Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Internal Audit Review Project Management and Project Delivery Technical Services department. Final Report 2014/15-21

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1 Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Internal Audit Review Project Management and Project Delivery Technical Services department Final Report 2014/ th November 2014

2 PROJECT MANAGEMENT & PROJECT DELIVERY CONTENTS Page SECTION 1 - EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1-6 SECTION 2 - DETAILED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 7-13 SECTION 3 - ACTION PLAN 14 APPENDIX A - RESPECTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES OF MANAGEMENT 15 AND INTERNAL AUDIT APPENDIX B - ISOLATED EXCEPTIONS TO EXPECTED PROCEDURES 16 Date of Visit 1 st September 2014 Draft Report Issued 30 th September 2014 Management Response Received 22 nd October rd November 2014 Final Report Issued 3 rd November 2014 Issued to: Chief Executive Director of Finance & Corporate Resources Director of Technical Services Head of Assets and Infrastructure Principal Engineer External Audit Malcolm Burr Robert Emmott Iain Mackinnon Calum Mackenzie Colin Maciver Karen Jones 4 th November 2014

3 SECTION 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Introduction 1.1 This report has been prepared following an internal audit review of project management and project delivery arrangements and as part of the operational annual internal audit plan for 2014/15. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the Comhairle s arrangements for the operation and management of project delivery within the Technical Services department and in terms of the objectives noted below. Background information 1.2 The Comhairle agreed in 2007 on a priority list for spinal route improvement schemes. The projects identified at the time were: Stockinish to Luskentyre; Carinish to North Ford Improvements; Leverburgh Improvement; and Kildonan Improvement. 1.3 ERDF funding was secured for all the projects through two applications each levering in 500k. The two Harris schemes formed one application and the two Uist schemes formed the second application. The Stockinish to Luskentyre schemes and Carinish to North Uist Ford improvements were completed in June 2011 and March 2012 respectively. Leverburgh and Kildonan improvements schemes were completed in December The Comhairle in November 2013 approved expenditure on two further capital programmes previously identified through the approved scoring mechanism for Spinal Route projects. The two projects were Stockinish in Harris and Carinish in North Uist. Both projects were also funded through the ERDF with a capped intervention rate of 25% up to a maximum of 500k. 1.5 The extant prioritised lists projects for both Spinal Route and Roads to Communities programmes were established on the basis of the criteria agreed by the Comhairle. The Director of Technical Services has recently reviewed the evaluation processes and extant programme and on the basis that there are no material changes to either the criteria on which the scoring was based or the outcome of the scoring exercise itself and it was considered that the current priorities still reflect the best options for asset and infrastructure improvement for the foreseeable future. 4 th November

4 SECTION 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (CONTINUED) 1.6 External Audit undertook a review of capital projects and concluded that the Comhairle s control environment over capital contracts is operating effectively. To promote continuous improvement it was recommended that detailed formal appraisals of completed projects be carried out and where consultants have been engaged, their performance be subject to a post completion review. Internal audit objective 1.7 In accordance with the remit outlined within the operational annual internal audit plan for 2014/15 and further documented within the agreed terms of reference, our internal audit work was designed to obtain assurance that the Comhairle s arrangements for project management and project delivery within the Technical Services department were appropriate and operating as expected. In practice, we assessed whether the overall objective was being achieved by confirming that:- The organisation demonstrates VFM in all the services provided/supported and evidences that alternatives have been adequately considered, where available and appropriate; Prior to the Projects being approved for construction, they were soundly researched, planned and fitted well with the strategic objectives of the Comhairle; An authorised officer certifies all payments to contractors and there are checks to ensure that payments are processed only where certified appropriately. The contract also specifies the payment details; Detailed valuations are prepared to support the issue of interim certificates. Measurements submitted by the contractor, or prepared by the quantity surveyor or engineer, are checked and agreed before issue of the valuation; There is a record of all payments made to each contractor and details of what the payment relates to (e.g. period of work charged for). Amounts included in respect of nominated sub-contractors and suppliers are supported adequately (e, g. invoices prepared in accordance with tender quotation); All rates and prices included in interim valuations are checked and consistent with the contract; Variation orders issued solely by those authorised to do so under the contract. All variation orders are signed and dated by the relevant officers after all costings and calculations are checked, etc; 4 th November

