Proposed decision –
Leader of the Council to agree to enter an Inter-Agency Agreement with Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council to provide Internal Audit and Counter Fraud on their behalf.
Kent County Council (KCC) have been providing the management for the Internal Audit and Counter Fraud services in Tonbridge and Malling (TMBC) for 6 years. During this time, the performance of the team has been strong and this has been demonstrated in the delivery of annual plans and achievement of service performance indicators. At the last External Quality Assessment, the function was assessed as compliant with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and service improvements were made subsequently.
There is an opportunity to further build upon the current management arrangement and, in doing so, provide TMBC with greater stability and for KCC to realise the full benefits of maintaining the number and breadth of experience of their Internal Audit team from being part of a wider shared service arrangement.
In order to further build the resilience and future development of the Internal Audit service, it is proposed that the TMBC fully delegate the function to KCC under the Local Government act 1972. Through the arrangement the delegated service would report to the TMBC executive and governance structure.
Three Options considered
Option 1 Maintain current secondment agreements. This would retain the management of the TMBC Internal Audit and Counter Fraud function with other staff seconded to supplement delivery. This would reduce staff resources and expertise for KCC as staff would solely be reporting to TMBC and not able to be utilised by KCC.
Option 2 Cease secondments to TMBC and no longer provide management capacity for the Borough Council. This would reduce income for the Internal Audit and Counter Fraud and reduce staff resources and expertise.
The preferred option will allow resources to be shared over delivery of the service to both Councils and provide the following benefits:
· A stable, longer term arrangement enables KCC Internal Audit to allocate resources to TMBC and build a robust staffing structure that includes a wider range of skills and experience and will be able to consistently accommodate work across both Councils.
· Maximise the use of our resources, efficiencies, and the capacity of our team.
· Opportunities for auditors and fraud specialists to further widen their experience of different authorities and share good practice in local government services elsewhere.
· Making use of the excellent skills and knowledge in the TMBC Internal Audit and Counter Fraud Team across the wider KCC team.
· Increase resilience within the function.
Decision type: Key
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Notice of proposed decision first published: 08/07/2021
Decision due: Not before 6th Aug 2021 by Leader of the Council
Lead member: Leader of the Council
Contact: Alun Jones, Acting Programme Delivery Manager Telephone number: 03000 417840 Tel: 01622 798306.
Financial implications: TMBC will pay KCC per year based on the size of the 2021/22 Tonbridge and Malling Internal Audit and Counter Fraud Plan. This will be reviewed annually, based on changes in the size of the annual plan, subject to any changes falling within the scope of the agreed Inter-authority Agreement.
Legal implications: The service has been delegated under the Local Government Act for a period of 5 years.
Equalities implications: 2 members of TMBC staff will be transferred to KCC. An Equalities Impact Assessment has been completed and no issues identified.