Report by Chief Operating Officer
19.1 The Cabinet considered a report by the Chief Operating Officer.
19.2 It was RESOLVED to note the internal audit’s services opinion on the Council’s control environment.
19.3 The Head of Assurance can provide reasonable assurance that East Sussex County council has in place an adequate and effective framework of governance, risk management and internal control for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016.
Report by the Chief Operating Officer
8.1 The Committee considered a report by the Chief Operating Officer which provided an opinion on the County Council’s control environment for 2015/16, and the major findings from audit reviews completed during quarter 4. The Head of Assurance confirmed that he was able to provide reasonable assurance that East Sussex County Council has in place an adequate and effective framework of governance, risk management and internal control.
8.2 The Head of Assurance clarified the position in respect of those audit reviews that had been rated as minimal assurance. The ESCC Microsites review had only been recently completed and is scheduled for a follow up review taking into account input from the Information Strategy Board. The Public Health Local Service Agreements review is now rated as substantial assurance at the conclusion of the follow up review. The Head of Assurance also confirmed that the Personnel Support Unit had been instructed as to the need to obtain and retain evidence regarding increased senior leadership salaries in schools.
8.3 The Committee discussed the schools audit programme and the lack of full assurances. The Head of Assurance set out the background to the programme and the training of schools’ senior leaders, and that further reviews will be undertaken to gauge the effectiveness of the training. The Committee suggested that the Dioceses could be engaged more effectively, especially if concerns remained after a follow up review.
8.4 The Chief Information Officer explained the complexity of the issue of Staff Transfers and Leavers which was subject to an opinion of partial assurance. He set out the responses to the audit recommendations, including a weekly scan of access to the Council’s systems, and a suspended account area, into which accounts are moved after 30 days of non-activity. The recruiting manager is then contacted regarding how to proceed.
8.5 Managers were identified as key to the process, in terms of providing accurate and timely information on staff movements, either within the organisation when access to information previously available is no longer appropriate, or on leaving. The Chief Information Officer also set out that as much of the process as possible was automated through HR.
8.6 RESOLVED to (1) note the internal audit service’s opinion on the Council’s control environment;
(2) confirm that there are no significant control issues that should be included in the Council’s annual governance statement for 2015/16; and
(3) agree that the Council’s system for internal audit has proved effective during 2015/16.