5 SECTION 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (CONTINUED) Procurement is carried out in line with the Comhairle s Contract and Financial Regulations; Sufficient capital and revenue funding is in place; A post completion assessment has been undertaken to confirm quality, durability and any remedial work, if applicable, has been undertaken; and Delivery of the capital works has been within the planned timescales and any overrun has been reported to Members together with appropriate explanations and cost implications to the Comhairle. 1.8 Areas of good practice Commitment of staff within the Technical Services department to provide a good service; Good financial monitoring of expenditure incurred on the spinal route. 1.9 Concluding remarks Our detailed findings are included in the body of this report. We would point out that the most significant issues arising from our review which require management attention are: Confirm that the contract documentation in this case allows the Comhairle to accept the lowest measurable version although a lower priced lump sum version was submitted from another contractor; (Para 2.3) In contracts where a dual stage award is made, the contract documentation at the 2 nd stage be more explicit in assessing what is deemed the lowest price; (Para 2.3) Confirm that the Comhairle were able to negotiate additional works prior to awarding the contract for the Kildonan Road Improvement; (Para 2.3) and In future where additional expenditure out with the contract price and specification is being incurred over a pre-determined amount, the required variation orders are completed and signed off by either the Head of Assets and Infrastructure or the Director of Technical Services, to offer transparency and an independent check and confirm best value is being achieved.(para 2.4) 4 th November

6 SECTION 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (CONTINUED) 1.10 We have graded our detailed findings and recommendations, based on the likelihood of the identified weakness occurring and the impact on the Comhairle if it should occur, using the following criteria: Grade 1 - Critical High likelihood, High impact (HH) The weakness is almost bound to happen or is already happening (likelihood) and could have a significant impact on the Comhairle s services, reputation, control, financial position, statutory, regulatory or constitutional compliance if not contained Grade 2 - Contingent/Insurable Risk - Low likelihood, High impact (LH) The weakness is unlikely to happen, but would have a significant impact on the Comhairle s services, reputation, control, financial position, statutory, regulatory or constitutional compliance if it did occur Grade 3 - Housekeeping High likelihood, Low impact (HL) The weakness is almost bound to happen or is already happening but is unlikely to have a material impact on the Comhairle s services, reputation, control, financial position, statutory, regulatory or constitutional compliance, and can be contained Grade 4 - Value for Money High likelihood, Value for money impact (HV) The weakness is almost bound to happen or is already happening but if contained would have a positive impact on economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of resources Where we have identified isolated exceptions in our sample testing, and we consider that: - They are unlikely to recur; and Would have no significant impact if they should occur, We have classified them as low likelihood and low impact (LL), discussed them with relevant officers and detailed them in Appendix B to this report. 4 th November

7 SECTION 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (CONTINUED) 1.11 Our recommendations can be summarised and prioritised as follows: Recommendation 2.1 The Technical Services department continue to pursue contractors who have not returned the authenticated VAT receipt to demonstrate that reasonable efforts have been made to have in place full documentation and to prevent the requirement of a Voluntary Declaration to HMRC. 2.2 Outstanding award notices for the Spinal Route be published on the Public Contracts Scotland Portal. Overall grading Confirm that the contract documentation in this case allows the Comhairle to accept the lowest measurable version although a lower priced lump sum version was submitted from another contractor. In contracts where a dual stage award is made the contract documentation at the 2 nd stage be more explicit in assessing what is deemed the lowest price. Confirm that the Comhairle were able to negotiate additional works prior to awarding the contract for the Kildonan Road Improvement. 2.4 In future where additional expenditure out with the contract price and specification is being incurred over a pre-determined amount, the required variation orders are completed and signed off by either the Head of Assets and Infrastructure or the Director of Technical Services, to offer transparency and an independent check and confirm best value is being achieved. 2.5 Post completion assessment and reviews be undertaken to confirm, quality durability and any remedial work, if applicable, has been undertaken. 4 th November

