The Learning Zone - Project Management Arrangements

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1 Coleg Gwent Internal Audit Report () 6 June 2012 Overall Opinion

2 The Learning Zone - Project Management Arrangements CONTENTS Section Page Executive Summary 1 Action Plan 4 Findings and Recommendations 5 Debrief meeting 16 May 2012 Auditors David Taylor, Director; Draft report issued 23 May 2012 Responses received 6 June 2012 Helen Cargill, Associate Director; Nigel Ireland, Client Manager; Tulin Cottle, Senior Auditor Final report issued 6 June 2012 Client sponsor Lynda Astell, Vice Principal (Finance, Estates and Information) Distribution Lynda Astell, Vice Principal (Finance, Estates and Information) Pat Godfrey, Clerk to the Corporation This review has been performed using RSM Tenon s bespoke internal audit methodology, i-ris. The matters raised in this report are only those which came to our attention during our internal audit work and are not necessarily a comprehensive statement of all the weaknesses that exist, or of all the improvements that may be required. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the information provided in this report is as accurate as possible, based on the information provided and documentation reviewed, no complete guarantee or warranty can be given with regard to the advice and information contained herein. Our work does not provide absolute assurance that material errors, loss or fraud do not exist. This report is prepared solely for the use of Board and senior management of Coleg Gwent. Details may be made available to specified external agencies, including external auditors, but otherwise the report should not be quoted or referred to in whole or in part without prior consent. No responsibility to any third party is accepted as the report has not been prepared, and is not intended for any other purpose RSM Tenon Limited RSM Tenon Limited is a member of RSM Tenon Group RSM Tenon Limited is an independent member firm of RSM International an affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms. RSM International is the name given to a network of independent accounting and consulting firms each of which practices in its own right. RSM International does not exist in any jurisdiction as a separate legal entity. RSM Tenon Limited (No ) is registered in England and Wales. Registered Office 66 Chiltern Street, London W1U 4GB. England

3 1 The Learning Zone - Project Management Arrangements 1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1.1 INTRODUCTION An audit of The Learning Zone (TLZ) Project Management Arrangements was undertaken as part of the approved internal audit periodic plan for 2011/12. The audit was undertaken to review the arrangements in place to manage the following risks: Failure to effectively manage the Learning Zone transition adversely impacts on the College s reputation. Failure to recover Learning Zone transition costs adversely impacts financial health. In March 2011, following a statutory consultation process, the Minister for Education and Skills made a decision to approve Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council s proposal to close all school 6th Forms, and to relocate all Post-16 learning to the new Learning Zone on the former steelworks site in Ebbw Vale. The new sixth form and further education campus will be opened in September 2012, managed and governed by Coleg Gwent, for students aged 16 and up across Blaenau Gwent. It will replace sixth form provision at Brynmawr, Ebbw Vale and Tredegar Comprehensive Schools and will relocate the further education provision currently delivered from the College s Ebbw Vale campus. The total budget for the project is 33.5M including 27M to cover the construction and the remainder was attributed to the legal and other associated costs. This budget is managed by the Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. A Shadow Partnership Board was established and held its first meeting in October The Shadow Partnership Board includes representatives from partner organisations. This Shadow Partnership Board will become a Partnership Board after the move to The Learning Zone (TLZ) is completed. The lead partner for the project is the Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. An Internal Project Group was also established a year ago and is charged with the smooth transition of the move to the new building. Minutes of this internal group are submitted to the Shadow Partnership Board and to the College s Resources Committee. The College s Corporation Board receives the minutes of the Shadow Partnership Board and the Resources Committee. Various working groups were internally formed in readiness for the move to TLZ. These include Ebbw Vale Learning Zone Property Working Group; Furniture, Equipment & Relocation Learning Zone Group (FERLZ); IT Sub-Groups; and Furniture & Equipment Sub-Groups. These groups report to the College s internal Project Group.xtensive marketing activity for the new provision is undertaken by the College. There is regular communication from the Campus Management Team of the Ebbw Vale campus to all staff, advising them of progress. Overall, the College has estimated that the Transition and Furniture & Equipment costs will amount to 1.2M and 2.15M respectively. The Welsh Government has verbally committed to assisting with these costs and we understand that formal confirmation was received shortly after the audit was completed. The budgets are overseen by the Vice Principal (Finance, Estates & Information Systems) with the Furniture & Equipment costs being managed operationally by the Director of Estates. Risks relating to TLZ have been identified by the College and recorded on the College s Corporate Risk Register. There is also a separate project risk register held by the Lead Partner.

