To receive a report of the Chief Internal Auditor updating the Committee on the progress of internal audit work.
The Committee received a report of the Chief Internal Auditor on the HFRA Internal Audit Progress Report 2020/21 (Item 7 in the Minute Book).
The report was introduced and it was explained that there were two parts to the report, which detailed the progress with delivering the internal audit plan and the external quality assessment. Members heard that there had been delays to starting the internal audit work due to the impact of Covid and remote working of staff. It was explained that there have been regular meetings to review the internal audit plan and ensure this continued to be relevant. Members noted that the majority of the work will take place in quarter three and quarter four. A review of risk assessments around Covid had taken place, and this had resulted in substantial assurance.
The variations to plan were outlined on page nine of the report, and the focus for the remainder of the financial year is to ensure sufficient work to enable an annual internal audit opinion to be provided subject to staff remaining fit and well during the second wave of Covid, and HFRS remaining able to accommodate the reviews. However, CIPFA have published guidance should limitations arise. It was also noted that work around Shared Services was continuing.
In response to a Member query, it was heard that the team remained fit and well and were working remotely and progressing well with work. The team had adapted well to changes and the new way of working.
In response to a Member query around any possible slippage of areas of work into other Quarters, it was noted that there were regular monthly meetings around the timing of reviews, as well as early discussions around the planning for next year. Regular communication with officers and Members would take place, should the position change.
It was heard that the Internal Audit Team had recently been audited, and an external assessment had been undertaken. The Institute of Internal Auditors had undertaken this and assessed against audit standards, and this was also a good opportunity to benchmark against best practice across the public and private sector. It was reported that Internal Audit were found to be fully conformant against all the requirements, and it was heard that some suggestions had been given for the team to develop further which had been discussed with the Partnership Boards and an action plan had been developed in relation to these. Members of the Committee and the Chairman of the Authority thanked the Internal Audit team for all their hard work and congratulated them on achieving this result.
a) That the progress in delivering the internal audit plan for 2020/21 and the outcomes to date be noted by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority Standards and Governance Committee.
b) That the outcomes of the External Quality Assessment of SIAP, and the assurance that provides over the quality of internal audit work be noted and also congratulated on achieving such a high standard, by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority Standards and Governance Committee