Internal Audit

Internal Audit supports the council in ensuring that services are delivered as required in the most economic, efficient, and effective manner and that governance arrangements throughout the services, council and its partners are robust.

Internal Audit workload is based upon an annual audit plan, agreed with corporate directors and the Audit Committee. However, we want to work with and support council departments and services so if you require an audit or advice, outside the scope of the audit plan, we are very willing to be contacted. We prefer to be informed of issues before they become potential problems.

What is Internal Audit?

We promote and champion sound governance throughout the council that assists it to achieve its objectives. We conduct reviews, provide advice, support and challenge on risk management, governance, internal control and value for money.

Internal audit is a key part of the council’s corporate governance arrangements. It is a corporate service to all managers of the council but in particular to:

  • The S151 Officer (Corporate Director, Resources) to maintain prudent financial stewardship
  • The Monitoring Officer (Assistant Director, Law & Governance) to ensure council activities are lawful
  • Councillors to ensure adequacy of controls via an independent audit of the services

Who are we?

As an officer of the council the Head of Internal Audit has right of direct access to the Chief Executive, the Corporate Director Resources (Section 151 Officer) and the Audit Committee.

The audit team is multi-disciplinary with experience in accountancy, internal audit, project management, contracts, VFM and IT. We offer a consultancy/advice service in addition to our traditional audit role.

How do we operate?

An Annual Audit Plan is developed in conjunction with corporate directors and senior managers. The Audit Plan is designed to encompass key risk areas to the council whilst being flexible to accommodate changing circumstances and new initiatives as they arise. We aim to cover a cross section of directorates but key financial systems are always included in our audit programme which is designed to provide an informed opinion on the council’s control environment.

The Annual Plan is approved by the Audit Committee and disseminated to directors and senior managers with an initial indication of when individual audits are likely to occur.

Individual audits are discussed in advance with the relevant managers in order to agree the terms of reference including the objectives, who will be doing the audit and anticipated start and completion dates. We are conscious that officers are busy and, where possible, we accommodate requests to avoid certain times and days.

During the audit, we carry out as much of the work as possible on site and do not take files or other information off site (unless with specific agreement or if fraud or irregularity is suspected).

We feedback on what we’re doing as we go along so any queries can be dealt with immediately.

How do we report our findings?

At the end of the audit, there is normally an exit meeting with all the relevant staff at which we discuss the detailed findings arising from the audit, agree any actions with target dates and who will be responsible for their implementation. The exit meeting is also used to gain feedback on accuracy of our findings.

Following the exit meeting, a draft report is issued to all relevant staff. We aim to do this within 2 working days and request a response agreeing to its factual accuracy within 5 working days. A key guiding principle is that no report is issued without confirming its factual accuracy. However, if no response is received within the timeframe and we have not received a reasonable request for an extension of time, we assume acceptance.

We aim to issue final reports within 2 weeks of agreeing the draft report.

In the report, we provide an overall governance opinion that covers

(1)  adequacy of the system
(2)  compliance
(3)  organisational impact

Final (i.e. agreed) reports go to the relevant Head of Service and Director and to Director of Finance and Resources (S151) or his Deputies. 

Any reports which are given a 'weak' or 'limited' rating automatically get copied to all members of the Corporate Leadership Team and a list of all reports issued together with the rating, is reported monthly to the Audit Committee who may ask to see an individual report.

How do we follow up?

At an appropriate time after issuing the final report, we contact the directorates to review progress on implementing the agreed actions. A follow up report is then issued summarising progress to date.

Milton Keynes Council

General enquiries contact information

  • 01908 691691 - 9am-5.15pm Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri and 10am-5.15pm Wed (Out of hours emergency phone: 01908 226699)

Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