Agenda item

Audit & Counter Fraud Update

Minutes:

Members were provided with an update on the work, outputs and performance of the Audit &

Counter Fraud Team for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 July 2018.

 

The Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services stated that the report at Appendix 2 is the first of three updates to be produced during 2018-19; detailing the work undertaken by the Audit & Counter Fraud Team between 01 April and 31 July and the progress made against the annual work plan.

 

The Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services reported that all of the remaining audits from 2017-18 have now been finalised and the team is making good progress with the current year work plan. Due to sickness, a vacancy and the flexible retirement of one employee that was unknown at the time the original budget was calculated, 67 days have been lost from the original projection of 660 days. A new officer will be start at the beginning of October and she will be able to hit the ground running as she has worked with the Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Service before.

 

The Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services outlined the current position to some of the performance figures in Section 5 of the report:

A&CF10 – proportion of time spent on assurance & consultancy work 59%

 

A&CF11 – proportion of time spent on counter fraud work 41% 

 

A&CF12 – 20% of work plan completed and 16% Underway

 

A&CF17 – 61% Proportion of recommended actions implemented by agreed date

 

As per section 6 of the report there are no plans to request changes to the agreed work plan at this time. The resource situation is being monitored continually to see if the lost time can be recovered through other means, Revisions to the plan may become necessary but in that event, Members will be provided with a full explanation and approval sought..

 

Lastly, section 7 on page 109 of the report details the status of the recommendation follow up and in response to a request from the Committee in June, there is now more detail in relation to the recommendations still outstanding. In addition there is a second table on page 117 that details recommendations that are still outstanding more than six months after their scheduled implementation date. The relevant services have provided written responses but Officers are also in attendance to answer any questions Members may have.

 

The Director (Housing) and the Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services fielded questions from Members: 

 

  • With regard to the petty cash management on page 96/97 the incident was very isolated and picked up almost immediately; following the review the procedures have been tightened up greatly and it shouldn’t be repeated

 

  • Arrangements should be put in place to monitor conditions made when determining planning applications – The planned implementation date was 31 July 2014; the actual action was agreed by a former officer who then left the Council and more recently the focus has been more on addressing the applications themselves. 

Historically, GBC had their own Building Control Team that they would use to check but STG are currently being contacted to see if they can provide assistance on the matter. Unfortunately it was not given sufficient attention but now it will be dealt with as a high priority and officers are working to a new deadline date of 31 December 2018

 

  • Planning conditions need to be reasonable and enforceable and monitored to ensure compliance.  The monitoring and actual enforcement are different issues. If a condition is breached then enforcement action can be taken, but the conditions are needed as generally make an otherwise unacceptable application supportable; the Council’s use of conditions are therefore required and valid. The Director (Housing) added that the standards conditions are being reviewed alongside Medway

 

  • GBC are looking into the condition process and are trying to steer away from the use of pre-commencement conditions however often information is first required from the developers to accomplish that

 

Resolved that Members noted the outputs and performance of the Audit & Counter Fraud Plan for Gravesham for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 July 2018 as detailed at Appendix two.

 

Supporting documents: