Report of the Head of Audit & Risk Management.
The Committee considered a report of the Head of Audit & Risk Management providing Members with an update in respect of Internal Audit activity related to the Barbican Centre, the last written submission having been made to the January 2020 meeting of the Barbican Risk Committee.
Members were informed that the Audit Plan delivery had been completed for 2019-20 and is progressing in respect of 2020-21. As of mid-October 2020, there were no live red priority recommendations and seven live amber priority recommendations which exceeded their original target dates for implementation. Revised target dates were supplied for these recommendations due to slippage in implementation timescales.
The Head of Audit & Risk Management confirmed that there had been good progress since the implementation of the new audit system and Officers were confident that the Centre’s audit plan would be delivered. The new approach, which included the issuing of new reporting, had seen better dialogue with Senior Management and it was hoped this would help with finalising some older recommendations that were overdue past their original completion dates. Members were asked if March 2021 was an appropriate date to finalise these outstanding recommendations.
A Member was pleased to note improvements concerning bars and retail, with most recommendations largely resolved, and queried how these were being managed and followed up. Officers confirmed the audits were recently completed and would be revisited as per the targets. It was noted that follow up was generally one month after the scheduled implementation date and that timescales could be included on future reports with a follow up column providing scheduled dates.
A Member enquired if internal audit had looked at changes in process and approval of financial transactions as a result of Covid. Members were advised that this was mostly unchanged except for the ability of some committees not being able to provide oversite as normal as they were suspended at the beginning of the lockdown. Approvals still went ahead through the same system and therefore the risks had barely changed.
Another Member accepted that whilst Covid had created some different conditions, Management had committed to the internal audit contract of recommendations and there were things that had not been fulfilled as agreed which needed explanation. Director of Operations & Buildings firstly apologised that some recommendations had not been completed as agreed, but other issues including Covid had taken priority leading to a delay. It was confirmed that strategic alignment and marketing had taken place and a new online training programme was available.
For brand management, it was suggested that a Barbican background for Members and Officers be used during remote meetings.
With regards to strategic planning, a Member felt that this could wait until early 2021 whilst the Business Plan was being finalised. It was also proposed that the outstanding visitor experience recommendations be taken off the list if Management provided commitment that these would be covered within the Business Plan. Members agreed with the approach for Management to deal with the outstanding recommendations to allow for the Committee to deal with the live risks.
In response to a query concerning contracting, Members were advised that the audit focussed on routine transaction review work. The Head of Audit & Risk Management hoped to introduce a Corporation-wide programme to routinely pick up compliance work and regular audit assurance including an analytics dashboard evaluating a range of controls.
RESOLVE - That Members:-
· Note the report;
· Consider the appropriateness of the delays in high priority recommendations implementation.