Agenda item

Annual Audit & Counter Fraud Report 2017-18


Members of the Committee were informed of the Audit & Counter Fraud work completed during 2017-18 and presented with the opinion of the Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Service, as Chief Audit Executive, on the council’s internal control environment.


It is an annual report for Audit & Counter Fraud for the period 2017-18 and Section 2 of the report on page 14 outlines the opinion of the Chief Audi Executive and the work undertaken. The overall opinion for the year is that:


Gravesham Borough Council’s framework of governance, risk management and system of internal control is adequate and effective, and contributes to the proper, economic, efficient and effective use of resources in achieving the council’s objectives’.

The Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services directed Members attention to section 4 on page 15 which outlines the resources used throughout the year. The original Audit & Counter Fraud plan for Gravesham was prepared with a resource budget of 622 days but in actuality it amounted to 562 days with 484 days spent on productive audit and counter fraud work.


However, it should be noted that there were two officer’s posts absent throughout the year and two officers on long term sick leave with one temp hired on to help over the period. Due to those factors impeding the amount of work that could be undertaken, the target of 95% of the audit plan being delivered was not met. However, the team still delivered 91% which is a very good performance when all of the absences are taken into account for the year 2017-18. 


The tables shown on pages 17-20 of the report highlight the internal audit assurance work from 2016-17 that was completed during 2017-18 and the tables from page 20 onwards detail the outcomes/progress of 2017-18 work. All items in italics identify the work that was detailed in previous update reports. An update on the current position of the planned work for 2018-19 is listed on page 49 of the report.


Following Members questions and comments, the Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services explained that:


  • The Audit & Counter team have no responsibility for anything relating to Universal Credit; all of that work including benefits is now under the remit of the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP). However, the Council do still complete the work in relation to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme
  • Management Team are reported to on a quarterly basis in relation to recommendation follow up, which details the number implemented and those outstanding. Most of the recommendations shown as outstanding would normally be dealt with in the next reporting period. If there was an on-going significant issue it would be the responsibility of the Head of Audit & Counter Fraud to bring it to the Committee for Members’ attention. Referring to the storing of documents for Taxi Licensing (page 42) – It was explained that particular recommendation actually refers to the documentation not being retained rather than it not being stored in line with GDPR guidelines, the paperwork was verified but it needed to be retained as an improvement.
  • In relation to a query over the opinions (Red, Amber, Green) not matching the number of recommendations still outstanding, the Head of Audit & Counter Fraud explained that the opinion shown was the result of the original audit, which will not change. The reports will confirm whether the recommendations have been implemented or not.
  • All recommendations do have a planned implementation date at which point the responsible officers are contacted for confirmation that it has been implemented and evidence sought where necessary. Any recommendation due this quarter will be picked up at the end of June


Following concern over the way the recommendations and opinions are shown in the report, the Assistant Director (Corporate Services) advised that those issues would be reviewed outside of the meeting.


Resolved that Members endorsed:


  • the work undertaken by the Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Service for Gravesham during 2017-18 in providing an effective service to the council
  • the opinion on the council’s internal control environment provided by the Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Service


Supporting documents: