The Audit Committee is a key component of corporate governance. It provides an independent and high-level focus on the audit, assurance and reporting arrangements that underpin good governance and financial standards.
The purpose of the Audit Committee is to provide independent assurance to the members of the adequacy of the risk management framework and the internal control environment. It provides independent review of governance, risk management and control frameworks and oversees the financial reporting and annual governance processes. It oversees internal audit and external audit, helping to ensure efficient and effective assurance arrangements are in place.
GOVERNANCE, RISK AND CONTROL
To review the Council’s corporate governance arrangements against the good governance framework and consider annual governance reports and assurances.
To review the Annual Governance Statement prior to approval and consider whether it properly reflects the risk environment and supporting assurances, taking into account internal audit’s opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s framework of governance, risk management and control.
To consider the Council’s arrangements to secure value for money and review assurances and assessments on the effectiveness of these arrangements.
To consider the Council’s framework of assurance and ensure that it adequately addresses the risks and priorities of the Council.
To monitor the effective development and operation of risk management in the Council.
To monitor progress in addressing risk-related issues reported to the Committee.
To consider reports on the effectiveness of internal controls and monitor the implementation of agreed actions.
To review the assessment of fraud risks and potential harm to the Council from fraud and corruption.
To monitor the counter-fraud strategy, actions and resources.
To approve the internal audit charter.
To review proposals made in relation to the appointment of external providers of internal audit services and to make recommendations.
To approve the risk-based internal audit plan, including internal audit’s resource requirements, the approach to using other sources of assurance and any work required to place reliance upon those other sources.
To approve significant interim changes to the risk-based internal audit plan and resource requirements.
To make appropriate enquiries of both management and the Chief Audit Executive to determine if there are any inappropriate scope or resource limitations.
To consider reports from the Chief Audit Executive on internal audit’s performance during the year, including the performance of external providers of internal audit services. These will include:
· Updates on the work of internal audit including key findings, issues of concern and action in hand as a result of internal audit work.
Regular reports on the results of the Quality Assurance and Improvement Programme.
Reports on instances where the internal audit function does not conform to the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and Local Government Application Note, considering whether non-conformance is significant enough that it must be included in the Annual Governance Statement.
To consider the Chief Audit Executive’s annual report : -
The statement of the level of conformance with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and Local Government Application Note and the results of the Quality Assurance and Improvement Programme that supports the statement – these will indicate the reliability of the conclusions of internal audit.
The opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s framework of governance, risk management and control together with the summary of the work supporting the opinion – these will assist the Committee in reviewing the Annual Governance Statement.
To consider summaries of specific internal audit reports as requested.
To receive reports outlining the action taken where the Chief Audit Executive has concluded that management has accepted a level of risk that may be unacceptable to the Authority or there are concerns about progress with the implementation of agreed actions.
To contribute to the Quality Assurance and Improvement Programme and in particular, to the external quality assessment of internal audit that takes place at least once every five years.
To consider a report on the effectiveness of internal audit to support the Annual Governance Statement, as required by the Accounts and Audit Regulations.
To support the development of effective communication with the head of internal audit.
To consider the external auditor’s annual letter, relevant reports, and the report to those charged with governance.
To consider specific reports as agreed with the external auditor.
To comment on the scope and depth of external audit work and to ensure it gives value for money.
To commission work from internal and external audit.
To advise and recommend on the effectiveness of relationships between external and internal audit and other inspection agencies or relevant bodies.
To review the annual statement of accounts prior to approval. Specifically, to consider whether appropriate accounting policies have been followed and whether there are concerns arising from the financial statements or from the audit that need to be brought to the attention of the Council.
To consider the external auditor’s report to those charged with governance on issues arising from the audit of the accounts.
To examine effectively the treasury management strategy, policies and performance and recommend approval or otherwise by Council, via Cabinet.
To be satisfied that there are arrangements in place to discharge the Council’s responsibility to promote and maintain high standards of conduct.
To review the effectiveness of the Council’s whistleblowing arrangements.
To report to full council on a regular basis on the Committee’s performance in relation to its terms of reference and the effectiveness of the Committee in meeting its purpose.
Support officer: Shirley Wright, Democratic Manager, Operations Group. E-Mail : [email protected] or telephone 01325 405998