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Audit and Scrutiny Committee

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Audit and Scrutiny Committee

The Committee’s Terms of Reference are generally to promote good, internal control, financial and risk management, governance and performance

management, in order to provide reasonable assurance of effective and

efficient operation, and compliance with laws and regulations, including the

Council’s Financial and Security Regulations, Contract Standing Orders and

accounting codes of practice.

 

The Audit and Scrutiny Committee in carrying out its scrutiny functions will take a discursive, collegiate and non-political approach to carry out methodological consideration of a wide range of evidence and perspectives, with the aim of providing viable and well-evidenced solutions to support the delivery of services.

 

The specific Terms of Reference are as follows –

 

2.7.1

Key Activities

·       To agree the internal audit strategic plan, oversee and review action taken on internal audit recommendations;

·       To consider the annual report, opinion, and summary of Internal Audit activity including the level of assurance it can give over the Council’s corporate governance arrangements internal control and risk management system; and to consider other specific Internal Audit reports.

·       To consider the External Auditor’s Annual Audit Plan, Annual Letter, relevant reports, and the report to those charged with governance and other specific External Audit reports;

·       To comment on the scope and depth of External Audit work and to ensure it gives value for money;

·       To commission work from Internal, External Audit and third parties where appropriate;

·       To consider the performance of Internal and External Audit;

·       To facilitate training to support the role of Audit and Scrutiny Committee Members;

·       To develop a culture of compliance within the Council to ensure the highest standards of probity and public accountability;

·       To support best practice in the financial administration of the Council;

·       To review the Council’s financial performance as contained in the Annual Report, and to report annually to the Council on the internal control environment;

·       There should be a least one meeting a year, or part thereof, where the Audit and Scrutiny Committee meets the Internal and External Auditors separately from management;

·       The Committee will prepare an annual work plan setting out meeting dates for the financial year and anticipated internal audit, external audit, management reports and scrutiny topics expected to be covered at each meeting; and

·       The Committee shall prepare an annual report to the Council covering its activities and key findings each year. This report will be considered at the Council meeting that agrees the External Auditor's annual audit letter.

 

2.7.2

Regulatory Framework

·       To maintain an overview of the Council’s Constitution in respect of contract procedure rules, and financial regulations;

·       To monitor and seek assurance with regard to risk control measures through the review of the effectiveness of risk management systems and corporate governance in the Council;

·       To monitor the Anti-fraud and corruption strategy and the Council’s arrangements for dealing with any allegations of fraud or similar improper behaviour; and

·       To consider the Council’s compliance with its own and other published standards and controls.

·       To monitor the Council's compliance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act and the Bribery Act in the discharge of its functions.

 

2.7.3

Financial Accounts and Governance

·       To examine the activities and accounts of the Council and exercise a governance role over management efforts to ensure that:

(a) The expenditure approved by the Council has been incurred for the purposes intended;

(b) Services are being provided efficiently and effectively;

(c) Value for money is being obtained, all in accordance with Best Value requirements; and

(d) The Council has appropriate information and advice available to them to make decisions.

 

·       To review the annual statement of accounts. 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 oversee the production of the Council’s Governance and Internal Control Statement; and

·       To consider the External Auditor’s report to those charged with governance on issues arising from the audit of the accounts.

 

2.7.4

Other Monitoring

·       To assess the effectiveness of the Council’s Performance Management System;

·       To consider performance and inspection reports from internal audit, external audit and other relevant scrutiny bodies;

·       To commission specific reviews to be carried out where necessary;

·       To review Best Value arrangements and outcomes, with consideration of both external and internal Best Value reports, strategy/plans and outcomes from Best Value reviews; and

·       To review the impact of national performance reports from external bodies such as Audit Scotland and consider their impact on future audit plans in terms of audit work to be undertaken by both external and internal audit.

·       The Chief Executive will attend one meeting per annum to report on how the Council is addressing its key strategic risks and other matters of interest.

 

2.7.5

Scrutiny

·       Monitoring the delivery of corporate improvement programmes and ensuring that they are progressing in line with corporate aims and objectives.  Reporting the findings and recommendations to the Council.

·       Commenting on decisions and policies agreed by the Council and other committees and the impact they have on Argyll and Bute as an area, and making recommendations as appropriate to the Council.

·       Inviting Policy Lead Councillors to attend and elaborate on Council decisions or proposals.

·       Assessing and evaluating to influence the better delivery of outcomes.