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Agenda item

Annual Internal Audit Report 2020/21

Report of the Interim Chief Internal Auditor and Corporate Fraud Manager.


The Interim Audit Manager, Durham County Council Internal Audit Service, Tracy Henderson explained that the Internal Audit Service provided the Internal Audit function for Durham Crematorium and the purpose of the Annual Internal Audit Report was to provide an opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the Committees Framework of Governance, Risk Management and Control.





The Interim Audit Manager explained the work undertaken by Internal Audit in 2020/21 was undertaken in accordance with Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS), and as part of the PSIAS the Chief Internal Auditor and Corporate Fraud Manager was required to deliver an annual audit opinion and a report that could be used by the Committee to inform its Annual Governance Statement.


The Interim Audit Manager noted the detailed report at Appendix Three set out the different approach taken to carry out the audit review as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, with the Audit having been carried out remotely.  She explained that the Auditor collected records from the Crematorium and carried out the review remotely, working from home, in accordance with the latest Government guidance.  It was noted that as a result the number of transactions reviewed was reduced in comparison to  previous years, but met the requirements of delivering a full audit review, even though no testing was carried out on site.


The Interim Audit Manager explained that the report delivered a Substantial assurance opinion, with one medium recommendation made which had been implemented, and one best practice recommendation.  She noted the Substantial opinion identified that there was a sound system of control, with the definition of Substantial being that any weaknesses identified expose some of the system objectives to minor risk.


The Interim Audit Manager noted that due to the ongoing coronavirus

Pandemic the opinion was qualified, as the pandemic had resulted in a significant level of strain being placed on normal procedures and control arrangements.  She noted the additional work being undertaken by the Bereavement Services Manager and Registrar and his Team was extra pressure, with an ongoing and developing situation.  She added it was therefore not possible to quantify the additional risk that was placed; however, Members had received information within the Risk Register update during this meeting with regards to the work of the service




The content of the Annual Internal Audit Report and the overall ‘Substantial’ opinion provided on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s control environment for 2020/21 was noted.


Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714