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Councillors Rapped Again as Only Eleven Respond To Audit Survey

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Thursday, Jul 27th, 2017.

The Chairman of Wrexham Council’s Audit Committee has voiced his displeasure yet again after only 11 councillors took part in a survey, with eight being committee members.

Last year Jerry O’Keeffe, the Independent Chairperson of the Audit Committee, made a similar observation however it appears very few councillors took his thoughts on board.

In a report due before councillor today, he says: “The 2017 Audit Committee Effectiveness Survey again saw a disappointingly low number of responses despite my request last year for all Members to participate.

“The Survey provides crucial evidence to the Council’s External Auditors that the Audit Committee is effective and it also identifies areas for improvement. I hope that the 2018 survey sees a greater level of engagement.”

The ‘very disappointing’ breakdown is below, showing that eight of the thirteen committee members took part and just three of the forty other councillors could be bothered.

Mr O’Keeffee writes to the importance of the work carried out, using recent UK problems as an example: “Effective governance supports every aspect of service delivery that the Council provides. Governance is
often only questioned when things go wrong and recent national events have proven this.

“I firmly believe that the Audit Committee should provide a proactive challenge with the aim of identifying issues before anything can go wrong. In these challenging times of budget savings and alternative service delivery models, this role is more important than ever. ”

Part of the Audit Committee’s role is to review and scrutinise the council’s financial affairs, and make reports and recommendations on them. The Committee’s full report for the year can be found here.

A counter-fraud report is also being considered by the committee, with the following breakdown provided of cases and outcomes:

The report also notes: “Internal Audit administers the ‘Stamp Out Fraud’ e-mail address and ‘hotline’ facilities. All notifications are examined and referred to the relevant Council service, or, in the case of benefit fraud, to SFIS. The number of referrals received through ‘Stamp Out Fraud’ during 2016-17 was 110 – an increase of 27 on 2015-16”.

A further table lists the sources of fraud reports and who investigated them, with 203 reported overall and the majority of 133 investigated by the Department of Work and Pensions.

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