Agenda item



The Committee considered a report which provided an update on the progress made on the implementation of the Internal Audit Plans 2022/23.  It was reported that to date the completion rate was at 28% against a completion target of 30%.  The Committee duly reviewed the progress made in respect of the delivery of the audit programme.


The Committee’s attention was then drawn to the completed Priority 1 Recommendation Reports which included reviews completed where systems had one or more fundamental control weaknesses or involved reviews which the Chair of the Governance & Audit Committee and the Head of Revenues & Financial Compliance had agreed should be brought to the Committee.  The Committee duly considered the following reviews which were appended to the report as Part Bi and Part Bii:


1. School Meals – Special Dietary Requirements

2. Travel & Subsistence


The issues/observations raised by the Committee were addressed as follows:-


Part Bii: School Meals – Special Dietary Requirements


·   It was commented in respect of food allergens it was crucial that schools adopt good communication between all teachers and catering service and what to do in the case of a reaction.  It was pleasing to note that measures had been put in place.


·   It was commented that it was positive to note that measures had been in place to account for mid-term transfers.  In terms of the progression of year 6 pupils from primary schools to year 7 in secondary schools it was asked if parents would be required to re-register allergens or special dietary needs? The Head of Access to Education stated that as part of the admissions applications from Year 6 to year 7, parents are asked to identify any specialist dietary requirements on the application form.  This information will be made accessible to the staff in the secondary school, in addition the staff will liaise with the parent to discuss the specified dietary requirements and what to do in the event of a reaction.


In response to an additional query, it was explained that as the primary and secondary schools operate different systems the initial responsibility was for the parents to provide up to date information and the also the school to ensure that all staff are aware.


·   It was asked if there were any additional policies in place to safeguard children in foster care?  The Head of Access to Education stated that he was not aware of any additional policies in place however, assured that he would raise this point with the relevant service and would put any identified additional measures in place.


·   In acknowledging the significance of people suffering with food allergens, it was asked, if this matter was included in the education department risk register for monitoring?  The Head of Access to Education was unable to provide a definitive response at the time of the meeting but would check and confirm whether it was or wasn’t included on the risk register.  He added that if it wasn’t included, he would ensure that it would be added.


·   It was asked, if there was a policy or system in place to report and monitor near misses eg the use of an EpiPen to treat an allergic reaction?  The Head of Access to Education stated that was not aware of any specific reporting mechanism in place following the need to use an EpiPen, however, every school has a general health and safety reporting system in place and therefore it was anticipated that this would be recorded therein. The Head of Access to Education stated that he would enquire further. The Assistant Chief Executive (People Management & Performance) added in relation to the recording of allergens in schools, whilst schools record issues on their local databases they were also fed into the corporate health and safety team.  Assurance was provided that incidents arising were considered and responded to centrally and corporately in terms of policies and guidance as necessary.


·   In response to a query regarding the supply chain, the Head of Access to Education stated that the suppliers utilised have a robust labelling approach in regard to the contents ingredients of the food supplied.


·   It was suggested that awareness briefings could be arranged to ensure that School staff and School Governing Bodies were kept informed of the necessary requirements and information.  The Head of Access to Education welcomed the feedback and agreed that head teacher and school governing body briefings would be beneficial in raising this important issue.


Part Bii: Travel and Subsistence


In addition to the report, the Assistant Chief Executive (People Management & Performance) informed the Committee that the Travel and Associated Expenses Policy had been changed as a consequence of having recently been considered by the Corporate Management Team.  In addition, to ensure that there was clear communication to staff, an action plan would be developed in conjunction with the Communications Team.  Furthermore, work was currently being undertaken with the Transformation, Innovation and Change (TIC) team to develop a routine spend dashboard to enable analysis to take place to help inform the development of future policies.


·     A query raised in relation to the new policy and when would it be effective, the Assistant Chief Executive (People Management & Performance) explained that currently the policy was being considered by the Corporate Management Team and whilst he had sufficient delegation to endorse the policy, it was hoped that following necessary discussions with the Head of Legal and Administration that the policy would be endorsed soon.   



UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the Internal Audit Plan Update 2022/23 progress report and priority 1 recommendation reports be noted.


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