The Council’s Audit Committee met on Thursday 27 July for its first meeting of the municipal year.
Chaired by Councillor Richard Clein, items under discussion included the Council’s Internal Audit Plan and the Committee’s Draft Work Programme for 2023/24.
The meeting opened with the committee being asked to approve the minutes from the previous meeting, which took place on 15th March 2023. Councillor Nick Crofts was elected as the Committee’s deputy chair for this year.
The first item under discussion was the Quarterly Risk Management Update. The Council’s Director of Audit, Louise Booth, gave an update to the committee regarding this report. The committee raised a number of queries under this item regarding the severity of the risks being measured, the planned timescales to achieve the desired improvements as described in the report, and the risk and effect on the Council of potential cyber attacks. The committee also raised the recent OFSTED report, and how the subsequent Improvement Plan will mitigate some of the risks linked to the failures described in that inspection. The committee agreed to note this risk management update and receive assurance on mitigations in place to manage the Council’s most significantrisks.
The committee then received updates from finance officers on the Annual Treasury Report and the Statement of Accounts 2022/23: Accounting Policies and Update. These reports were noted by the Committee without further discussion.
The following item for discussion was the Internal Audit Annual Report and Opinion 2022/23. Melanie Dexter, Lead Audit Manager, provided an update on this plan to the committee. Following a short discussion, the committee approved the report.
The committee then received an update from external auditors Grant Thornton. The committee raised concerns that Grant Thornton has yet to sign-off on the Council’s account for the past three years. It was explained that delays relating to external, independent investigations, including those into arrested former elected officials and officers, contributed to the auditor’s inability to sign-off these account. The committee agreed to note this report.
Finally, the committee received and endorsed the 2022/23 Chair’s Annual Report be submitted to Full Council, andapproved the Draft Work Programme 2023/24. The chair brought the meeting to a close, and the committee will next meet on 27th September.