Warrington Internal Audit Service provides a high quality, professional and valued internal audit service to all its customers. The team is made up of a range of professionally qualified accountants and internal auditors, with many years experience of working successfully with Warrington’s schools, and providing services to external clients.
* A strong internal audit and counter fraud team – we provide internal audit services to the Council, to local schools, to parish councils and we are your current provider.
* Our knowledge of you as an organisation – we have worked with Warrington schools for a number of years and built up an excellent understanding of you as a client. A member of the team is currently a school governor at one of Warrington’s high schools, and brings a good appreciation of issues from a school perspective to the audit work.
* A strong record of delivery and value for money – our clients confirm that we deliver on our promises, engage at every level, share knowledge and add value in our work. We aim to continue to deliver the added value reviews and support to you that we have as your current provider.
* Technical Expertise – members of the internal audit team are involved in regional working groups for capital audit; counter fraud; ICT audit; and also attend the Greater Manchester Schools Audit Group. The Chief Internal Auditor attends the North West Chief Internal Auditor meetings to maintain up to date knowledge. She is also Chair of the North West CIPFA Audit Risk & Governance Group.
The work of the Internal Audit service conforms to the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards adopted from 1 April 2013 and the CIPFA Code of Practice for Internal Audit in Local Government in the United Kingdom published in 2006, and any subsequent amendments or alterations. We also comply fully with legislation relating to Equal Opportunities and Health and Safety.
Statement of understood outcome and service requirements of the Academy
We aim to work with Academies / Multi Academy Trusts to assist them achieve good financial management and effective internal controls, by providing an independent and objective assurance opinion on the control environment comprising risk management, governance and internal control. The assurance we provide will assist the Academy / Multi Academy Trust to demonstrate that resources are used in the best way for pupils to achieve their potential. We can assist Academies / Multi Academy Trusts to comply with the necessary financial requirements and achieve excellence in their control framework, this will provide assurance to the community that their control environment is robust.
We offer to provide an internal audit service and agree a programme of work to assess risks to financial controls. We will examine the financial controls and systems in place to provide assurance that key systems and processes are operating as intended. Our audit will cover the internal audit requirements, as set out in the latest version of the Academies Financial Handbook. This will provide assurance that there is good financial management and effective internal controls and proper accounting records are maintained.
We are also able to provide a number of additional services tailored to the specific requirements of each Academy / Multi Academy Trust. These are presented in more detail in the section below.
The additional services available will help Academies / Multi Academy Trusts to achieve a more complete assurance about their governance and risk management arrangements and systems of internal control. Some of the key outcomes from this work would include:
* Support to the Governing Body in complying with Company and Charity Law and fulfilling their obligations as trustees
* Support to the Governing Body in identifying governance and control weaknesses and ensuring that improvements are made, where necessary
* Ensuring that the Academy / Multi Academy Trust is achieving value for money in its use of resources and is safeguarding its assets against the risk of fraud or error
* Providing assurance that the roles of Accounting Officer and Chief Financial Officer are being discharged properly
* Helping ensure that conditions of Education Funding Agency grant funding are met and providing assurance that systems supporting grant returns are effective – including compliance with the requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook
* Providing assurance to the Education Funding Agency on the effective use of public funds and the accountability for their use
* Providing assurance to the Governing Body that their self-evaluation of governance arrangements and risks in place at the Academy / Multi Academy Trust is sufficiently rigorous and stands up to external scrutiny.
Scope and structure of services to be provided
Provision of internal audit service:
* Carry out a programme of work to address the risks to the internal financial control framework, as set out in the Academies Financial Handbook
* Provide the Accounting Officer with working papers detailing the results of the testing carried out. This will assist the Accounting Officer in the completion of their annual governance statement on regularity, propriety and compliance
* Produce a report of findings to the Audit Committee, or to the Committee that fulfils the functions of an Audit Committee
* Provide advice on proposed changes to the internal control environment or to financial procedures
* Provide pragmatic recommendations, recognising levels of risk and cost / benefit of controls
* Support the Academy / Multi Academy Trust to introduce new / innovative ways of managing the business whilst retaining an effective control environment
The following are examples of the additional services available, at prices to be negotiated on demand.
* Reviews of the Academy’s / Multi Academy Trust’s governance arrangements, including strategic planning, financial management and use of resources, performance management, information governance and codes of conduct
* Advice and guidance on risk management and business continuity arrangements, including the facilitation of risk workshops to support the production of the Academy’s / Multi Academy Trust’s risk register
* Financial monitoring and management reviews, (for example schemes of delegation) and reviews on the proper use of funds to support the Accounting Officer’s annual value for money statement
Fraud, bribery and corruption:
* Advice on the Academy’s / Multi Academy Trust’s arrangements for minimising the risk of fraud, bribery and corruption, including its whistleblowing procedures
* Provision of a fraud response plan to ensure proper investigation of suspected frauds
* Proactive work to identify potential areas of fraudulent activity
* Investigation of allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption and provision of reports to the Governing Body
Computer and contract audit:
* Data security and access control reviews, including Data Protection Act compliance
* Specialist technical reviews, e.g. network security (arranged by agreement with third party provider)
* Procurement reviews, including tendering processes, contract management and value for money
* Compliance with the Academy’s contract procedures and limits and EU Procurement Directives
* Using the Academy’s / Multi Academy Trust’s financial systems and advanced analysis software to provide management information (e.g. spend analysis by supplier), controls assurance (e.g. continuity of payments) and potential fraud indicators (e.g. matches on bank accounts between payroll and creditors data)
* Analysis to identify possible incorrect treatment of VAT
* Assessment of the Accounting Officer’s governance statement before inclusion in the Trust’s / Multi Academy Trusts annual accounts
* Quality control review of the Academy’s / Multi Academy Trust’s accounts and supporting papers before submission to the External Auditors
* Review of the Academy’s / Multi Academy Trust’s finance manual and advice on any changes to procedures
Training and development:
* Provision of training to governors, finance staff and budget holders
* Bespoke courses covering any of the above services
Key standards and performance indicators
All recommendations and any other feedback will be presented in writing to the Academy / Multi Academy Trust.
Completed working papers provided to Accounting Officer within 5 working days of completion of testing.
Presentation of report on findings to the next Audit Committee or Governing Body meeting.
The Academy / Multi Academy Trust will provide read-only access to its financial systems and will make all paper documentation available on request.
The Academy / Multi Academy Trust will provide copies of monthly budget monitoring reports (hard copy or electronic).
Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring and evaluation arrangements will be agreed with the Academy / Multi Academy Trust during the first quarter of the contract period.
The Internal Audit Team conforms to the UK Public Sector Internal Audit Standards.
Consultation will be undertaken with the school by way of a client satisfaction survey at the end of the audit work. Suggestions for development or redesign to the service will be shared with the school.
Special/specific conditions of service
We will enter into a formal agreement with the Academy / Multi Academy Trust over how any data relating to the work carried out is stored, retained and deleted.
Should we carry out any data analysis for you, we will ensure that that there are appropriate Fair Processing Notices to inform data subjects of what we are doing.
Compliance with legislation
The Internal Audit Team during their day to day working activities are mindful of the following guidance and legislation:
* Data Protection Act
* Equality & Diversity guidance
Quoted on demand. Rates from £265 per day. £350 per day for specialist IT and counter fraud work