Devon County Council Job Description Questionnaire

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1 Devon County Council Job Description Questionnaire Job Title: Head of Devon Audit Partnership Directorate: Devon Audit Shared Partnership Date : September PURPOSE OF YOUR JOB To provide strategic leadership, management and development of the Devon Audit Partnership, which is being formed from April 2009, bringing together the current Internal Audit functions of Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council. Initially the Head of Partnership will be responsible for formulating the new Partnership organisation, establishing an effective management and staffing structure and operational procedures. Once operational, the Head of Partnership will have significant responsibility and authority for the direction and delivery of the internal audit service to all 3 authorities, and other client organisations. Previously this has been the responsibility of 3 separate Heads of Internal Audit, reporting directly to an appropriate Finance Director. The postholder will have wide ranging authority and autonomy for delivering the agreed performance and service objectives and plans of the Partnership. These objectives and plans will be agreed through the Partnership Audit Joint Committee (elected members of the three Councils) and the Management Partnership Board (Section 151 Officers) in line with the agreed Partnership Governance arrangements. To manage, develop and deliver all aspects of the professional internal audit service that supports the client authorities and their Audit Committees in meeting their statutory responsibilities under the Accounts and Audit Regulations, and assists the respective Directors of Finance to fulfil their statutory role as responsible financial officer (Section 151 officer) under the Local Government Act. To provide a professional and effective internal audit service that meets statutory requirements and management needs of a number of external clients (including Devon & Cornwall Police Authority, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, Torbay Care Trust and the Dartmoor National Park Authority). To provide an advisory and consultancy service to all directorates and clients encompassing internal control, risk management, governance, fraud and irregularities, public accountability and probity in the use of public funds. 2. DIMENSIONS (a) Budgets The annual budget for the Partnership that is managed by the postholder is approximately 1.5 million, with the number of staff amounting to approximately 42 FTE s.

2 As Head of Internal Audit for each of the 3 client councils the postholder is responsible for certifying a growing number of grant claims to ensure that government funding is secured (including Local Area Agreement, Local Public Service Agreement, Supporting People grant). In these amounted to more than 50 millions for the three Authorities. The nature and responsibilities of Internal audit in identifying errors and control weaknesses of key systems throughout the client Councils directly impact on significant budgets. The post is responsible for assisting in ensuring that the annual budgets of the three Councils (DCC s gross budget alone is over 1bn.) and the budgets for external clients (totalling over 200 million) are administered with due regard to probity, legality, economy, efficiency and effectiveness. Staffing The post supervises 42 audit professionals. Initially at least these staff will have bases at 3 locations Exeter, Plymouth and Torbay. (b) Clients and other statistics The post leads and directs the Devon Audit Partnership, that provides professional services under Service Level Agreements and audit plans that are negotiated annually with all Directorates and units of the client Councils. The schools in the County are all individual clients who annually make decisions about the purchase of audit services from their delegated budgets. Virtually all schools currently purchase that service from the Partnership. Services to external clients noted above, most of which have been won and retained through open competitive tendering, are delivered under formal contracts or service level agreements. The Head of Partnership will look to exploit opportunities to develop and expand the partnership where this is considered beneficial. During each year more than 550 formal audit reports are issued to these clients, all produced to professional standards and subject to strict quality assurance procedures. 3. PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTABILITIES a) To be accountable directly to the Devon Audit Partnership Joint Committee (elected members of the three councils) and to the Partnership Management Board (Section 151 officers) for all aspects of the direction, development and management of the Partnership, its business plan, budget and service delivery and development. b) To provide leadership, performance management and professional development of the staff of the Devon Audit Partnership to ensure a highly skilled, motivated and consistent performing service that meet

