This report provides Members with an update on the work, outputs and performance of the Audit & Counter Fraud Team for the period 01 April to 31 August 2021.
This report provided an update on the work, outputs and performance of the Audit & Counter Fraud Team for the period 01 April to 31 August 2021. The Head of Audit and Counter Fraud Shared Service advised the Committee of the key issues in the report including the level of staff resources available during the period, and he referred to progress of work being undertaken as set out in section 5 of Appendix 1 to the report. He referred to two reviews from last year which had yet to be finalised, one of these had now been finalised and he was hopeful that the other review would be finalised by next week. He also referred to counter fraud activity and key performance indicators and that PM13a now stood at 21% and PM13b now stood at 24%. He also referred to outstanding recommendations including the review of write offs (Revenue and Benefits), the impact of the pandemic and the inability to recruit to vacant posts meaning the Head of Service had requested that the implementation dates be revised.
Members then raised a number of questions and comments which included:
Operational management of the team – in response to a question on being on target to deliver the Plan, the Head of Audit and Counter Fraud Shared Service stated that the team was on a steady course and that he had a full complement of Auditors, however, the loss of a team leader had resulted in a delay in reviews being finalised. He also advised that there had been no requests for redeployment within the team.
Pentagon Centre – in response to a question regarding the issue of deferrals in respect of the Pentagon Centre and how they would be repaid to the Council, the Head of Audit and Counter Fraud Shared Service stated that he was unable to answer this question and he undertook to ask the relevant service outside the meeting.
Recovered sums – it was commented on that it was good that the Service had recovered £250,000 as indicated in the report.
Training – in response to a question on the reduction in time spent on training, the Head of Audit and Counter Fraud Shared Service stated that this was normally included in the bi-monthly team meetings, however, the loss of a team leader and other factors such as redeployment had impacted on training. He was hopeful that this would improve once the team was back up to a full complement.
Fraud – it was commented that the lack of evidence of fraud being found in reviews indicated that the systems in place were working, which should reassure residents and customers.
Cashable savings – in response to a question regarding the recovery of monies, the Head of Audit and Counter Fraud Shared Service stated that these were sums which would be repaid to the Council. In some cases, some recoveries would be classified as non-cashable savings.
a) The Committee noted the outputs and performance of the Audit & Counter Fraud Plan for Medway for the period 1 April to 31 August 2021 as detailed at Appendix 1 to the report.
b) The Committee approved the revised implementation dates for overdue recommendations as detailed in section eight of Appendix 1 to the report.