In common with local government as a whole and many other public bodies, we are required to maintain an internal audit function.
Internal audit - Added Value
"Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organisation's operations." - Institute of Internal Auditors
In common with local government as a whole and many other public bodies, we are required to maintain an internal audit function. The requirement is set out in the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2003 which specify that: "A relevant body shall maintain an adequate and effective system of internal audit of its accounting records and of its internal control..."
Internal audit is an independent function who report to the audit and governance committee and managers on the findings from their annual reviews over the key operations and services of the council.
Internal Audit provides a service to management by reviewing the organisation's financial and non-financial systems and procedures to assess how well they are controlled. They provide assurance that key risks are managed effectively and that no losses or fraud have occurred. Also they look to add value through providing recommendations to improve performance and efficiency.
Internal audit - South West Audit Partnership
Internal audit is provided under a service agreement with the South West Audit Partnership (SWAP) which was established in April 2005 under Section 101 of the Local Government Act 1972. SWAP is now a not-for-profit organisation that offers a variety of independent business improvement and assurance services designed to help all public sector entities achieve their goals. Its main purpose is to examine and evaluate the activities of the council with the objective of assisting the organisation in the effective discharge of its duties. It also aims to assure Elected Members that the council's financial affairs are kept under review.
SWAP has a protocol in place with the council's External Auditor to ensure that resources are effectively utilised and duplication of effort is minimised. The External Auditor relies on the work of SWAP to provide assurance that systems are operating as intended and in the production of the annual Management Letter. This serves to reduce the time that would otherwise be charged to the authority by the External Auditor.
SWAP can provide the following services using their SWAP: Assure, Improve and Protect approach:
- Internal Audit Services
- Counter Fraud Investigations
- Specialist Auditing
- Internal Audit Training
- Consultancy Advice
- Quality Assessment Services
- Organisational Health Check
For Mendip, change management and business continuity have become priorities as the challenge increases to deliver services with very limited resources and reduced funding from Central government. New initiatives to fill the funding gap can mean greater risks but to ensure those increasing risks are being properly managed and that they are they fully understood. SWAP assistance will be sought, utilising their Healthy Organisation audit to evaluate Mendip's well-being and highlight those areas that require priority attention.
Each year an Audit Schedule of approximately 357 days is agreed the S151 officer and the Audit Committee covering priorities under: Key Control Audits, Governance Fraud and Corruption, ICT audits and Operational and follow up audits.
Links are provided below to Finance, Statement of Accounts and Audit Committee information:
SWAP has internal audit teams across many councils in the South West and contact details are available through their website.
Ian Baker CMIIA, QIAL, CIA, FMS
Director of Quality
South West Audit Partnership Ltd
Abbey Manor Business Centre,