3 the specific needs of all clients, and the professional standards of the CIPFA Code of Practice for Internal Audit in Local Government. c) To support and guide Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council, their Audit Committees and their respective Directors of Finance (or equivalent), in the fulfilment of their statutory duties to administer and manage the functions of the Councils with good financial control, probity and accountability. To achieve this through ensuring the provision of an adequate and effective internal audit service that performs to high standards of quality and professional standards. d) To prepare and deliver the Internal Audit Strategy and risk-based audit plans covering the whole authority for each of the 3 Councils (including partnerships) to provide an independent opinion on the effectiveness of internal control and corporate governance environment as required by the Accounts and Audit regulations. e) To review Council-wide systems and procedures to ensure: compliance with policies, plans, procedures, laws and regulations which could have significant impact on operations that assets and other resources are safeguarded from loss and waste the reliability, integrity and security of financial and operating information the efficient, economic and effective use of resources f) To provide a consultancy and advisory service across all partner Councils on many diverse and major strategic and operational projects and initiatives to improve performance, meet Council objectives, statutory obligations etc (e.g. LAA s, Transformational Change, PFI, waste management, etc.) g) To prepare and maintain the Anti-fraud and Corruption policies of the three Councils. As a nominated contact under the Whistleblowing Policy, to ensure that all allegations of financial irregularity are investigated robustly, professionally and sensitively, to provide a satisfactory response to the allegations and to protect the Councils, their staff and other stakeholders. Where appropriate, to ensure that such investigations support subsequent disciplinary actions and/or police prosecutions. h) To work in partnership with other bodies (e.g. external auditors, Police, external contractors and consultants, health, voluntary and community sector) to secure robust internal controls to protect the Councils interests and to secure value for money. i) To act as the audit expert for all clients, with a leading role in supporting their Audit Committees, governing bodies and senior managers to ensure compliance with all statutory requirements and to achieve sound financial control. To provide objective opinions and

4 information to Audit Committees to enable them to discharge their corporate governance responsibilities in relation to the effectiveness of the risk management, internal control environment and anti-fraud arrangements. j) To be responsible for the strategic development of the Devon Audit Partnership and its client base, with particular regard to the identification and implementation of modern audit techniques and integrated electronic system solutions, and exploiting opportunities for extending the client base and/or further partnership working k) To value and develop the audit staff. To support their continuous improvement and development of skills by encouraging and supporting their attainment of professional qualifications, the application of coaching, mentoring and other developmental activities and by the establishment of clear performance standards and objectives ( utilising the Appraisal process and regular strategic review meetings to monitor and support compliance). 4. ORGANISATION (a) Draw an organisation chart that shows clearly your job, your immediate supervisor, his/her supervisor, colleagues who also report to your supervisor and your subordinates, giving full titles. The postholder is directly accountable to (and will report to) the Devon Audit Partnership Joint Committee (elected members from all constituency Councils) and to the Partnership Management Board (Directors of Finance/ Section 151 Officers) for the direction, development and performance of the partnership. Meetings of the Joint Committee are to be held twice yearly and the management Board usually on a quarterly basis, so the postholder has considerable autonomy for the operational and performance management of the partnership. The performance of the postholder will be reviewed by the Management Partnership Board who will also provide necessary support. Any specific issues relating to the internal and support functions of the Host organisation will be discussed and agreed with the Director of Finance IT & Trading of the Host authority, to comply with the expectation in the Code of Practice for Internal Audit in Local Government that the Head of Internal Audit should not report to or be managed at a lower organisational level than the corporate management team. As the appointment of the Head of Partnership is the first stage of creating the new organisation out of the 3 Councils existing Internal Audit sections, there is as yet no organisational chart. It will be one of the first responsibilities of the postholder to create an effective management and staffing structure from the existing 42 posts. For information, a table showing the existing posts in the 3 current sections, including post titles and grades, is attached.

5 (b) Briefly describe the major responsibilities of your immediate subordinates and explain how you supervise them e.g day to day contact, weekly meetings, control procedures The post will supervise 42 professional audit staff. As described above, as the postholder will need to create the management and staffing structure as a first priority, details of immediate subordinates are not yet known. However, it is likely that the structure below the Head of Partnership will consist of a number of lead/client managers, Principal audit managers who will be supported by a number of senior auditors and auditors organised within teams. Team leadership will occur through a Strategic Leadership team of the Head of Partnership and three or more Client Managers. Direction and management will take place through regular briefing sessions and meetings. The formal regular meetings of the Leadership team (Head of Partnership with the lead managers) and specific one to one meetings with the Client Managers covering strategic/directorate/partnership information, management and administrative issues and current professional developments. There will also be ad-hoc meetings with Audit Managers and other audit staff as necessary, supplemented by verbal and written briefings. Annual appraisals (and 6-month reviews) will be carried out for all staff. The major responsibilities of the Senior Audit Managers / Lead Managers include:- Planning and delivering, in conjunction with clients and other sections of the Councils, audit plans for those clients for whom they are nominated as the audit manager Planning and managing the use of audit resources available, to include regular liaison and forward planning with other managers within the team Ensuring that all work is carried out efficiently with proper professional care as laid out in CIPFA guidance and the Partnership s agreed procedures Contributing to the development and improvement of the audit service provided by the Partnership Supervising and managing members of the audit team Assisting in the development of staff through the Corporate Appraisal scheme.

