The Risk and Assurance Service provides risk management, internal audit, advice and investigatory services to the County Council. We review and give assurance on the controls in place to manage the key risks faced by county council services.
Unlike external audit (currently Grant Thornton) whose main responsibility is to review the financial accounts, the internal audit function delivered by the Assurance Service reviews and give assurance on all aspects of the Council’s operations. This includes strategic planning, people management, collaborations with other organisations, IT, use of resources, procurement, finance and many others. To do this we undertake a programme of audits which are discussed and agreed with Strategic Directors and Business Unit Managers before the start of each financial year.
The aim of each audit is to provide an independent and objective opinion to managers on the adequacy of controls in place to manage risks within services and systems. We will usually issue a report for every audit which documents our findings and incorporates an action plan (agreed with managers) to address any weaknesses identified.
The Assurance Service reports to the Audit and Standards Committee on the results of individual audits and progress with delivering the annual audit plan. We also have quarterly liaison meetings with Business Unit Managers to ensure that the work we do contributes to the highest areas of risk and priority services across the council.
An Audit Charter is a mandatory requirement of the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards and the associated Local Government Application Note (PSIAS) and sets outs the purpose, responsibilities and authority of the assurance service within Warwickshire County Council.
The charter was approved by the Internal Audit Board on 6 May 2015 and endorsed by the Audit and Standards Committee on 4 June 2015 and applies until amended.
We produce an annual report which summarises the results of internal audit work completed during the previous year. The report gives an overall opinion on the adequacy of the Authority’s control environment.
Annual Governance Statement
The Annual Governance Statement supports the Annual Statement of Accounts. It reports on the extent of the council’s compliance with its principles and practices of good governance, including how the effectiveness of governance arrangements have been monitored and sets out action for planned changes in the coming year. The statement provides assurance to the council and its stakeholders that good governance arrangements are in place.
We have a zero tolerance approach to frauds committed, whether by by staff, sub-contractors or customers, and will take a robust approach to investigating and preventing any potential fraudulent activity.
If you suspect dishonesty or fraud may be occurring with services being delivered by the County Council you should contact us. All information received will be treated in confidence.
Fraud Hotline – 01926 412052
Secure Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you receive or are applying for social care grants, council tax discounts, or have a tenancy with the council, your details will be shared across WCC and each District and Borough Council and the data matched. This will allow us to identify any discrepancies, potential fraud and errors more quickly. If you have not told us your circumstances have changed, you may be committing fraud. If you also are aware of any suspected fraudulent activity please let us know.
If you need to report rogue traders or scams please seek advice from Trading Standards.
Employees are often the first to realise that there may be something seriously wrong within the County Council. However, they may not express their concern because they feel that speaking up would be disloyal to their colleagues or to the Council. They may also fear harassment or victimisation or some other impact on their future careers.
The Council has a whistleblowing policy in in place which outlines how employees can raise issues of concern. Whilst this policy is written for employees, the County Council recognises that it may be applicable to other individuals, members of the public or groups.
Anti-fraud strategy and policy
The Council’s anti-fraud culture is based on preventing fraud occurring in the first place; and zero tolerance for people who commit it. We have an Anti-fraud strategy and policy in place which outlines our approach to managing the risk of fraud and what we do to prevent it.
National Fraud Initiative
The County Council, together with every local authority in the Country is required to participate in the National Fraud Initiative. This is an exercise run by the Cabinet Office to improve the prevention and detection of fraud with public bodies.
Warwickshire County Council (along with all other local authorities) is legally required to have risk management arrangements in place. Our approach to managing risk is explained in the Risk Management Strategy which has been approved by Cabinet.
Unofficial funds guidance
The attached documents have been prepared to provide practical advice on the sound management and administration of unofficial funds. Although unofficial funds do not ‘belong’ to the County Council, it nevertheless has a moral and professional responsibility to safeguard them.
All County Council employees involved in the management or administration of any unofficial fund are expected to follow these guidelines. This guidance applies to those unofficial funds with an annual turnover of more than £1,000 or a year-end balance of more than £250. The guidance also applies to all permanent sports or social clubs situated on county council property. One-off charity collections, tea, lottery and similar funds are excluded.
Newburgh Primary School have produced their own Unofficial Fund Policy based on this guidance, and have kindly made it available to all schools. The policy is geared towards a primary school, but can be adapted to suit the administration of unofficial funds at other schools.