8 SECTION 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (CONTINUED) 1.12 We would like to thank all staff for the co-operation and goodwill we received during the course of our internal audit fieldwork. For Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar Internal Audit Section Internal Audit Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar Sandwick Road Stornoway Isle of Lewis HS1 2BW 4 th November th November

9 SECTION 2 - DETAILED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 2.1 FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS RISK RANKING RECOMMENDATION GRADE MANAGEMENT L I COMMENT Control objective 4: Detailed valuations are prepared to support the issue of interim certificates. Measurement submitted by the contractor, or prepared by the Engineer or Quantity Surveyor are checked and agreed before valuation. We undertook a sample of 24 payments L H The Technical Services 2 Agreed. made to contractors to assess that payments department continue to pursue were appropriate. Our test identified that 3 contractors who have not out of the 24 payments were not supported returned the authenticated VAT by the relevant authenticated VAT receipt receipt to demonstrate that which has to be signed and dated by the reasonable efforts have been contractor to allow the recovery of VAT. made to have in place full The value of the VAT recovered without documentation and to prevent appropriate supporting document was 51k the requirement for a Voluntary and was for the period June 2013 to Declaration to HMRC. January We are advised that the Technical Services department are actively pursuing contractors to return the forms sent out. There may be a risk that the Comhairle will have to make a Voluntary Declaration to HMRC. 4 th November

10 SECTION 2 - DETAILED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS (CONTINUED) 2.1 FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS RISK RANKING RECOMMENDATION GRADE MANAGEMENT L I COMMENT Control objective 8: Procurement is carried out in line with the Comhairle s Contract and Financial Regulations At the time of our review we identified that H L Outstanding award notices for 3 Implemented. a number of award of contract notices in the Spinal Route be published on relation to the spinal route have not been the Public Contracts Scotland published on the Public Contracts Scotland Portal. website. It is important for the purposes of transparency and recording of procurement activity that an award notice be published for every contract awarded. The following contracts have outstanding contract award notices: A865 Kildonan Road Improvement Estimated award date: 26/11/12 A859 Stockinish Improvement Phase 2 Estimated award date: 07/07/14 A865 Carinish Improvement Phase 2 Estimated award date: 04/08/14 4 th November

11 2.3 SECTION 2 - DETAILED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS (CONTINUED) FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS RISK RANKING RECOMMENDATION GRADE MANAGEMENT L I COMMENT Control objective 8: Procurement is carried out in line with the Comhairle s Contract and Financial Regulations. When contract notices are posted on Public L H Confirm that the contract Contract Scotland Portal website for the documentation in this case second stage tender process for the Spinal allows the Comhairle to accept 2 Route the contract is procured using the the lowest measurable version Infrastructure Conditions of Contract as this provided best value for Measured Version with the option for the Comhairle although a lower contractors to provide lump sum priced lump sum version was alternative prices. submitted by another contractor. The measurable version of the contract contains a Bill of Quantities which is estimated and not final and includes a contingency sum to allow for quantity increases. During the construction period, the actual quantity of works executed L H In contracts where a dual stage under each bill of quantity is measured and award is made, the contract valued in accordance with the method of documentation at the 2 nd stage 2 measurement and the conditions of be more explicit in assessing contract for interim payment purposes. At what is deemed the lowest price. the completion of the contract, the exact quantities of work finally executed will be re-measured and agreed. Lump sum variations normally come in at higher price because all the risk transfers to the Contractor, including financial risk. Continued. There was provision for two alternative prices and it was necessary for the Project Engineer to reach a view on which option would give the Comhairle the lowest price and most opportunity for cost control and the tender report outlined that this considered to be the use of the re-measurable contract. The tender documents provide the discretion to reach such a technical conclusion. For future capital contracts, the wording within Instructions for Tendering document will be amended to further clarify the Comhairle s position regarding award of contracts on price only basis. 4 th November

