Quarterly Internal Audit Update Report
Simon Webb from East Kent Audit Partnership
introduced the report, making the following key points:
- This had been a busy quarter, with
10 reviews taking place.
- Substantial assurance had been
reported in 2 significant areas, council tax and the payment of
- Reasonable assurance was concluded
for playgrounds and creditors.
- Limited assurance was given in two
areas, equality & diversity and right to buy.
- There was no assurance concluded in
the area of street cleansing.
- 3 further reviews were undertaken
where an assurance opinion wasn’t applicable. These
- GDPR and the impact of home working
- A position statement on the
Council's controls to tackle climate change.
- Quarterly housing benefit testing
- There were also four follow ups
undertaken in this report.
- Progress against the Internal audit
plan shows that it was behind schedule at 31 Dec 2021, but had
moved ahead of the target at 28 Feb 2022.
- The limited areas which are yet to
be followed up would be shared with the committee in the coming
Members raised questions and the following
points were made:
- All playgrounds in the district are
subject to regular inspections by qualified council staff and also
an external inspection annually. In general the reports from these
inspections are available, but are not routinely published.
- There was one exception, which was
that the report on the Ethelbert crescent viking ship playground in Cliftonville had been
made available on the TDC website.
- Information on expired certificates
would be given in writing to the Chair.
- Staff qualified to undertake
inspections had been given the training to do so by TDC, while in
- Historically some playgrounds have
been transferred to parish or town councils, but there were none
planned to be at this time.
- It was commented that the street
cleansing audit didn’t reflect the hard work undertaken
across broader areas of service delivery, but focussed primarily on
- Thanks was noted for the
Council’s work on fly tipping.
- It was noted that the audit looked
for key controls in setting standards, delivering, measuring and
reporting on performance, rather than operational service
delivery. These controls were missing. However, are in the
agreed action plan which would be implemented going forward.
- There were also some technological
improvements to the service and service monitoring that were
already well underway and would be implemented shortly.
- Madeline Homer, Chief executive,
added that she felt that the process was reassuring and although
issues had been rightly raised around controls, the complexity of
the service and resourcing issues needed to be taken into account
- TDC Service Standards, setting the
level of cleanliness against the Code of Practice, had not yet been
published. Doing so was part of the action plan, with a target date
prior to September.
- The support of residents was noted
as a requirement for the future.
- Of 68,000 properties there were
10,000 without the usual bin collection set-up. Ensuring that the
waste for these properties was dealt with appropriately involved a
combination of enforcement and education.
- Work had also been carried out with
the housing team to support this and the selective licences
remaining in the Cliftonville area also required the landlord to
maintain reasonable arrangements for the storage of refuse; another
avenue for enforcement action.
- The budget had been considered when
deciding whether to charge for bins.
- Figures on fly tipping in the
district sat within a different service area but would be
available. Improvements to means of enforcement in this area had
also been made and had positively impacted Council resources.
- The follow-up on the street
cleansing audit would take place later in the year, once actions
had been implemented. The Progress Report would be presented to the
committee at the appropriate meeting.
- Questions were raised regarding the
value for money in the investment in mechanical sweepers and it was
noted that the abrasive nature of coastal work had meant that the
smaller vehicles were not suitable. The Council were looking into
larger vehicles and new technologies to combat this issue, but were
also faced with the challenge of getting the support of an older
workforce for these changes.
- Working with the community and
partners on targeted impact had been very well received and the
successes could have been communicated better.
- Equality and diversity training was
being looked at with the HR team to encourage uptake and would be
delivered as an in-person course.
- TDC would also consider the
suitability of e-learning going forward, in light of the flexible
- Bob Porter, Director of Housing and
Planning, would look at the figures in the right to buy table in
the report, and confirm their explanation with members.
Cllr Kup proposed, Cllr Dexter seconded and members received the
report and AGREED that any changes to the agreed 2021-22 internal
audit plan, resulting from changes in perceived risk, detailed at
point 5.0 of Annex 1 of the attached report be approved.