4 2 The Learning Zone - Project Management Arrangements 1.2 CONCLUSION Taking account of the issues identified, the Board can take substantial assurance that the controls upon which the organisation relies to manage this area are suitably designed, consistently applied and effective The above conclusions feeding into the overall assurance level are based on the evidence obtained during the review. The key findings from this review are as follows: Effectiveness The College is anticipating that the project will be completed in accordance with the predetermined budget and timescale. and application of and compliance with control framework The Ebbw Vale Learning Zone (EVLZ) Project Group was established to ensure that the project is managed appropriately. It includes senior management of the College. The College has established a number of working groups to manage the transition to TLZ and at least one member of staff who sits on the Project Group is included within these groups. Progress on the work of the groups is reported to the Project Group via these staff members. There is on-going communication, both internal and external stakeholders, from the College. Briefings are provided to internal and external stakeholders such as existing and potential students, parents, head teachers, councillors, school governors, the College s staff members etc. A website has been developed to promote TLZ. A link is included on the home page of the College s main internet site. An internal group was established within the College to manage the contingency arrangements and these are reported to the Project Group at each meeting. 1.3 SCOPE OF THE REVIEW To evaluate the adequacy of risk management and control within the system and the extent to which controls have been applied, with a view to providing an opinion. When planning the audit, the following limitations were agreed: Limitations to the scope of the audit: We will not comment on the progress made to date or the financial viability of the project, only on the monitoring of proposed targets. Our work does not provide an absolute assurance that material errors, loss or fraud do not exist. The approach taken for this audit was a Risk-Based Audit.

5 3 The Learning Zone - Project Management Arrangements 1.4 RECOMMENDATIONS SUMMARY The following tables highlight the number and categories of recommendations made. The Action Plan at Section 2 details the specific recommendations made as well as agreed management actions to implement them. Recommendations made during this audit: No recommendations were raised as part of this audit. 1.5 ADDITIONAL FEEDBACK We have included some comparative data to benchmark the number of recommendations made, as shown in the table below. In the past year, we have undertaken a number of audits of a similar nature in the sector. Level of Assurance Percentage of Reviews Results of this Audit Green 42.86% X Amber Green 28.57% Amber Red 28.57% Red 0.00% Recommendations Average number in similar audits Number in this audit Recommendations made

6 4 2 ACTION PLAN The priority of the recommendations made is as follows: Priority Description High Medium Low Suggestion Recommendations are prioritised to reflect our assessment of risk associated with the control weaknesses. These are not formal recommendations that impact our overall opinion, but used to highlight a suggestion or idea that management may want to consider. Ref Recommendation Categorisation Accepted (Y/N) Management Comment Implementation Date Manager Responsible No recommendations have been raised as a result of this audit.

7 5 3 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Area 1: That the project management arrangements are in place in readiness for the move to the new Ebbw Vale Campus. 1.1 The Ebbw Vale Learning Zone (EVLZ) Project Group was established to ensure that the project is managed appropriately. A Terms of Reference document is in place for the Group which documents the purpose of the Group as: To coordinate the reporting of all activities relating to the Learning Zone within the College; and From the meeting notes and the Terms of Reference of the Group it is noted that membership includes relevant senior management reflecting the importance of the project to the College. A review of the meeting notes for the period from May 2011 to April 2012 confirmed that the Group has met on a monthly basis. Fieldwork confirmed that notes of the Project Group meetings are submitted to the Shadow Partnership Board (see paragraph 4), the College s Corporation Board and the Resources Committee. To agree and plan any actions or activities required to successfully deliver the outcomes of the Learning Zone project. Membership of the Group is: Deputy Principal (External

8 6 Affairs) - Chair; Principal; Vice Principal (Human Resources & Organisation Development); Vice Principal (Finance, Estates & Information Services); Vice Principal (Curriculum & Quality); Campus Directors (Crosskeys & Ebbw Vale); Deputy Director (Ebbw Vale) Director of Estates & Facilities; Director of Marketing, Communications & Planning; Head of Estates Development & Facilities; HR Consultant;