12 SECTION 2 - DETAILED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS (CONTINUED) 2.3 FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS RISK RANKING RECOMMENDATION GRADE MANAGEMENT L I COMMENT Control objective 8: Procurement is carried out in line with the Comhairle s Contract and Financial Regulations. Continued. We are advised that depending on the level of complexity perceived by the contractor, a lump sum may come in lower than a remeasured tender when the contingency sum is realistic and tender information is robust. The Tender Assessment report - November 2012 prepared for the re-tender of Leverburgh Road Improvement awarded the contract on a re-measurable basis although the lump sum submission by another contractor was lower. All contractors were advised of the successful contractor and price accepted by letter, prior to commencement of the work. The award was made on the grounds that it would allow the Comhairle the ability to create and retain financial savings during construction and to allow sufficient spend on the Kildonan Project thus ensuring maximum ERDF contribution on the Uist ERDF application. Continued. 4 th November

13 SECTION 2 - DETAILED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS (CONTINUED) 2.3 FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS RISK RANKING RECOMMENDATION GRADE MANAGEMENT L I COMMENT Control objective 8: Procurement is carried out in line with the Comhairle s Contract and Financial Regulations. Continued. The Measurable contract was priced at 918, which was the lowest measurable priced submission. However, the lowest lump sum submission offered by another contractor was 843, The tender assessment report states that at the 2 nd stage in the tendering process, tenders are assessed only on price, as the qualitative assessment have already been carried out at the PQQ stage. In this instance the Comhairle did not accept the lowest price and as a result may be unable to demonstrate that they have achieved best value. It should be noted that the remeasured tender price included a 90k contingency sum. As detailed in the tender report, the view at that time was that as the most complex part of the scheme had already been removed it was considered unlikely that the whole of the contingency sum would be required. If the contingency sum was not used the final out turn cost of the remeasured contract would be less than the lump sum price ( 918k less 90k) 4 th November

14 SECTION 2 - DETAILED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS (CONTINUED) 2.4 FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS RISK RANKING RECOMMENDATION GRADE MANAGEMENT L I COMMENT Control objective 8: Procurement is carried out in line with the Comhairle s Contract and Financial Regulations. When the tender submissions for Kildonan Confirm that the Comhairle were prices were submitted accepting the lowest able to negotiate additional tender price (lump sum) this resulted in an works prior to awarding the under commitment of ERDF funding of L H contract for the Kildonan Road 2 approximately 119,000. The Director of Improvement. Technical Services was authorised to negotiate an additional lump sum to provide an extended design within the surplus available and the tender was renegotiated and increased by a further 120,124.40: this figure was still lower than the second placed tender price submitted. Additional expenditure had to be incurred by the Comhairle on the Leverburgh Road Improvement Contract due to structural failure as heavy rainfall caused blocking of the drains amounting to 12, Further additional expenditure of 57, was also agreed between staff in Technical Service including overlaying, as the contractor was already on site this was deemed best value. Expenditure incurred was also partly funded out of Roads to Communities Capital monies. 4 th November H V In future where additional expenditure outwith the contract price and specification is being incurred over a pre-determined amount, the required variation orders are completed and signed off by either the Head of Assets and Infrastructure or the Director of Technical Services, to offer transparency and an independent check and confirm best value is being achieved. 4 All post tender negotiations conducted with a view to the alteration of the tender price shall be confirmed in writing. Negotiations will be carried out with the lowest tender initially. If negotiations fail then the second lowest tender may be approached. This procedure may be repeated until an acceptable tender is achieved. Agreed.

