INTERNAL AUDIT VISIT
Who are we?
The Audit and Technical Service is a team of experienced audit staff within the Resources Department of the Leicestershire County Council. It includes qualified accountants and accounting technicians.
What do we do?
It is commonly thought that an internal auditor’s job is to catch people doing something wrong. In fact an auditor’s main aim is the reverse. It is to provide an objective opinion on whether people are doing things right. Only if needed will auditors make recommendations for changes and these are made with the primary intention of working with managers and staff to help stop problems occurring in the first place. Prevention rather than blame is therefore what the auditor is seeking.
An internal audit function exists within the County Council as a result of the Local Government Act 1972 which requires that "every authority shall make arrangements for the proper administration of their financial affairs…" Within Leicestershire County Council, the responsible financial officer is the Director of Resources and he exercises his responsibility for "the proper financial administration" through the work of the Audit & Technical Section.
The visit to your school is dependent upon its type, size and previous performance (i.e. Schools which we have formerly assessed as having good financial management will be visited less regularly than those where a significant number of concerns were previously raised). This determines how frequently we visit based on a rolling programme.
Objectives of the Audit
Our purpose is to provide management, for example Headteachers/Principals and Governors, Cabinet Members and, in particular the Director of Children's Services and Director of Resources with assurance that the internal control systems of the Authority are operating properly.
An Audit Report will be sent to the Chair of Governors with a copy also sent to the school.
Following this, a questionnaire will be sent electronically for your completion. The feedback provided is of great use to us as we continually keep our working practices under review.
How do we reach an opinion on your school’s financial management?
- The audit visit involves an appraisal of your school’s financial systems and procedures and a review of the internal controls in place. Our auditors are trained in schools auditing and many have a considerable number of years experience. They follow a standard audit checklist that ensures a consistent approach.
- At the end of the audit the assigned auditor(s) hold a debrief meeting with the Principal/Head to discuss overall how the audit went and any findings likely to be reported. However, since all audit visits are later subject to an independent review by a manager, it would not be possible to guarantee that the debrief meeting contained all that needed to be reported.
- Back at the office the auditor assesses the school’s systems of financial management against a significant number of objectives that we would expect to be achieved and completes a ‘financial m.o.t.’ checklist. Scores are allotted based on what is found at the time of the audit visit and hence we cannot give credit for subsequent action. However reference to any subsequent actions will usually be made in the report recommendations.
- We have invested significant effort in ensuring that our ‘financial m.o.t.’ checklist covers the right areas and allows for a fair and consistent conclusion to be reached. We regularly revise the checklist and consult with Children and Young People's officers and practitioners to ensure the scoring system is appropriate. The checklist has been vetted and approved by the Authority’s external auditors.
- The final ‘m.o.t’ score generates an overall opinion. Borderline cases are always rechecked to ensure that an error has not occurred. The overall opinion on the school’s financial management is then shown in the typed report.
- Additionally, we give sub-opinions on the main aspects of the school’s financial management (eg Budgetary control).
- For every audit visit a review of the working papers, ‘m.o.t.’ and draft report including the overall opinion, is undertaken by a manager who did not attend the visit. This ensures that the audit has been conducted to standard, findings have been appropriately reported where required and the overall opinion is not only correct for this visit, but is consistent.
Page Last Updated: 20 March 2007