Agenda item

To consider the attached report.


Contact Officer:


The Committee received a report on the draft Business Assurance Strategy and the draft Internal Audit Plan, which also provided the context behind the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  It was explained to Members that at this stage they were only being asked to approve a small element of the draft 2020/21 Internal Audit Plan, i.e. proposed Q2 audits, to enable assurance activity to commence in June 2020.


The original Internal Audit Plan for 2020/21 (Appendix B) had been prepared in consultation with the Section 151 Officers and internal audit and risk leads from the legacy Councils, as well as from discussions with the Corporate and Service Directors for Buckinghamshire Council.  The plan had been considered by the Chief Executive’s Implementation Group (CIG) and agreed in principle whilst recognizing that it needed to be fluid and adaptable to react to the changing risk landscape and emerging issues.


Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the council, and following wider consultation on what internal audit needed to be achieved in 2020/21, it was now being proposed that a proportionate approach to internal audit must be taken to allow council staff and Members to focus on recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and council priorities.


A number of officers from the Business Assurance Team had been redeployed to support the council’s response to Covid-19, as the continuation of business as usual within this team had not been a high priority.  The majority of audit and assurance activity had been put on hold, the exception being on risk management activity to support the Covid-19 response and the work within the Counter Fraud team which had focused primarily on the Business Rate Grants process.


As a result, the Head of Business Assurance (and chief auditor) had started the challenging task of liaising with the Corporate and Service Directors to decide which areas of audit activity should not be carried out this year, whilst also being able to provide adequate assurance over key risk areas and provide an opinion at the end of the year.  This task was further complicated by the increased risk faced through the unitary transition.


The review of the draft Internal Audit Plan would take place during June 2020 and a revised plan would be submitted to the Committee in July 2020 for approval.


Members considered the draft Internal Audit Plan which included a list of a number of audits which it was recommended needed to proceed.  The audit team was in the process of liaising with the relevant Service Directors to commence the planning process for the reviews.  Members sought additional information and were informed:


(i)                 That Officers were speaking to Corporate and Service Directors about school transport as this was recognized as a high risk area.


(ii)               That Officers from the legacy councils had successfully TUPE transferred to the new Council on 1 April 2020.  Service reviews of a number of areas had now been timetabled to commence from July 2020.  The audit team would be providing assurance to the service improvement activities over the next 18 months.




(1)               That the Business Assurance Strategy for 2020/21 be noted.


(2)               That the proposed Q2 audits from the Internal Audit Plan for 2020/21 be approved.

Supporting documents: