Agenda item

Annual review of the Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Service

To provide Members of the Performance & Administration Committee with a copy of the annual review that has been conducted in respect of the Audit & Counter Fraud shared service with Medway Council.


The Committee was provided with a copy of the annual review that has been conducted in respect of the Audit & Counter Fraud shared service with Medway Council.


The Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Service outlined that since December 2015, the Council has had in place a shared service with Medway Council for the delivery of the Audit & Counter Fraud service. There were some challenges to the Service during the financial year that were reflected in the review, one of them being that two officers were on long term sick leave separately for six months each. Each officer is now back from leave and working full time within the service.


The Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Service stated that the internal audit service was delivered with 91% plan completion (as at 31 March) for both authorities. While the Service fell short of its 95% target, the performance is still considered very good given the long term sickness of two officers and staff turnover that left an officer and manager posts vacant for half the year..


An external Quality Assessment was completed by Gateway Assure in year and concluded that the service was performing in line with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS). Benchmarking provided showed that in relation to the three categories of measurement, the service was performing above the average for local government. While the assessment produced a positive outcome, there were some recommendations for improvement. An action plan was prepared to deal with the recommendations and this was endorsed by both the Finance & Audit Committee and the Audit Committee at Medway in June 2018. 


The Head of Audi & Counter Fraud Shared Service added that:


  • Two officers completed professional qualifications during the year. One officer completed exams to qualify as a Chartered Internal Auditor and the other one passed their Level 4 AAT
  • After being appointed as the Head of Service, James Larkin’s old manager post was deleted as part of a restructure and a third team leader position was created.
  • The Team Leader posts were regraded from Range 5 to Range 6 (under Medpay Scheme) to address concerns raised in previous years review and to take account of delegated responsibilities added by the deletion of the Manager post.
  • An intelligence analyst officer post was also created; that role will provide further resources for a more pro-active approach to identifying fraud and in turn will hopefully lead to an increase in the value of savings identified
  • The 2017 review had highlighted some pay disparity between the Audit & Counter Fraud Officers, which had been created by four separate job roles being moved into one new one. While all officers were on the same pay range, their level of pay within that range differed considerably due to their previous roles and with no incremental rises, would not catch up with colleagues. The lowest paid officers were increased to a minimum level to be comparable with colleagues.
  • All of the changes were achieved within the existing budget and the overall costs of the service were under budget for 2017-18.
  • One officer has taken flexible retirement from 01 September 2019; the reduction in hours and additional hours left by other part time officer means that there is one FTE post available. It is intended that recruitment will take place in early 2019 with a view to the officer being in post for 01 April 2019.
  • The salary savings created by vacancies in 2018-19 will be used to fund an upgrade of the IT equipment to bring it into line with modern standards and create efficiencies within the service.


The Chair commended the team for the work that had been carried out throughout the year and thanked the Head of Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services for the informative update.


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