The East Kent Audit Partnership is between Canterbury City Council, Dover District Council, Shepway District Council and Thanet District Council.
Why are we here?
Under legislation the Council's Section 151 Officer, (the Senior Officer in charge of the Council's financial arrangements), has a duty to ensure that there is a continuous review of the Council's financial arrangements, ensuring that the appropriate records are maintained and that the Council acts legally.
Part of the function of Internal Audit is to provide assurance that the Council's arrangements are subject to an appropriate level of internal control, and to report any risks, weaknesses in the internal control system, or any financial loss or irregularity to the Section 151 Officer as well as the appropriate management. The four s.151 Officers together form the Client Officer Group, which governs the EKAP.
Section 151 Officers
What do we do?
Internal audit is an independent appraisal function, which seeks to provide management with a level of assurance on the adequacy of internal controls and of risks to the Council's functions/systems.
- We advise management on control.
- We assist the organisation to achieve its objectives by offering advice on operational processes and procedures.
- We alert management to any significant weaknesses or irregularities.
- We provide assurance on the reliability and integrity of systems, and the extent to which they are adequately and effectively controlled.
- We review any irregularity.
Most of the above is achieved through completing Audit reviews, which are scheduled through a risk based work programme. Internal Audit has the authority to review any matter at any time, and can request supporting documentation and explanation from any officer of the Council. However, we rarely call unannounced.
What is an audit committee?
The Authority's Audit and/or Governance Committee is comprised of members of the Council. The purpose of the committee is to provide independent assurance of the adequacy of the Authority's risk management framework and the associated control environment, independent scrutiny of the authority's financial and non-financial performance to the extent that it affects the authority's exposure to risk and weakens the control environment, and to oversee the financial reporting process.
The terms of reference of the Committee are detailed within the Authority's Constitution, copies of agendas, reports and minutes are available online.
Who audits the Auditors?
Internally each Authority has to review the effectiveness of Internal Audit on an annual basis and report their findings to the Audit Committee with the annual accounts in the Annual Governance Statement.
Grant Thornton UK LLP are the external auditors that review the work carried out by Internal Audit. They need to be able to place reliance on our work to support their review and approval of the Council's accounts and the financial processes that are in place. Each year the Grant Thornton UK LLP makes an assessment of Internal Audit and carries out an in depth review every three years.
What's the difference between internal and external audit?
Internal and External Audit meet regularly to ensure that there is no duplication in the work that they plan to cover. Where possible they rely on each other's work to ensure maximum coverage from the resources available. The essential difference in their approach is that Internal Audit are looking to provide assurance on the systems and processes used by management to reduce risk, and External Audit are looking to state that the Council's accounts are 'fairly presented'. Grant Thornton UK LLP is the currently appointed external auditor for all four member East Kent Authorities.
Additional information on Grant Thornton UK LLP can be found on their website www.grantthornton.co.uk.