Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  

 

Internal Audit Reports Demonstrating Diligent Work Within The Council Praised By Audit And Scrutiny Members

24th September 2021

Members of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee (which took place yesterday, Thursday 23 September) were presented with a report outlining the areas of work which have been undertaken by Highland Council's Internal Audit section since the Committee’s previous meeting during June 2021.

Of the five audit reports considered, three were given the audit opinions of significant assurance or full assurance.

Internal Audit of Fleet Management Arrangements

Within the Communities & Place Directorate, the Council’s Fleet Management Arrangements were examined. These included ensuring the Council complies with the requirements of its Goods Vehicles Operator Licence for its fleet of 224 Large Goods Vehicles, and in particular the provision of policies covering the Council's vehicle operator centres, vehicle maintenance and driver behaviour. The audit concluded that there are thorough procedures in place to support compliance with the Council’s obligations in respect of the Operator’s licence and the gave the opinion of significant assurance.

Internal Audit of Financial Management and Reporting

Alongside this, the audit of Financial Management and Reporting (which sits within the remit of the Resources and Finance Service) was also determined to have achieved significant assurance.

This particular audit assessed the effectiveness of the Council’s financial management and reporting arrangements. The audit objectives were to ensure that:

budget monitoring is effective in terms of its quality, accuracy and completeness; and
savings monitoring is effective in terms of its quality, accuracy and completeness.
The review considered the budget and savings monitoring arrangements for the Council’s 2020/21 Revenue Budget and compared the Council’s committee reporting with other Scottish local authorities.

It was concluded that the Council has effective arrangements for the management and reporting of its revenue budget and it was acknowledged that the Council will need to use such arrangements effectively to deliver the savings proposals outlined in the Health and Prosperity Strategy for 2021/22.



Internal Audit of Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates discounts and exemptions

Finally, the work undertaken by Internal Audit on Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates discounts and exemptions concluded by stating that this area of work had achieved full assurance.

There are a number of Council Tax (CT) and Non Domestic Rates (NDR) discounts and exemptions available to individuals, properties and businesses. Responsibility for administering them sits with the Operations Team for Council Tax and with the Non-Domestic Rates Team for NDR.

The audit examined the key controls in place around the processing of Council Tax and NDR discounts and exemptions to ensure that appropriate checks are carried out in order to confirm eligibility. It also undertook to ensure that discounts and exemptions are regularly reviewed in order to ensure ongoing eligibility.

The outcome of the audit found well established systems and processes in place which ensure that CT and NDR discounts and exemptions are appropriately awarded, and eligibility is checked on an ongoing basis. It also reported that systems have continued to work well despite the additional pressures faced as a result of COVID-19.

All of the changes to Council Tax discounts and exemptions introduced by the Scottish Government as a result of COVID-19 had been identified by Highland Council and implemented accordingly. Additional measures were also taken such as delayed annual NDR billing for 2020/21 and the recovery of CT arrears was paused until July 2020.

Councillor Graham MacKenzie, Chair of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee, said: "I am heartened to see the positive outcomes reported for the majority of the Internal Audit reviews undertaken over the last quarter. A particular highlight is the outcome of the Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates discounts and exemptions analysis which achieved full assurance. My colleagues and I on the Committee are well aware of the hard work required in order achieve such a status and it is testament to the diligent work being undertaken in this area of the organisation."

Full Assurance is defined as having a sound system of control designed to achieve the system objectives and the controls are being consistently applied.

Substantial Assurance highlights that while there is a generally a sound system, there are minor areas of weakness which put some of the system objectives at risk, and/or there is evidence that the level

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

25/10/2021
Council Workers Across Scotland Set To Strike Over PayThumbnail for article : Council Workers Across Scotland Set To Strike Over Pay
Local government unions have today issued notices of industrial action to local authorities across Scotland in a dispute over pay for council workers.   The Joint Trade Unions have between them mandates to take action in half of Scotland's local authority areas.  
20/10/2021
Highland Council to set out plans for Green Hub
Ahead of the Highland Climate Change Conference this week and the Highland Council meeting on 28 October, Council Leader Margaret Davidson highlighted the green ambitions of the Council.   She said: "I am delighted there was cross chamber support at our meeting of Highland Council, on 9 September, for a Future Highlands Strategy, with the development of a Green Energy Hub in Highland at its heart.  
20/10/2021
Highland Conference Set To Focus On Climate Change Tomorrow And Friday - All Welcome To Sign Up For It OnlineThumbnail for article : Highland Conference Set To Focus On Climate Change Tomorrow And Friday - All Welcome To Sign Up For It Online
The Highland Climate Change Conference is taking place tomorrow (Thursday 21) and Friday 22 October 2021.   The Conference will bring people together from across and beyond Highland to discuss the climate and ecological emergency, ahead of COP26 next month.  
8/10/2021
More than 4,000 young people in Highland learning an instrumentThumbnail for article : More than 4,000 young people in Highland learning an instrument
More than 4,000 youngsters across the Highlands are now learning a musical instrument - the highest level since High Life Highland started lessons.   The charity began offering music lessons when the service transferred over in 2017 with 2,900 pupils.  
29/9/2021
Committee Chairs Express Relief As Boundaries Scotland Proposals For Highland Are Rejected
The Chairs of two Highland Council Area Committees have spoken of their relief that the voices of communities have been heard following the announcement yesterday that the Scottish Parliament's Local Government and Housing and Planning Committee have recommend that the proposals by Boundaries Scotland to change the electoral wards in Highland be rejected.   Chair of the Sutherland Committee, Councillor Richard Gale said: "I am delighted with this result.  
25/9/2021
Call for climate stories at Highland Climate Change Conference
The Highland Climate Change Conference is taking place on Thursday 21 and Friday 21 October 2021.   Chair of Highland Council's Climate Change Working Group, Cllr Trish Robertson, said: "The conference is a fantastic opportunity to bring people together from across and beyond Highland to discuss the climate and ecological emergency.  
21/9/2021
Archaeology Festival To Showcase Highland's Historic PastThumbnail for article : Archaeology Festival To Showcase Highland's Historic Past
The high point of the year for celebrating our heritage starts on Saturday 25 September.  For three weeks, the Highland Archaeology Festival will offer a range of walks, talks, workshops, exhibitions, and activities for all ages.  
21/9/2021
First digital tool to tackle recycling confusion in the HighlandsThumbnail for article : First digital tool to tackle recycling confusion in the Highlands
Zero Waste Scotland has launched a digital recycling tool to help combat confusion and meet Scottish recycling targets.   This Recycle Week (20-26 September 2021), Zero Waste Scotland is launching the first ever Recycling Sorter.  
17/9/2021
Council's ambitious digital learning estate continues to support education in Highland
The Highland Council's resilient digital learning estate continues to connect and support learners and educators across Highland, including the creation of a new digital toolkit for teaching staff.   Education Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The extensive digital learning estate available across Highland for staff, pupils, parents and carers is an effective way to empower and develop digital opportunities across Highland schools.  
14/9/2021
Public Opinion Sought On Draft Gambling Policy Statement
Members of the public are being invited to comment on a Draft Gambling Policy Statement for the coming years 2022-25.   The Highland Council is consulting on the draft policy statement on behalf of The Highland Licensing Board under the Gambling Act 2005.