Morecambe Town Council

Morecambe Town Council signed off its 2022/23 Internal Audit report and the Council’s associated action plan at a meeting of Full Council at Morecambe Town Hall on 18 April.  

Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve a council’s operations. It helps councils accomplish their objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes. It is common for larger town and parish authorities, like Morecambe Town Council, to receive auditor recommendations which are used to make improvements to internal governance in future years.

The 2022/23 Internal Audit, completed by respected auditor Mr John Henry of JDH Business Services Ltd, found that of the 15 internal audit control objectives tested, 3 were not applicable to the authority and 9 had been achieved by the Council, with recommendations on further improvements to internal governance that could be made to strengthen those areas in future years. The 9 areas achieved by the Council included: 

  • Appropriate accounting records were kept throughout the financial year. 
  • The authority complied with its Financial Regulations, payments were supported by invoices, and all expenditure was approved and VAT accounted for.  
  • Significant risks were assessed.  
  • The asset register was complete, accurate, and properly maintained.  
  • Bank account reconciliations were carried out throughout the year. 
  • Accounting statements were prepared on the correct accounting basis and agreed to cash book, supported by an adequate audit trail from underlying records.  
  • AGAR publication requirements were complied with. 

The 3 key areas flagged for improvement by the Internal Auditor were: 

  • Requirements for a more robust budgetary process to adequately resource the Council, specifically maintaining appropriate levels of General Reserves. 
  • Consolidation of information available on the Council’s website 
  • Reduction in the period for which the Council permits its electors to view its accounts. 

Cllr Brett Cooper, Chair of the Council’s Finance and Governance Committee, said, ‘We are pleased to confirm that the three main recommendations made in the internal audit for the Financial Year 2022/23 have already been addressed. Furthermore, we are pleased to share that additional minor recommendations for ways to strengthen our internal procedures have also already been (or are in the process of being) implemented. We would encourage all residents interested to know more to read the full report, auditors comments, and the Council’s action plan, which are now available on our website.

The Council’s finance and governance has been an historical area of weakness, which Councillors and Officers have been working hard to strengthen over the last few years. Best practice and guidance are constantly evolving and the internal audit is a vital process for identifying where any changes are necessary to meet them. We fully anticipated areas for improvement to be identified in the audit for Financial Year 2022/23 and will do so again in Financial Year 2023/24, but we are confident that we will deliver continual improvements year on year.

The full Internal Audit report with the Council’s responses and action plan is now available to read on the Council’s website.

The Council encourages residents with any questions about the report and its recommendations to contact the Council via its website: