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Council / Continued disappointment from councillors at number of outstanding audit recommendations

MORE concerns have been raised over Shetland Islands Council’s backlog of recommendations for change made by internal auditors.

A report presented to a meeting of the SIC’s audit committee on Wednesday said 68 recommendations remained outstanding as of 9 February.

These cover a range of areas including procurement, the use of consultants and finance and payroll processes.

Internal auditor Duncan Black, of Audit Glasgow, said in his view the number of outstanding and long overdue recommendations was “too high”.

He said SIC management have struggled to meet some timeframes.

However Black noted that there had been a slight improvement more recently, adding that some recommendations have partially been met.

There was disappointment from councillors on the size of the backlog, and calls for more resource put into tackling it.

Responding for the SIC, finance manager Paul Fraser said it was a question of “time and focus”.

He warned against implementing actions that are unclear or too wide in scope, and said that a “lack of progress doesn’t indicate lack of work” – with the issue sometimes getting the recommendation over the line.

Black said auditors are happy to have further dialogue with the SIC on the issue.

Audit committee chairman Allison Duncan said welcomed some progress being made, but described it as “very slow”.

The Shetland South councillor said he was disappointed with the number of outstanding recommendations given the initial timescales.

The SIC contracts Audit Glasgow to perform checks on a variety of processes within the local authority.

The auditor then may issue recommendations for improvements for the council to act on.

For example the latest topics which have been audited are the administration of the Coastal Communities Fund and threat and vulnerability management.

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