Consideration was given to a report, presented by Simon Dennis, Acting Head of Policy, Performance, and Tanya Lound, Acting Corporate Improvement and Risk Manager, providing details of recent and current external audits and inspections including the details of arrangements that were in place regarding the accountability and governance for implementing recommendations arising therefrom.
Since the last report to Committee in July, 2021, 13 external inspections, reviews and audits had taken place resulting in 25 recommendations 18 of which had been implemented, 5 remained ongoing and 2 did not require action. The outcome of one of the external audits conducted was not yet known. In addition, 3 of the ongoing recommendations in relation to external inspections, reviews and audits that took place prior to July 2021, had now been implemented and 11 remained either outstanding or ongoing.
The report included detail of progress being made in respect of the following specific areas and Directorates together with a verbal update on the outstanding recommendations:-
- Children and Young People’s Services
- Adult Care and Housing
- Regeneration and Environment Services
- Finance and Customer Services
- Assistant Chief Executive
Nathan Heath, Assistant Director, Education and Inclusion, and Rebecca Wall, Acting Assistant Director of Children’s Safeguarding, provided information on their respective Directorates’ responses to any recommendations from external audits/inspections.
At the meeting held on 29th July, 2021, it had been requested that the report include details of target and completion dates for the recommendations (Minute No. 27 refers). This had proven to be problematic in that a large proportion of external inspectorates did not operate in the same way as Internal Audit who would agree a deadline with the Department concerned.
Discussion ensued on the report with the following issues raised/clarified:-
· That discussions take place with SLT regarding the setting of performance measures for actions set by external audits/inspections that do not state a timeline for completion
· An Education Health and Care Plan was a collective process including Health and Social Care as well as others on which the pandemic had had an impact. However, there were very clear regulations around the timelessness of such Plans and the Authority was benchmarked regionally and nationally. Rotherham’s performance had remained consistently strong but there were areas where improvements could be made. The key challenge was making sure communication remained strong with parents and carers through the process and feedback where there were delays
· The Written Statement of Action would be submitted to Ofsted in accordance with their deadline
· Confirmation had been received that Public Services Network Connection Compliance had been achieved
Resolved:- (1) That the report be received and its contents noted.
(2) That the governance arrangements that were currently in place for monitoring and managing the recommendations from external audits and inspections, as now reported, be noted.
(3) That the Audit Committee continue to receive regular reports in relation to external audit and inspections and the progress made in implementing recommendations.
(4) That discussions take place with SLT regarding the setting of performance measures for actions set by external audits/inspections that did not state a timeline for completion.