Audit Summary Report. Date. Last saved: 26/01/ :33:00. Data Quality Management Arrangements. Bexley Council. Audit 2006/07

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1 Audit Summary Report Date Last saved: 26/01/ :33:00 Data Quality Management Arrangements Audit 2006/07

2 The Audit Commission is an independent body responsible for ensuring that public money is spent economically, efficiently and effectively, to achieve high-quality local and national services for the public. Our remit covers more than 15,000 bodies which between them spend nearly 125 billion of public money every year. Our work covers local government, housing, health, criminal justice and fire and rescue services. As an independent watchdog, we provide important information on the quality of public services. As a driving force for improvement in those services, we provide practical recommendations and spread best practice. As an independent auditor, we monitor spending to ensure public services are good value for money. Document Control Author Andy Mack Filename BE151 DQMS Full Version Status of our reports to the Council Our reports are prepared in the context of the Statement of Responsibilities of Auditors and Audited Bodies issued by the Audit Commission. Reports are prepared by appointed auditors and addressed to members or officers. They are prepared for the sole use of the audited body, and no responsibility is taken by auditors to any member or officer in their individual capacity, or to any third party. Copies of this report If you require further copies of this report, or a copy in large print, in Braille, on tape, or in a language other than English, please call Audit Commission 2005 For further information on the work of the Commission please contact: Audit Commission, 1st Floor, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4HQ Tel: Fax: Textphone (minicom):

3 Data Quality Management Arrangements Contents 3 Contents Introduction 4 Background 4 Audit approach 5 Main conclusions 6 Next Steps 6 Final score awarded 7 Appendix 1 Detailed Conclusions 8 Appendix 2 Action Plan 11

4 4 Data Quality Management Arrangements Audit Summary Report Introduction 1 This review of 's management arrangements for ensuring data quality forms stage one of the Audit Commission's new approach to the audit of performance indicators in local government. This new approach has been developed so that it will both: Enable auditors to deliver their 2005/06 conclusion on the authority's arrangements to secure value for money (specifically the arrangements for "monitoring and reviewing performance, including arrangements to ensure data quality"), and Support the Commission's CPA function. 2 We are grateful to the Council for agreeing to assist us in the piloting of this work. How this report, and the work completed during piloting, will inform the final conclusions as discussed later in the 'Next Steps' section from paragraph 7. Background 3 The new approach to data quality audits comprises three stages as follows: Stage 1: Review of overall management arrangements to secure data quality Stage 2: Completeness check of reported performance information Arithmetic check of calculations for CPA indicators Stage 3: Data quality spot checks A more in-depth review of specified performance indicators

5 Data Quality Management Arrangements Audit Summary Report 5 Audit approach 4 Stage one is based on a review of documentation and a series of interviews with officers across five main areas, subdivided into twelve key lines of enquiry (KLoE) as shown below: 1 - Governance & Leadership Responsibility for data quality is clearly defined The body has clear data quality objectives The body has effective arrangements for monitoring and review of data quality 2 - Policies & Procedures A policy for data quality is in place, supported by a current set of operational procedures and guidance Policies and procedures are followed by staff and applied consistently throughout the organisation 3 - Systems & Processes Are there appropriate systems in place for the collection, recording, analysis and reporting of data and are staff supported in their use of these systems The body has appropriate controls in place to ensure that information systems secure the quality of data Security arrangements for information systems are robust and business continuity plans are in place An effective management framework for external data is in place 4 - People & Skills The body has communicated clearly the responsibilities of staff for achieving data quality The organisation has arrangements in place to ensure that staff have the necessary skills in relation to data quality 5 - Data Use The body has put in place arrangements and controls that are focused on securing data which are accurate, valid, reliable, timely, relevant and complete 5 The Council's management arrangements in each area are scored from 1 to 4. The scores describe arrangements as follows: Level 1 - inadequate performance Level 2 - adequate performance Level 3 - performing well Level 4 - performing strongly

6 6 Data Quality Management Arrangements Audit Summary Report Main conclusions 6 The preliminary conclusions of our work are summarised in the table below. Further detail on these scores, including measures that the Council should consider to help it achieve best practice, is shown at appendix 1. Preliminary Conclusions of Review into 's Data Quality Management Arrangements Review Area Governance & Leadership 2 Policies & Procedures 2 Systems & Processes 3 People & Skills 3 Data Use 3 Overall management arrangements Audit Commission provisional score 3 Scores are provisional pending the outcome of detailed reviews at Stage 3 and issuance of final guidance Next Steps 7 We are required to finalise our management arrangements score by 29 September The factors that may influence the score before it is finalised are: Issuance of final guidance. As a pilot site, this audit has been conducted using draft guidance, with the final version due to be issued by the end of May. Once the final guidance is issued we will apply our evidence accordingly and seek new evidence where necessary. This may result in an amended score but this is unlikely. Outcome of stage 3. The detailed review of a sample of indicators will take place between July and September. Our findings from the review of indicators will lead us to revisit our findings and may result in an amended score. 8 There is also opportunity for the Council to provide us with further evidence to help inform our judgement before the September deadline. 9 We will, however, be using this provisional judgement to scope the extent of the work we complete at stage three. Based on a score of "3", we will therefore be examining 8-10 indicators in detail between July and September. The specific

