To ensure Council Tax payers' funds are used correctly, the Internal Audit and Investigations Service (IAIS) has access to all Council property and can inspect all records and correspondence.
Internal Audit is delivered by the South West London Audit Partnership (SWLAP) which is a five Borough shared audit service covering the London Boroughs of Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth along with the Royal Borough of Kingston. This also includes delivery of audit services to Achieving for Children, a social enterprise company owned by Kingston and Richmond for the delivery of their Children’s Services functions. The audit service is largely provided by our in-house audit team however specialist audit services are procured through the Croydon framework contract which is currently provided by Mazars.
Within an organisation, there are three lines of defence in place to effect controls. The first line of defence is the day-to-day operational controls, the second is the management controls (e.g. budget and performance monitoring, authorisation) and the third is independent inspection, both internal & external.
Internal audit forms part of the third line of defence and provides assurance on the effectiveness of governance arrangements, risk management and internal controls, and this includes an assessment of the effectiveness of the first two lines of defence. Internal audit can place reliance on assurances provided by third parties, although depending on the source, this may require some independent validation.
The focus of our Audit team is to work with our partners to help provide assurance and make improvements to its effectiveness. Aside from this, Internal Audit is a statutory requirement. The Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2015 requires the Council to undertake an effective internal audit in accordance with Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and guidance.
Internal Audit plans and progress are regularly reported to the Audit & Standards Committee and associated papers and appendices can be found on the Councils online portal.
Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd publish external audit letters for local authorities and these can also be found online.
Internal Audit’s planned work includes evaluating controls for their effectiveness in preventing or detecting fraud. Managing the risk of fraud is the responsibility of management however Internal Audit will consider the risks and exposures which may allow fraud or corruption to occur.
Fraud work is undertaken by the South West London Fraud Partnership (SWLFP) which is a shared service covering the same five Boroughs, led by the Richmond and Wandsworth SSA. Both the shared audit and fraud services are overseen by the Shared Service Board which includes the Section 151 officers from each of the constituent councils or their delegated representatives. Work will be undertaken in accordance with an agreed Fraud Plan which includes a mix of proactive and reactive fraud work in the following main areas:
Head of Audit for Wandsworth
Head of Audit for Richmond and Kingston
Head of Audit for Sutton and Merton
Head of Audit for Achieving for Children
Head of the Shared Fraud Service
Up to: Council finance
Updated: 02 November 2020