6 (c) Briefly describe the nature of the reporting relationship which exists between yourself and the Chief Executive/.Director or Head of Department to whom you are accountable The postholder will be primarily responsible and report to elected members through the Devon Audit Partnership Joint Committee and the respective Audit Committees of the 3 constituent Councils. He / she will also report to the Partnership Management Board. Significant decisions (e.g. appointment, dismissal and / or performance management of the Head of Partnership) will be joint decisions of the Partnership Management Board. Each of these reporting relationships will be exercised through regular meetings (Governance arrangements specify at least two formal meetings of the Partnership Joint Committee and quarterly meetings of the Partnership Management Board.) and discussions, both formal and informal. As the postholder has sole responsibility for the provision of the professional audit service for each of the Councils, it is not expected that there would be a need to refer managerial or technical matters for guidance. The postholder has significant freedom to act and take decisions, using initiative, knowledge, skills and experience to do so. The Head of Partnership will be based within the Host authority and will utilise and follow the internal support services and arrangements such as financial regulations and processes and HR practices. As such, the postholder will discuss and agree any internal host issues that may arise with the Director of Finance IT & Trading. The performance of the Head of Partnership will be formally reviewed through the Partnership Management Board.

7 5 JOB CONTEXT The purpose of this section is to aid understanding of your job by setting it in its proper context. Describe (a) (b) Key features of the Council s policies and practices which affect the services for which you are responsible How your job relates to the work of other officers, groups, Committees, general public both within and outside the Council. In particular, you should identify the nature and extent of contact that you must maintain with elected members outside formal committee meetings. Background Internal Audit is a unique, strategic function within each Authority in that it is independent of any other Council function, thereby enabling it to carry out its statutory duties of providing an unbiased and objective opinion on the Council s internal control and governance arrangements. However, the responsibilities of the post require knowledge, integration, co-ordination and interaction across the whole of the three Councils functions (including partnerships and outside bodies) to be able to plan, organise and deliver a strategic and annual audit programme and provide consultancy services to meet the Authority s strategic requirements. Auditors are the only employees who have unrestricted access to all Council premises, assets, records, information, etc. which they consider relevant in carrying out their responsibilities. The Chief Auditor (which position the Head of the Partnership fulfils for all 3 constituent Councils) occupies a key scrutiny and consultancy role and has direct access to the Chief Executive, the Council, the Executive / Cabinet, the Audit Committee and all other Council committees. (a) The Councils have a statutory duty to maintain an adequate and effective internal audit to comply with the Accounts and Audit Regulations. The Director of Finance (or equivalent), as the responsible financial officer (Section 151 Officer) under the Local Government Act, has a duty to maintain effective systems of financial control. The Internal Audit function that the postholder manages plays a critical role in meeting these statutory requirements. Key policies and practices with direct links to this role include the Councils Constitution, Financial Regulations, Standards for Tenders and Contracts, Procurement Policy, Risk Management Strategy, and Whistleblowing Policy. In addition to this Performance Management frameworks, Performance Indicators and Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) have increased the role and profile of Internal Audit, both in responding to assessments of its own performance and in providing independent evidence for such assessments of the performance of other units or directorates. Recent

8 changes that require the Chief Auditor s certification for Councils to receive a significant level of funding (for instance, through LPSA and LAA), have increased the importance of Internal Audit in these key areas. (b) Internal relationships Audit Committee each Council has an Audit Committee whose terms of reference include responsibility for monitoring the performance of Internal Audit and approving its annual audit programme. In addition, provides the Committee s of each partner authority with professional audit opinion on the Council s overall control environment which they use as a basis for signing off the Authority s annual Statement of Accounts. Deputy Leader in some of the Councils there is regular contact with senior members, such as the Cabinet Member responsible for Internal Audit, discussing internal audit coverage and significant issues emanating from audit reviews. Members e.g. reporting on business plans and performance to the Partnership Audit Joint Committee (elected member representatives from the three Councils) and attendance at committee meetings to provide professional advice. Provision of training, irregularity issues, etc. CMB / CMT (both collectively and individually) working closely to coordinate the planning and development of the IA programme to ensure maximum effectiveness across the diverse, major functions and partnerships of the Councils (at both strategic and operational level); review audit conclusions and implementation of recommendations to ensure corporate objectives are achieved and performance improved Directors / Heads of Service working closely on many and varied issues, including progressing audit reviews, leading and co-ordinating special investigations; providing consultancy and advice services encompassing risk management, internal control, ethical and governance issues. Other officers as necessary dependant upon the nature and complexity of the issue it may be necessary to liaise with any officer of the Councils and could range from the interview of a member of staff reporting a potential irregularity under the Whistleblowing Policy to providing training / facilitation on a specialist governance issue. External relationships External Auditors (currently the Audit Commission for Devon and Torbay, Grant Thornton for Plymouth) close liaison and co-operation on the respective internal and external audit coverage in relation to the Managed Audit arrangements (where the external auditors use and rely on work performed by Internal Audit); sharing information (e.g.