7 Data Quality Management Arrangements Audit Summary Report 7 indicators to be examined will be decided in the beginning of July and the Council notified at that time. 10 A score of "3" is also sufficient to enable us to respond positively to the data quality component of the value for money conclusion to be given on the Council at the end of September. Final score awarded 11 Following a review of the final guidance issued by the Audit Commission in June 2006 and completion of the work on stages 2 and 3 of the data quality audit, the management arrangements score of 3 was confirmed. 12 The full text of the submission to the Audit Commission (which was limited to 250 characters) read as follows: Governance - 2 Policies - 2 Systems - 3 People - 3 Data Use - 3 Overall strong arrangements, good use of data in decision making. Areas for improvement concern greater corporate consideration of DQ as a risk area. 13 The Council's DQ statement within its Best Value Performance Plan was also forwarded to the Performance Information team as an example of Local Authority notable practice.

8 8 Data Quality Management Arrangements Appendix 1 Detailed Conclusions Appendix 1 Detailed Conclusions Governance and Leadership Component score: 2 Key Findings Day-to-day responsibility for data quality is clearly defined. The Policy and Performance Team provide effective leadership and co-ordination, and responsibility for the collection and reporting of performance indicators is assigned to Assistant Directors and Heads of Service. The Council has a good track in producing reliable and timely performance indicators. Performance information is considered regularly by the management board and by Members (eg through quarterly monitoring statements). The focus at senior level has tended to be on performance outcomes rather than data quality, and specific issues relating to data quality are not currently considered on a routine basis. The Council recognises the need to increase the focus on data quality, and detailed proposals have been set out in the Best Value Performance Plan (2006). There are also plans to draw up a formal strategy which will be adopted by the Management board. Recommendations R1 Develop a formal strategy for data quality, for approval by the Board. The strategy should include corporate objectives for data quality management and be supported by an associated delivery plan, with clearly defined actions, responsibilities and timescales. R2 Introduce formal procedures so that issues relating to data quality are considered at Board or Director level, and also by those charged with governance (the Audit Committee). Policies & Procedures Component Score: 2 Key Findings The Council does not yet have a formal data quality policy in place. As outlined above, initial proposals on data quality have been included in the 2006 Best Value Performance Plan, and these will form the basis of a subsequent data quality policy. Recommendations R3 Introduce a comprehensive data quality policy, covering data collection, recording, analysis and reporting of data.

9 Data Quality Management Arrangements Appendix 1 Detailed Conclusions 9 Key Findings Recommendations R4 The policy should be reviewed at least annually and updated as and when necessary. Training on the policy should be provided for all relevant staff. Systems & Processes Component Score: 3 Key Findings Systems generally operate effectively, and data are robust. However, previous internal and external audit work has identified some weaknesses in the systems for data collection, recording, analysis and reporting specifically the Care First 21 (IA report dated 2nd March 2006) and Dynix systems. Action is being taken by the Council to address these issues. Adequate support is provided for all staff using information systems. User guides and help desk services are provided. Recommendations R5 Continue to take a proactive approach towards strengthening system controls. R6 Introduce an overarching corporate approach for internal and external data sharing. Data are subject to departmental checks and management review before it is reported to top management especially with regards to PAF, HIP and PLS returns. Departmental checks are supplemented by periodic internal audit reviews. Security arrangements, including access control, are in place for the Council s business critical systems. There are protocols in place for sharing data internally however these are not formally documented

10 10 Data Quality Management Arrangements Appendix 1 Detailed Conclusions People & Skills Component Score: 3 Key Findings The Council has an established performance management framework and staff are clear about their roles and responsibilities regarding data quality. However, data quality is not included in staff job descriptions, and formal training in data quality has not been provided. The Council can demonstrate an effective track record in taking action where weaknesses in data quality are identified. For example, concerns highlighted over the robustness of the Care First 21 system are being addressed through the retraining of relevant staff. Recommendations R7 Ensure that, where appropriate, data quality is incorporated within staff job descriptions. R8 Draw up a programme of formal training for relevant staff on data quality issues. Data Use Component Score: 3 Key Findings The Council can demonstrate effective use of data for day-to-day management of its business. Reported data, particularly data for external reporting, eg BVPIs, are signed off by senior management. Comprehensive controls are in place to support accurate reporting of data, for example, validation, consistency and accuracy checks on key data. Recommendations R9 Ensure that Members and senior management are provided with the opportunity to challenge performance data on a regular basis. This will provide a means of assessing the effectiveness of the Council s performance and inform decision-making. The Council also has a good track record in providing data for audit on a timely basis.

