Council-under-administration’s Fraud and Corruption Control Framework was out of date, an internal audit found in August 2023.
It also found:
• Council had not performed any Fraud and Corruption Risk Assessments recently.
• No responsibility had been assigned for coordinating the performance of Fraud and Corruption Risk Assessments.
• Awareness of fraud and corruption risks had not been promoted consistently.
• Fraud and corruption training had been ad hoc and had not been tracked.
• Financial controls were not pressure tested.
• No post-transactional reviews or data analytics had occurred to detect indicators of fraud and corruption.
• Exit interviews with terminating personnel had not addressed fraud and corruption issues.
Over the last five years 63 matters of corrupt conduct included:
# 44 per cent; conflict of interest
# 29 per cent; unauthorised access to information and breach of confidentiality
# 14 per cent; theft
# 11 per cent; wrongful use of money
# 2 per cent; abuse of power
The audit – done in August last year – found that opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of financial controls had been identified and were being implemented.
And despite the fraud and corruption framework being out of date – it should have been updated in 2022 – the response element of Council’s Fraud and Corruption Control System was assessed as being strong.
“This is largely a result of Council’s sound governance over misconduct investigations,” the audit stated.
The audit noted that there was a qualified and experienced cohort of in-house investigators available and that outsourced investigators were used where appropriate.
Root Causes of the findings included:
*) Changes of personnel and the organisational focus on addressing the financial crisis.
*) Different parts of the business developing their procedures independently of each other.
*) Different authors not identifying interdependencies between policy documents.
*) A focus on other priorities.
One impact noted by the auditors was that low scale fraud and corruption may not have been given the importance intended by management.
Since then, the council has embarked on a number of improvements and processes, outlined to the Audit Risk and Improvement Committee in December.