9 7 Consultant; and Head of Information Technology. The Group meets monthly or more frequently if required. Notes of the Project Board meetings are submitted to the Resources Committee and the Corporation Board. 1.2 The College has established a number of working groups to manage the transition to TLZ. These are: EVLZ Property Working Group; Furniture, Equipment & Relocation Learning Zone Group (FERLZ); IT Sub-Groups; and Furniture & Equipment Sub-Groups. These groups are of an informal nature with no formal terms of The Vice Principal (Finance, Estates & Information Services) confirmed that a number of groups and working groups have been set up to define the roles and responsibilities for the arrangements in place for the move to the new campus in September At least one member of staff who sits on the Project Group is included within each of these groups. Progress on the work of the groups is reported to the EVLZ Project Group via these staff members. This was verified through a review of the EVLZ Project Group meeting minutes. A Furniture, Equipment and Migration Action Schedule has been prepared and is monitored by the FERLZ Group.

10 8 reference. No notes of the meetings of the above groups are taken with the exception of FERLZ. 1.3 The tasks within the internal Working Groups are assigned to appropriate members of staff. The Reporting and Meeting Structure has been documented to illustrate membership of each Group and the reporting lines to the EVLZ Project Group, Corporation Board and ultimately the Shadow Partnership Board. Through reviewing the meeting notes of the internal groups, the following were noted: The Director of Estates provides a Status Report to the Project Group detailing progress on the new site. The Director of Marketing & Communications & Planning is responsible for ensuring the marketing & communications activities are undertaken as detailed within the Marketing, Communications Plan, approved by the Shadow Partnership Board. The Procurement Manager has been allocated the task of purchasing the furniture and fittings for the new Ebbw Vale Learning Zone. 1.4 The Learning Zone Shadow Partnership Board was established in October 2011 and includes representatives from all partners. The College representation The Shadow Partnership Board held its first meeting in October The College is represented at the highest level confirming the commitment of the College to the project. A review of the meeting minutes of the Shadow Partnership Board confirmed that it receives

11 9 includes a member of the Corporation Board, the Principal, and the Deputy Principal. The purpose of the Shadow Board as detailed within the Terms of Reference is to champion lifelong learning in the community in order to meet the needs and aspirations of learners in Blaenau Gwent. The Board has Executive; Monitorial and Advisory responsibilities. Operational responsibilities rest with the Campus Director reporting to the Deputy Director of the College. It meets on a quarterly basis and receives meeting notes of the College s internal EVLZ Project Group. Minutes of the Shadow Partnership Board meetings are submitted to the College s Corporation Board. The membership and responsibilities of the Shadow Board are due to be reviewed at the end of its first year. The Shadow Partnership Board will become Partnership Board various reports from each of the partners; this includes the Ebbw Vale Campus Director report. The report captures information on all activities undertaken by the campus; for example, information on the recruitment process, marketing and communication activities etc. We confirmed that minutes of the Shadow Partnership Board meetings are submitted to the College s Corporation Board.

12 10 after the opening of Learning Zone. 1.5 The EVLZ Project Group members sit on the various Partnership Group meetings (external) and report to the EVLZ Project Group on project issues and updates. This Partnership Group meetings include: Building Workshops; We reviewed the minutes of the most recent three meetings (February, March and April 2012) of the EVLZ Project Group. We confirmed that the reports include a written programme status report and update highlighting key issues (for example the impact of the subcontractor administration on the completion of the project and the contingency arrangements that were required to mitigate this, including a phased occupation). Feedback was also provided to the Group from the transition working groups; Site Progress Meetings; Risk Workshops; Human Resources Marketing and Communication Legal Documentation Group; Ebbw Vale Learning Zone Liaison Group; and Blaenau Gwent Cluster Group. A Status Report is prepared by the Director of Estates in liaison with the external consultants for the project. Curriculum/Schools Transport Actions arising from the meeting are clearly delegated and signposted in the minutes and matters arising forms part of each agenda. There is appropriate scrutiny of the work of each of the transition working groups and the programme itself by the College s Project Group.

