Agenda item

Internal Audit Progress Report


The Head of Worcestershire Internal Audit Shared Service presented the Internal Audit Progress Report for Members’ consideration.  Several internal audits had identified limited assurance, which was quite unusual, and one for St David’s House had found there to be no assurance.  Due to the number of audits that had found low or no assurance, greater detail had been included in the report in respect of these audits for Members’ consideration.


Action had already been taken to address many of the problems identified in internal audits where there had been limited or no assurance.  The audit in respect of the Benefits Service had identified concerns which had resulted in direct intervention from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) but subsequently the service had improved.  Risk management had been another area where limited assurance had been identified and the Council had since invited Zurich Insurance to undertake investigative work.  The issues identified in the internal audit of health and safety had occurred during a transition period prior to the Council’s Health and Safety Officer commencing employment with the authority and a lot of progress had been made since then to address those problems.  At St David’s House a substantial Action Plan had been developed and progress had been made.


In all cases where limited or no assurance had been identified the Internal Audit team would continue to monitor progress until all issues had been resolved.  The Audit, Governance and Standards Committee would receive updates on any areas of concern.  The Head of the Worcestershire Internal Audit Shared Service had also worked with the Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Resources to ensure that there was better escalation in terms of addressing issues that were not believed to be progressing as well as necessary.  Members were also asked to note that all Internal Audit reviews that identified limited or no assurance were being reported to both the Corporate Management Team (CMT) and the Senior Management Team (SMT).


Members discussed the content of the report and concerns were raised that a number of Internal Audit reports had identified limited or no assurance.  To assess the progress in respect of these areas Members agreed to invite representatives of St David’s House, the Health and Safety Officer and representatives of the Benefits Service to attend future meetings of the Committee to provide an update on the action that had been taken to address the problems that had been identified by Internal Audit.


The Committee also discussed the intervention of the DWP in the Benefits Service and the reasons why this intervention had been required.  Officers explained that the Benefits team had been restructured resulting in a number of experienced staff securing positions in the Financial Inclusion Team (FIT).  The remaining staff in the Benefits team had not had the same level of experience but were still expected to handle complex cases.  At this time there had been a number of officers on long term sick and resources in the team were stretched.  In this context delays had occurred in the processing times.  Since that time a number of changes had been made and the processing times had fallen to a comparable level to the national average.  A further review of the service structure would be taking place towards the end of the year.




1)        Officers be invited to attend future meetings of the Committee to provide updates on the action being taken to address the problems identified in the Internal Audits of St David’s House, the Benefits Service and Health and Safety; and


2)        the report be noted.



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