INTERNAL AUDIT FOLLOW UP OF CONTRACT MANAGEMENT
To receive an update report (copy enclosed) on progress in implementing the action plan that accompanied the Internal Audit report on Contract Management.
The Chief Internal Auditor (CIA) along with the Senior Auditor (SA) guided members through the follow up report (previously circulated).
This report provided members with an update on progress in executing the action plan that accompanied the Internal Audit report on Contract Management. The review of Contract Management had originally received a low assurance rating.
The CIA provided background information reminding members that the committee had identified that the original action plan contained actions which were no longer feasible given the suspension of Corporate Support Services Review at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. A revised action plan had been agreed at Governance and Audit Committee in January 2021 to provide assurance that suitable actions had been devised to address the issues identified in the original report. The follow up review had been based on the actions of the revised action plan.
The SA informed members a large number of actions had been raised at the initial review and revised action plan. 14 actions were raised in the revised action plan; 7 actions had not been implemented and 3 had not been due. Revised action dates had been agreed for 31st October 2021. Officers noted that limited progress had been made of the actions set out in the revised action plan agreed in January 2021. The full implementation of a number of the actions had been dependent on the approval by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) of the Contract Management Framework (CMF). At the time of the review, the draft framework had not been to SLT for comment and endorsement. The CMF sets out how to score and categorize contracts in to three groups. The framework provided detailed criteria for how to score contracts and set out the tasks and responsibilities based on the categorisation of the contract.
It was noted that an ongoing capacity pressure and lack of dedicated contract
management resource had also restricted the ability to provide the required
contract management oversight, training and guidance.
The assurance remained as a low assurance rating concluding in a further follow review scheduled for later in the year.
The Monitoring Officer (MO) thanked the Internal Audit officers for the report and the assistance they provided in the initial stages of the action plan. The MO took full responsibility for the delay in presenting the CMF to SLT. Confirmation a draft framework had been created earlier in the year to be presented.
SLT had since received the draft CMF and endorsed the framework as a concept and a way of working going forward. The framework ensured the risk associated with the contract would be correctly assessed and scored at the outset. Clear roles and responsibilities had been included in the CMF for contract managers to adhere to. It was envisaged that procurement would produce monthly reports for Heads of Services to review contracts and any actions to be conducted.
It was hoped more bespoke training on the CMF would be produced for contract management and users.
The Chair and members of the committee thanked the MO for the transparent background to the CMF.
In response to member’s questions, officers expanded on the following:
· The procurement team was not resourced to be contract managers. Procurement had provided generic training and guidance for the module on proactis. The responsibility lay with the services to manage contracts. The framework would ensure consistency throughout the authority. It would also provide guidance and support to all managers across the authority.
· The community benefits hub was an initiative introduced to ensure a consistent approach to service and advise when procuring contracts. The community benefits was fully functioning and helping services.
· The Head of Finance and Property stressed in his opinion the CMF was an improvement to the previous proposal. It was stressed the monitoring of contracts would still be controlled in services.
· It was hoped a small centralised expertise to guide managers in the services to manage and control contracts.
The Members thanked the officers for the detailed response to concerns raised. It was therefore;
RESOLVED, that members note the contents of the follow up report of Contract Management and a further follow up report be included on the FWP for November 2021.
- Council and Committee Report Template -Internal Audit Follow Up of Contr..., item 11. PDF 123 KB
- Appendix 1 Contract Management First Follow Up Final Report, item 11. PDF 278 KB