13 11 The Status report incorporates updates and information from the internal working groups as well as the updates from the partnership groups listed above. 1.6 A Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone Marketing & Communications Group (BGLZMCG) was set up in October The Group was set up with representatives from key partners. A Marketing & Communications Plan was developed by the Group and approved by the Shadow Partnership Board in October Progress on the Plan activities is formally reported to the Shadow Partnership Board. The College s Head of Marketing, Communications & Planning is responsible for the activities assigned to the College within the Marketing & Communications Plan. The BGLZMCG is responsible for the marketing and communications activities set out in the Marketing and Communications Plan endorsed by the Shadow Partnership Board. A review of the Plan showed that actions, timescale and cost of actions for the marketing and communication activities have been clearly identified. Activities are assigned to each individual partner along with the frequency of the actions required. The Head of Marketing, Communications & Planning is responsible for the activities assigned to the College within the Marketing & Communications Plan. These include open events. Progress on activities and outputs is formally reported to the Shadow Partnership Board.

14 Communication to internal and external stakeholders is made on an on-going basis by the College. The Campus Director (Crosskeys and Ebbw Vale) confirmed that extensive communication of TLZ is provided to both internal and external stakeholders. The following activities have been / are being undertaken by the College: Significant number of presentations are being delivered to Ebbw Vale campus staff members; Various posters summarising the progress on new buildings are placed in the existing Ebbw Vale campus buildings; Extensive briefings through School Learner Forums and Campus Learner Forums. These include student representatives from schools, the Principal, Campus Director, Head of School, Head of Learners and School Liaison Officers; Presentation to the Blaenau Gwent Council members, various corporation groups, schools governors, school head teachers; At least three visits have been made to each of student who is transferring to TLZ from the existing Ebbw Vale campus; Attending parents evenings; Attended various information evenings;

15 13 Held an event at Careers Wales to promote TLZ and related courses; and Attended neighbouring events to promote TLZ. 1.8 A web page was developed to promote TLZ. It is included within the home page of the College s main internet site. The Marketing Department has produced a prospectus of courses are to be run at TLZ. A hard copy of the prospectus was sent to all stakeholders via post. An electronic copy of the prospectus is available on the internet. 1.9 An internal group was established within the College to manage the contingency arrangements around the move to TLZ. Contingency arrangements are There is regular communication with both internal and external stakeholders. A review of the webpage confirmed that it included information on courses offered for the September 2012 intake and news on TLZ. Through reviewing the Project Group meeting minutes, we confirmed that issues are identified on an on-going basis. An informal group was established a month ago to manage and report on issues.

16 14 reported to the Project Group at each meeting Costs for moving to TLZ are managed by the Vice Principal (Finance, Estates & Information Services) and the Director of Finance. Costs are made up of: Exceptional Transition costs this is made up of the following four areas: Costs of commitment to maintain broad 'A/AS'/Vocational Programme budgeted as 463,748; Costs of commitment to allow A2 for one year- budgeted as 399,346; Costs of early recruitment of The Group reported to the Project Group on 30 April 2012 that planning is on-going around the issues. We reviewed the Capital Investment Statement 2011/12 and confirmed the Furniture & Equipment budget of 2.15M and the total spend to date against this budget of 130K. A budget tracker spreadsheet is kept by the Estates Team to ensure that the expenditure is within the budget. A bid to Welsh Government has been made for exceptional funding to support the additional costs to the College of transition to TLZ. The Vice Principal (Finance, Estates & Information Services) confirmed that: Verbal confirmation was received from Welsh Government to indicate that funding for 50% of costs of early recruitment of staff and 100% of the remainder of the requested fund will be made. However; the Welsh Government also indicated that no promise could be made that funding could be confirmed beyond 2013/14. If this is the case then the College would look to reduce the provision of the A/AS/Vocational Programmes to accommodate this. The staff recruitment process is taking place

17 15 staff to ensure smooth transition budgeted as 326,211; and Costs of Community Engagement Plan budgeted as 39,000. The above costs are spread over four years and total to 1,228,305. Furniture & Equipment costs - budgeted at 2.15M of which 900K is funded by Department for Education and Skills (DfES). There has been no spend to date against the exceptional costs budget. later than originally planned therefore 50% of the funding from Welsh Government will cover the necessary costs. Therefore this will not have adverse impact on the College s budget. A list of the new members of staff from the Human Resources department will be obtained and reviewed by the Director of Finance to establish how the actual costs compare to the budgeted costs. No funding would be received in relation to the 2011/12 academic year. This has been budgeted as 68,253 and has already been absorbed by the College. We understand that the College has subsequently received formal confirmation of transitional funding from the Welsh Government.

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