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Helen Smith - Operational Manager - Audit Tel: 01656 754901

Officers Consulted

External Auditor - Wales Audit Office

Responsible Officer:

Carys Lord - Head of Finance/Section 151 Officer

 

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