INTERNAL AUDIT REPORT TRANSFORMATION PROGRAMME DELIVERY

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1 INTERNAL AUDIT REPORT TRANSFORMATION PROGRAMME DELIVERY Issue Date: 21 st May 2014 Issued to: Bev Jolly Corporate Author: Jonathan Nulty Simon Riley Head of Financial Services & Section 151 Officer Jenny Stephens Business Development & Transformation Officer

2 1. INTERNAL AUDIT OPINION TRANSFORMATION PROGRAMME DELIVERY EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The risks associated with Transformation Programme Delivery about which the client sought assurance are around project expenditure, managing risks to delivery of the transformation programme, project manager experience and training, and governance for the overall programme. The Council s managers were able to demonstrate that they have put in place a framework of controls for effective cost and risk management, with tried and tested methodologies and appropriate roles. Testing identified some areas for improvement including project manager/sponsor roles and benefits realisation. It is, therefore, the Auditor s Opinion that the design and operation of controls provides Sufficient Assurance. The audit was carried out in line with the scope set out in the approved APR. The Opinion is based upon testing of the design of controls to manage the four risks about which the Client sought assurance and testing to confirm the extent of compliance with those controls is summarised below. Internal Audit Assurance Opinion Sufficient Assurance Direction of Travel Risk Design Comply Recommendations H M L Risk 1. Failure to ensure that project expenditure is contained within budget Sufficient Sufficient Risk 2. Failure to identify and manage risks to programme delivery Sufficient Sufficient Risk 3. Failure to ensure that project managers have sufficient knowledge, training and experience Sufficient Sufficient Risk 4. Failure to ensure that satisfactory governance structures and processes are operated for key projects Sufficient Sufficient Total Number of Recommendations ISSUES REQUIRING MANAGEMENT ATTENTION Although there is a clearly defined budget for each project (as well as for the dedicated post of Business Development & Transformation Officer) outlining the additional costs relating to carrying out the project or service review, costs relating to officer time spent on projects are not always included, so the true cost of the project is not fully apparent. More work on upfront allocation of internal and external resources, as well as monitoring these estimates is needed this could be incorporated into the regular Highlight Reports that are currently produced. Managers could see how their project fitted into the whole Transformation Programme and they felt that their teams knew what the Programme was about and what it is aiming to achieve. There are, however, mixed feelings on the question of whether the Programme is fully embedded and owned by Harborough staff or whether it is a process being done to them. An objective assessment of this situation is needed. N/A For Benefits Realisation, the revised Benefits Card currently being used is simpler to use and is being completed more successfully. Whilst this helps projects to identify, visualise and predict benefits, it does not focus on quantifying those benefits. There is no detailed financial modelling for expected benefits - though this would require support from the Finance team to do this effectively. It is acknowledged that the Finance team are in the throes of their own Service Review and this could

3 be a stretch on resources. Benefits Realisation is an identified topic for an additional audit in and this will include a focus on support and capacity. Governance structures, including Member Advisory Panels, have worked well for the Transformation Programme. Other structures in other local authorities should be investigated and assessed, to ensure that Harborough s model is as streamlined and effective as possible.

4 3. AREAS WHERE CONTROLS WORKED AS DESIGNED There is a clearly defined budget for each project within the overall Programme outlining the additional costs relating to carrying out the project Risk is given proper and robust consideration in projects and the Programme as a whole, with each project having its own risks identified, monitored and reported on. A consistent methodology and format is used and risks are identified in the initial gateway review process for larger projects. The use of Member Advisory Panels for major projects, has proven useful and of benefit, particularly where there has been continuity of Panel membership across a number of projects 4. EXAMPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE The overall process, methodologies and approach to project management is to be commended. Highlight reports are seen to be a very useful tool in reporting issues and keeping stakeholders up to date on project progress. The use of dedicated in-house resources, rather than external support has allowed flexibility, an indepth knowledge of the Transformation Programme and good sense of ownership. Similarly, the development of champions among managers who have been involved in the Programme is to be commended. 5. LIMITATIONS TO THE SCOPE OF THE AUDIT The Auditor s work does not provide any guarantee against material errors, loss or fraud. It does not provide absolute assurance that material error; loss or fraud does not exist.

5 Rec ISSUE No Projects do have allocated budgets, but not enough detail on resources (both external and internal staff) this aspect is rarely monitored. ACTION PLAN RECOMMENDATION It is recommended that the... Corporate Director considers the upfront allocation and estimation of staff time/costs (both internal and external) when transformation projects are at their initial stage (progress can be monitored through Highlight Reports) Management Comments Category Officer Responsible Agreed Low Corporate Due date 30/11/ Not all projects have been baselining data/performance at the initial stages of a project, leading to a lack of clarity on whether project objectives have been achieved. Head of Financial Services develops and issues clear guidance on baselining including methodologies on data capture, benchmarking and customer satisfaction Agreed Medium Head of Financial Services & Section 151 Officer 30/09/ Through interviews, it appeared that there was a mixture of managers/staff who felt they were a part of the Transformation Programme and others who felt it had been done to them. Business Transformation Manager undertakes an assessment of how the Programme is perceived by staff (including their views on ownership of the process) Agreed Low Corporate 30/11/ The Benefits Realisation approach for the overall Programme has been through several iterations and has not been applied consistently. Corporate Director leads the senior managers in a review of the Benefits Realisation approach and undertakes any recommendations that may arise from the upcoming audit of Benefits Realisation Agreed Medium Corporate Director 30/09/14

6 Rec ISSUE No There have been instances of confusion between the roles of Project Sponsor and Project Manager Decision-making could be made more timely and streamlined. RECOMMENDATION It is recommended that the... Business Development & Transformation Agreed Officer implements mentoring and guidance mechanisms for Project A session on this topic is Sponsors and Project Managers to ensure scheduled to take place on 15/05/14 with CMT these roles are fully understood Business Development & Transformation Officer investigates the Member decisionmaking processes in other local authorities currently going through a transformation initiative to compare processes and mechanisms with best practice Management Comments Category Officer Responsible High Corporate Agreed Low Corporate Due date 30/06/14 30/11/14

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