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+1 vote

Interesting - maybe… frown

Looking at the usefulness and relevance (or otherwise) of internal and external audit, it turns out that the cheap and cheerful (just tell you what you want to hear rather than what you NEED to hear) long standing internal auditor that has been used historically in the subject PC has presented a load of old tosh - just like previous years - except that this year, it was more closely examined, scrutinised and found to be (literally) not worth the paper it was written on.  Hardly a surprise I suppose considering the chair didn’t even realise there had to be an internal audit (let alone that it should be a whole year process rather than a quick panic at AGAR time.)

Well, as if stating the incorrect audit references at the opening passage of the IA report wasn’t bad enough, and illustrative of someone that really doesn’t know their onions, the content was absolutely laughable in its implausibility.  

So who is to blame - blame?  

Is “blame” the right term?  

Is it cllrs fault if they don’t know the regs or is it clerks fault if they don’t know how to do their job?    

Interesting to review Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments public interest reports for the 20/21 FY:  https://www.saaa.co.uk/reports.html

All bar 1 of the 29 PIRs for 20/21 FY refer to non submission of AGAR.

According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, in England in 2011 there were 9,946 parishes.

28 is 0.28% of 9946.  Does it even matter then?  Is it a problem worth worrying about??

Frankly, having seen what I have seen of the (lack of) quality of internal audit, difficulty in raising legitimate concerns with the external auditor and the general lack of public interest, I simply do not believe that so few PIRs genuinely reflects a situation where nothing significant is actually ‘wrong’ in the administration of PCs.

The 1 that ISN’T a non submission of AGAR report - you could pretty much cut & paste out the name of Kirby Muxloe Parish Council and paste in my PC name and nothing much else would need to change in the report….

I suspect, this would be more common than many (NALC / county ALCs) would like to admit…

by (19.7k points)

2 Answers

+4 votes
Like many things connected to Parish Councils which due to their vastly varying size and complexity resist a "one size fits all" doctrine this question and its ideal solution is equally complex.

Do we follow the "grass roots local solutions" doctrine of basic democracy or do we follow a rigid  box tick indoctrination of unified rubber stamping.
My own opinion is that in the spirit of what I feel this first level of community involvement in self government can bring to the table could, if nurtured and empowered correctly form an ideal template that could run to the top of national government. The main stumbling block of course is that there are embedded self interests and agendas at work throughout the fabric of all levels of government and the "support" and advisory industry ( yes the NALCS of the world) attached.

I believe that at PC level there should be a freedom to encourage the dedicated people who seek via election to work for an represent their communities to follow the doctrine of "whatever works to get it done" attitude. But of course within legal parameters. Why not accept the offer of a local farmer to mow the playing field for nothing rather than seek 3 quotes and have a 10 page contract with 25 sub clauses and use.

Councillors should be facilitators for the wishes of their communities not the unpaid administrators of red tape for its own sake. Yes the laws need to be followed which is why we employ clerks to advise.

I am sure that almost every community has at least one qualified accountant to, given the requirements of the audit, to provide the professional advice and guidance a clerk may need on an honourarium basis in support of their community. Ask around .

Here is an idea. No one can be elected to parliament until they have been elected and served at Parish/Town level, then elected and served at county or regional level and only then they can seek to be elected to the highest level of office.

Their service credentials from their communities would be there to see and it might just stop the fast track old boys network of career politicians and give us people dedicated to the communities rather than their parties or sponsors. Isn't it strange that the "moderates" all seem to be those dedicated to their constituents rather than political ideals? - rant over!
by (26.4k points)
Yep, all good points - no easy answer...

There are obvious benefits of requiring a ‘career’ path through local, regional, national lines but there is also a probably equal and opposite pitfall associated with ‘rule makers’ never having existed in any environment other then the public sector where the most completely bonkers restrictions and regulations exist and where it is all but IMPOSSIBLE to be rid of the incompetent.
Maybe some sort of middle ground?
On audits - I’ve just had response back to a 20/21 public challenge. Partial success but has done absolutely NOTHING to establish or reenforce confidence in the ‘system.’
+1 vote

Internal audit forum latest blog at NALC newsletter:

https://www.nalc.gov.uk/nalc-blog/entry/2197-internal-audit-forum-%E2%80%94-the-voice-for-local-council-audit?utm_source=MEMBERS&utm_campaign=ca27e9279b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_06_08_03_15_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_206970988f-ca27e9279b-323661797&mc_cid=ca27e9279b&mc_eid=24728635ca

And there is a direct link to internal audit forum  (but I can only insert 1 link per post apparently.

This is a new endeavour - one to watch maybe  

by (19.7k points)

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