Internal Audit is an independent, objective, assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organisation’s operations. It helps Laois County Council achieve its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes.
It is the policy of Laois County Council to maintain and support a quality Internal Audit function in accordance with the Internal Audit Charter 2021.
All of the Council’s activities fall within the remit of Internal Audit. The scope of Internal Auditing encompasses, but is not limited to, the examination and evaluation as to the adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s governance, risk management and internal control processes.
Specifically the main objectives of the Internal Audit function are to discharge its responsibilities by critically and objectively examining on a risk- management basis:
- The reliability and integrity of internal controls to ensure that risks are managed effectively and that the Council’s assets and interests are properly accounted for and safeguarded from losses, including fraud;
- The reliability of management information systems, both manual and electronic;
- The degree of compliance with the Council’s objectives, policies, plans and procedures;
- The degree of compliance with external legislation and regulations;
- The achievement of value for money across all activities, by appraising the economic, efficient and effective use of resources;
- Assessment of relevant issues raised as a result of the external audit process.
Internal Audit is part of the Council’s Corporate Governance structure. It reports directly to the Chief Executive and also quarterly, or as otherwise requested to the Audit Committee.
The functions of the Audit Committee are as prescribed by Section 59 of the Local Government Reform Act 2014:
- To review the financial and budgetary reporting practices and procedures within the local authority:
- To foster the development of best practice in the internal audit function and, as part of this:
- Review the internal audit charter and bring any recommendations to the attention of the Chief Executive,
- Review and assess the draft annual internal audit plan,
- Monitor implementation of the internal audit plan on a quarterly basis and the extent to which audit objectives are being achieved,
- Assess the outcome of the internal audit process, having regard to any findings and recommendations of the internal audit unit and management responses thereto,
- Assess the implementation of agreed corrective actions by management having regard to follow-up audits,
- Review the report of audit activities by the Internal Audit Unit, within three months of the year end,
- To review any audited financial statement auditor’s report or auditor’s special report in relation to the local authority and assess any actions taken by the Chief Executive in response to such statements or reports, and report its findings to the authority.
- To assess and promote efficiency and value for money with respect to the local authority’s performance of its functions:
- To review systems that are operated by the local authority for the management of risks:
- To review the findings and recommendations of the National Oversight and Audit Commission, and the response of the Chief Executive to these recommendations, and to take further action as appropriate.
The operations of the Committee are directed by the Local Government (Audit Committee) Regulations 2014 and related guidance as issued in June 2014.
The Audit Committee meets at least four times each year and its annual work programme is adopted by the Council. The committee must prepare and submit an annual report to the Council within three months of the year end.
Laois County Council’s Audit Committee is comprised of five members- two Elected Members and three External Members. An External Member retains the role of Chairperson of the Committee.
The members and secretary of the committee are as follows:
Mr. David Culliton (Chairperson) External Member
Mr John Brennan External Member
Mr John McCormack External Member
Councillor Padraig Fleming Elected Member
Councillor Aisling Moran Elected Member
Mr Donal Brennan (Director Of Services) Secretary