11 Data Quality Management Arrangements Appendix 2 Action Plan 11 Appendix 2 Action Plan Recommendation Priority Responsibility Agreed Comment Date R1 - Develop a formal data quality strategy, for approval by Board. The strategy should include corporate objectives for data quality management and be supported by an associated delivery plan, with clearly defined actions, responsibilities and timescales 2 Taryn Eves Agreed by Management Board Yes Performance Team to draft a more detailed data quality section in the Performance Plan building on the information included in Bexley s 2006/07 Performance Plan and incorporating the key elements highlighted as part of the Audit. To also include an annual action plan setting SMART targets. March 2007 R2 - Introduce formal procedures so that issues relating to data quality are considered at Board or Director level, and also those charged with governance (the Audit Committee) R3 - Introduce a comprehensive data quality policy, covering data collection, recording and analysis of data. R4 - The policy should be reviewed at least annually and updated as and when necessary. Training on the policy should be provided to all relevant staff 2 Taryn Eves Agreed by Management Board 2 Taryn Eves Agreed by Management Board 2 Taryn Eves Agreed by Management Board Yes Yes Yes Draft section to include formal procedures and be agreed by Management Board and Audit Committee and draft copies shared with lead officers involved in data collection, monitoring and sharing for consultation before publication. Policy to be developed in liaison with lead officers and incorporated into the Data Quality section. Copies of this new section on Data Quality to be sent to all officers involved in the collection and monitoring of data. Data Quality section to be reviewed annually and updated where required. March 2007 March 2007 March 2007`

12 12 Data Quality Management Arrangements Appendix 2 Action Plan Recommendation Priority Responsibility Agreed Comment Date R5 - Continue to take a proactive approach towards strengthening system controls 2 Taryn Eves Yes Ongoing R6 -Introduce an overarching corporate approach for internal and external data sharing Lead officers responsible for data collection and monitoring 2 Taryn Eves Lead officers responsible for data collection and sharing Key partners involved in data sharing Yes Continue to work closely with lead officers collecting and monitoring performance data to ensure adequate and reliable systems are in place for data collection. Through the year, regularly check officers are collecting using the correct definitions and monitoring systems remain reliable and producing accurate data. Protocols to be developed in liaison with lead officers responsible for producing and using internal data and those from external sources and agreed by Management Board. Identify best practice from other authorities that have such protocols in place and Audit Commission to identify good practicing authorities. March 2007 Agreed by Management Board Protocols to be built into the Data Quality section in the Performance Plan. Protocols to be developed in liaison with key partners involved in data sharing.

13 Data Quality Management Arrangements Appendix 2 Action Plan 13 Recommendation Priority Responsibility Agreed Comment Date R7 - Ensure that where appropriate data quality is incorporated into job descriptions 1 Taryn Eves Nick Hollier Yes Recommendation noted and further discussions to take place with HR and OD over the next few months to discuss the options. March 2007 Organisational Development R8 - Draw up a formal programme of training for relevant staff on data quality issues Agreed by Management Board 2 Taryn Eves Lead Officers involved in data collection and monitoring Organisational Development Agreed by Management Board Yes To be addressed under the induction programme for all new staff under the topic of performance management and appraisal. Further discussions required with Organisational Development. Summary of key policies and procedures to be sent to all those involved in data collection and sharing to highlight the key messages; e.g. a copy to be sent annually to all those involved collection performance data with the data collection templates at the end of the financial year. April 2007

14 14 Data Quality Management Arrangements Appendix 2 Action Plan Recommendation Priority Responsibility Agreed Comment Date R9 - Ensure that Members and senior managers are provided with the opportunity to challenge performance data on a regular basis. 3 Taryn Eves Yes Board members and Members review the quarterly monitoring statements for each period before publication addressing any performance issues. Ongoing Outturn performance data to be presented to Board members before publication in the performance plan. This already takes place but Board members will be encouraged to address comparisons of the data with last year and the target to identify any outliers. Any variation of more than 10% will be highlighted, performance data will be checked for accuracy and comments provided to explain the variation.

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