9 National Fraud Initiative, complex multi-system documentation); electorate complaints, etc. External clients regular liaison with senior managers and members and all levels of officers at external client organisations, including Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service, and Dartmoor National Park Authority. Partners potentially with any partner of the Councils (e.g. Health, Police, PFI partners, Strategic Partners, LAA s, etc.) where Internal Audit will liaise, advise on governance arrangements necessary to protect the Councils. Various Govt Departments, Agencies and Inspectorates e.g. DCLG, DCSF, HMRC, GOSW, BFI, CSCI. Other Local Authorities e.g. exploring potential partnership working, networking, benchmarking, etc. School governors / Schools Forum e.g. schools audit coverage, training, Financial Management Standards in Schools (FMSIS). Members of the Public e.g. complaints against the Authority, whistleblowing, fraud and corruption special investigations. External contractors e.g. construction contractors, IT suppliers, audit contractors. 6. KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE (1) The postholder must have highly developed strategic and operational Leadership skills to provide clear direction to the new partnership and develop effective working relationships and performance of the new organisation. Likewise, the postholder must be experienced in managing change, exploiting new opportunities and developing a positive performance management and improvement culture. (2) It is essential that the postholder has highly developed networking and partnership working skills to build effective long lasting relationships with a wide range of internal and external clients. (3) Contract management, business planning, effective negotiating and influencing skills will be essential requirements of this postholder (4) The ability to think strategically and demonstrate and apply innovative solutions to improve working practices, service delivery, to drive through efficiency savings and respond positively to changing circumstances. Encouraging and developing others within the Partnership to model this approach will be equally important. (5) The ability to lead, motivate and develop the skills and potential of all audit staff is important. Coaching and mentoring experience and skills and using innovative training and development activities will be essential to develop fully and empower key professionals within the partnership to

10 enable them to increase their flexibility and breadth of competencies in order to deliver high quality services to clients. (6) It is essential that the post holder has knowledge and understanding of relevant finance Acts and Statutory Instruments that impact on the delivery of an effective Internal Audit Service for the County Council. These include the Local Government Act, Accounts and Audit Regulations, and Code of Practice for Internal Audit in Local Government. Within client Councils a good knowledge and experience of corporate policies, plans and partnership arrangements are required. (7) It is essential that the post holder has knowledge and understanding of the Regulations and Codes of Practice that apply to external clients. These include codes from the Home Office, Treasury and Department for Children, Schools & Families. (8) The Head of Partnership needs to be professionally qualified (CCAB / MIIA) to comply with the requirements of Code of Practice for Internal Audit in Local Government. (9) It is essential that the post holder has experience of managing budgets and understands accounting disciplines and practice. (10) In depth technical knowledge and experience of modern audit practices and procedures. (11) Ability to plan and develop business solutions, develop and maintain client base. (12) Numerate and excellent verbal and written communication skills are required, with strong skills in negotiating and influencing, as a figurehead of influence both to the internal audit team and to the wider external environment. 7. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The Government agenda affecting the local delivery of public services has imposed a number of requirements on all Councils in recent years. These include a series of White Papers on Corporate Governance and Ethical Frameworks, the introduction of the Best Value regime, followed more recently by the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA), Local Public Service Agreements(LPSA) and Local Area Agreements (LAA). Internal Audit has played an increasingly important role in assisting the Councils in responding to each of these initiatives. The development and maintenance of a reliable, professional and high quality Internal Audit Service is thus a crucial part in the Council achieving and demonstrating high standards of financial management, probity and accountability. The new Devon Audit Partnership will build on that contribution from the 3 existing Internal Audit Sections to create a unit capable of providing further coordinated support to the Councils in meeting future challenges. In managing the Partnership that will play this key role, the post of Head of Partnership is a significant part of the Councils Corporate Governance Frameworks.

11 APPROVAL SIGNED We confirm that this questionnaire conveys a full and accurate description of the job as at 21//10/2008. Chief Officer (or nominee) Director of Finance IT & Trading

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