Meeting documents

Audit Committee
Wednesday 27th March 2019

Chairman: Councillor Glover
Venue: Church Square House, Scunthorpe
Time: 10:00 am
E-Mail Address:



  1. Substitutions (if any)
  2. Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Personal or Personal and Prejudicial Interests (if any).
  3. To take the minutes of the meeting held on 23 January 2019 as a correct record and authorise the chairman to sign.
  4. Audit Strategy Memorandum - To receive a report from the council's external auditors Mazars
  5. Internal Audit Plan 2019-20
  6. Annual Fraud Report
  7. Self Assessment of the Role of the Audit Committee - To receive a presentation from the Director: Governance and Partnerships
  8. Any other items which the chairman decides are urgent by reasons of special circumstances which must be specified.

Note: Reports are by the Director: Governance and Partnerships unless otherwise stated.


PRESENT: – Councillor Glover in the chair

Councillors T Foster (Vice-Chairman), Clark, Gosling, Kirk, Perry and K Vickers.

The committee met at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.

534 DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY, PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS - There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary, personal or personal and prejudicial interests.

535 MINUTES - Resolved - That the minutes of the proceedings of this committee held on 23 January 2019, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and signed by the Chairman.

536 (19) AUDIT STRATEGY MEMORANDUM - The Chairman invited representatives from the council's external auditors, Mazars, to introduce their Audit Strategy Memorandum for North Lincolnshire Council for the year ending 31 March 2019.

Mazars informed the committee that the purpose of the document was to summarise their audit approach, highlight significant audit risks and areas of key judgements and provide the committee with the details of Mazars audit team. Members heard that as it was a fundamental requirement that an auditor was, and was seen to be, independent of its clients, Section 7 of the document also summarised the external auditors considerations and conclusions on their independence as auditors.

The document highlighted forthcoming accounting matters and other issues that may be of interest to the committee.

Members commented on particular aspects of the report to which the representatives of Mazars and the Director: Governance and Partnerships responded to.

Resolved -That the External Audit Strategy Memorandum be received and noted.

537 (20) Internal Audit Plan 2019-20 - The Director: Governance and Partnerships submitted the council's Internal Audit Plan for 2019-20.

The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 required the council to ensure there were sound systems of internal control and to undertake effective internal audit to evaluate the effectiveness of its risk management, control and governance processes. Internal audit must take into account Public Sector Internal Auditing Standards (PSIAS) and guidance.

The PSIAS required that an Internal Audit Plan was agreed by the Audit Committee annually. The audit plan must be risk-based and take into account the organisation's risk management framework and reflect changes in the organisation's business, risks, operations, programmes, systems and controls. The plan also confirmed the resources available and required to support a reliable year-end Audit opinion.

The Audit Charter, approved by the Audit Committee in January 2019 defined the internal audit activity's purpose, authority and responsibility and defined the scope of internal audit activities. The audit plan was included at Appendix 1 of the report, and was prepared by the Head of Audit and Assurance. It provided Members with an outline of the Audit Plan, a commentary on the methodology for compiling the plan, and assurance on compliance with auditing standards.

The Director and council officers responded to members' questions on aspects of the report.

Resolved - (a) That the Internal Audit Plan for 2019-20 provided the committee with a sufficient level of assurance to fulfil its role, and (b) that the Internal Audit Plan for 2019-20 be approved.

538 (21) ANNUAL FRAUD REPORT - The Director: Governance and Partnerships submitted the council's Annual Fraud Report for 2018-19. The aim of the report was to demonstrate to the general public, councillors, employees and partners the progress that the council had made during the year to develop an anti-fraud culture.

The council's framework to combat fraud, corruption and misappropriation was approved by this committee in January 2016. The framework followed national guidance as laid out in the document 'Fighting Fraud Locally', and was based upon three key principles:

  • Acknowledging and understanding fraud risks
  • Preventing and detecting fraud
  • Pursue – Being stronger in punishing fraud and recovering losses

The annual report was attached to the report as an appendix. It highlighted the work which had been carried out by the council in each of these areas, and demonstrated the council's continuing commitment to minimise the risk of fraud.

The Director and council officers responded to members' questions on aspects of the report.

Resolved - (a) That the Annual Fraud Report provided the committee with a sufficient level of assurance on the adequacy of counter fraud arrangements, and (b) that the Director: Governance and Partnerships publicise and promote the Annual Fraud Report to demonstrate that fraud prevention was considered a very serious matter and the council would exhaust every avenue of enquiry to trace and prosecute offenders.

539 Self Assessment of the Role of the Audit Committee - The Director: Governance and Partnerships informed the committee that it was good practice for the Audit Committee to carry out an annual self-assessment. In 2018, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) issued a position statement on its views on effective Audit Committees. CIPFA also produced a document titled 'Audit Committees – Practical Guidance for Local Authorities'. Appendix 4 of the document included a self-assessment.

The Head of Audit and Assurance had completed part of the self-assessment. However, some of the questions were based on Member's views and perceptions and so required their input and discussion.

The Head of Service guided Members through the self-assessment.

Resolved - That members observations as part of the self-assessment be included in the Audit Committee Annual Report.