15 SECTION 2 - DETAILED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS (CONTINUED) 2.5 FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS RISK RANKING RECOMMENDATION GRADE MANAGEMENT L I COMMENT Control objective 10: A post completion assessment has been undertaken to confirm, quality durability and any remedial work, if applicable has been undertaken. Post completion reviews are not routinely H V Post completion assessments be 4 Post completion surveys are undertaken as part of the delivery of capital undertaken for all capital carried out prior to substantial projects so that lessons learnt can be projects to confirm, quality, completion; these identify any incorporated into future capital projects. durability and remedial work, if remedial works that should be applicable, has been undertaken. completed during the maintenance period (12 months). The works are assessed again at the end of the maintenance period and remedial works instructed where applicable prior to issue of maintenance certificate. 4 th November

16 SECTION 3 - ACTION PLAN Ref. RECOMMENDATION RESPONSIBLE OFFICER 2.1 The Technical Services department continue to Business Manager pursue contractors who have not returned the Technical Services authenticated VAT receipt to demonstrate that department. reasonable efforts have been made to have in place full documentation and to prevent the requirement of a Voluntary Declaration to HMRC. 2.2 Outstanding award notices for the Spinal Route Principal Engineer. be published on the Public Contracts Scotland Portal. 2.3 Confirm that the contract documentation in this case allows the Comhairle to accept the lowest measurable version although a lower priced lump sum version was submitted from another contractor. In contracts where a dual stage award is made, the contract documentation at the 2 nd stage be more explicit in assessing what is deemed the lowest price. Confirm that the Comhairle were able to negotiate additional works prior to awarding the contract for the Kildonan Road Improvement. 2.4 In future where additional expenditure out with the contract price and specification is being incurred over a pre-determined amount, the required variation orders are completed and signed off by either the Head of Assets and Infrastructure or the Director of Technical Services, to offer transparency and an independent check and confirm best value is being achieved. 2.5 Post completion assessments be undertaken for all capital projects to confirm, quality, durability and remedial work, if applicable, has been undertaken. Post completion assessments be undertaken for all capital projects to confirm, quality, durability and remedial work, if applicable, has been undertaken. Head of Executive Office/ Head of Executive Office. Principal Engineer. Principal Engineer. Principal Engineer/Head of Assets and Infrastructure. Principal Engineer/Site Engineer. DATE OF IMPLEMENTATION On-going. Implemented. Implemented. Implementation for future projects. Confirmed. Implementation for future projects. Implemented. 14

17 APPENDIX A: RESPECTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES OF MANAGEMENT AND INTERNAL AUDIT Responsibility in relation to internal controls It is the responsibility of the Comhairle s management to maintain adequate and effective financial systems and to arrange for a system of internal controls. Our responsibility as internal auditors is to evaluate the financial systems and associated internal controls. In practice, we cannot examine every financial implication and accounting procedure within an activity, and we cannot substitute for management s responsibility to maintain adequate systems of internal controls over financial systems. We therefore may not identify all weaknesses that exist in this regard. Responsibilities in relation to fraud and corruption The prime responsibility for the prevention and detection of fraud and irregularities rests with management. They also have a duty to take reasonable steps to limit the opportunity for corrupt practices. It is our responsibility to review the adequacy of these arrangements, but our work does not remove the possibility that fraud, corruption or irregularity may have occurred and remained undetected. We nevertheless endeavour to plan our internal audit work so that we have reasonable expectation of detecting material fraud, but our examination should not be relied upon to disclose all such material frauds that may exist. 15

18 APPENDIX B: ISOLATED EXCEPTIONS TO EXPECTED PROCEDURES AND CONTROLS ITEM ISOLATED EXCEPTION RESPONSIBLE OFFICER None. AGREED Y/N DATE OF DISCUSSION 16

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