The purpose of the Audit Committee is to provide independent assurance of the adequacy of the risk management framework and the associated control environment, independent scrutiny of the Council’s financial and non- financial performance to the extent that it affects the Council’s exposure to risk and weakens the control environment and to oversee the financial reporting process.
To fulfil this purpose the Audit Committee will:-
- Consider the effectiveness of the Council’s risk management arrangements, the control environment and associated anti-fraud and anti-corruption arrangements.
- Seek assurances that action is being taken on risk-related issues identified by auditors and inspectors.
- Be satisfied that the Council’s assurance statements, including the Annual Governance Statement, properly reflect the risk environment and any actions required to improve it.
- Approve (but not direct) internal audit’s strategy and plan, and monitor performance.
- Review summary internal audit reports and the main issues arising, and seek assurance that action has been taken where necessary.
- Receive the annual report of the Council’s Audit Manager.
- Consider the reports of external audit and inspection agencies.
- Ensure that there are effective relationships between external and internal audit, inspection agencies and other relevant bodies, and that the value of the audit process is actively promoted.
- Review the financial statements, external auditor’s opinion and reports to members, and monitor management action in response to the issues raised by external audit.
- Consider the work and reports of the Council’s Benefit Fraud Team.
- Receive and consider periodic reports on fraud, theft and irregular use of Council funds. monitor compliance with decisions taken by the Council’s Decision Making Committees;
- Oversee the development and implementation of frameworks for the management of the Council’s resources which fully reflect the Council’s Corporate Plan, and promote a sound internal control framework in accordance with audit principles;
- Keep under review the Council’s local Code of Corporate Governance and ensure arrangements for its review and continuing relevance and the publication of an annual statement in the Council’s Annual Report confirming how well the Council is complying with the framework which underpins the Code;
- Undertake scrutiny of corporate monitoring reports on the Revenue Budget and the Capital Investment Programme and on the Council’s overall performance against the approved budget for any year following consideration of these by the Finance & Economy Committee;
- Oversee the development and implementation of the Council’s HR Strategy, policies and procedures and receive corporate monitoring reports on the Council’s HR performance;
- Oversee the development and implementation of the Council’s Asset Management Strategy and receive corporate monitoring reports on the Council’s asset management;
- Ensure that areas of concern are reported to Council including those that may require further scrutiny either by a Committee or Council;
- Undertake regular scrutiny of the Council's risk register and challenge the effectiveness of the risk treatments put in place by risk owners to reduce the risks in line with the Council's risk tolerance: and
- Consider such issues which are referred to it by the Council for detailed scrutiny.
The following functions and activities are remitted to the Audit Committee:-
- To consider the Audit Manager’s annual report and opinion, and a summary of internal audit activity (actual and proposed) and the level of assurance it can give over the Council’s corporate governance arrangements.
- To consider summaries of specific internal audit reports as requested.
- To consider reports dealing with the management and performance of internal audit services.
- To consider periodic summary reports from internal audit on the progress of implementing agreed audit recommendations
- To consider the external auditor’s annual report, and the report to those charged with governance.
- To consider specific reports as agreed with the external auditor.
- To comment on the scope and depth of external audit work and to ensure it gives value for money.
- To liaise with Audit Scotland over the appointment of the Council’s external auditor.
- To commission work from internal and external audit.
- To maintain an overview of the Council’s contract standing orders, financial regulations, Local Code of Corporate Governance and code of ethical standards.
- To review any issue referred to it by the Chief Executive, or any Decision Making Committee.
- To monitor the effective development and operation of risk management and corporate governance in the Council.
- To monitor Council policies on whistle-blowing and the anti-fraud and anti-corruption strategy and the Council’s complaints process.
- To oversee the production of the Council’s Annual Governance Statement and to recommend its adoption.
- To consider the Council’s arrangements for corporate governance and agree necessary actions to ensure compliance with best practice.
- To consider the Council’s compliance with its own and other published standards and controls.
- To review the annual statement of accounts. Specifically, to consider whether appropriate accounting policies have been followed and whether there are concerns arising from the financial statements or from the audit that need to be brought to the attention of the Council.
- To approve for signature the audited Accounts of Stirling Council for each financial year, in line with the requirements of the Local Authority Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2014.
- To consider the external auditor’s report to those charged with governance on issues arising from the audit of the accounts.
Remit and delegations to the Pre-Determination Hearing Committee
The purpose of the Pre-Determination Hearing Committee is to conduct pre-determination hearings for planning applications which are national developments or major developments which are significantly contrary to the development plan, up to but not including taking a decision in respect of the application (which is a matter reserved for full Council), all in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.
The procedures for arranging and conducting a hearing will be as determined by the Council’s Service Manager - Planning and Building Standards in consultation with the Convener and Vice-Convener of the Committee.