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HERTFORDSHIRE POLICE AUTHORITY

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  • 1. HERTFORDSHIRE POLICE AUTHORITY STATEMENT ON INTERNAL CONTROL 2006/07 1 Scope of Responsibility 1.1 Hertfordshire Police Authority is responsible for ensuring that its business is conducted in accordance with the law and proper standards, and that public money is safeguarded and properly accounted for, and used economically, efficiently and effectively. The Police Authority also has a duty under the Local Government Act 1999 to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. 1.2 In discharging this overall responsibility, the Police Authority is also responsible for ensuring that there is a sound system of internal control which facilitates the effective exercise of the Authority’s functions, and which includes arrangements for the management of risk. 1.3 Through 2006/07, the Authority was bound by its Standing Orders and Schemes of Delegation to Committees and to Officers. It delegated, subject to certain requirements, all its functions, except for those which in law were specifically the responsibility of the Authority. In practice, therefore, operational decisions were delegated to the Chief Constable. Policy and decision making 1.4 The full Police Authority had the following roles during the year: • to ensure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force for Hertfordshire, and to consider any matters of policy or strategy which enable this duty to be performed • to set the budget for the police force, including setting the rate for local council taxes for policing • to set local policing policies and targets having regard to national and local objectives • to consider, approve and monitor the performance of the policing plan • to appoint (and, if necessary, dismiss) the chief officers • to consider approve and issue an annual report /home/pptfactory/temp/20100602064838/hertfordshire-police-authority1193.doc 1
  • 2. • to receive the Chief Constable’s report • to receive and comment on the Auditor’s report and any report from HMIC. Objectives 1.5 There was a three-year strategic plan and an annual policing plan, which was based on formal consultation with stakeholders and is approved by the full Police Authority. During 2006/07, there were six key policing priorities in the Policing Plan: • Citizen Focus – to provide a citizen focused police service • Reduce Crime – to work in partnership to reduce overall crime • Investigate Crime – to bring more offenders to justice • Provide Assistance – to provide improved care and assistance to the public • Promote Public Safety – to improve feelings of public safety • Resource Use – to ensure that the Constabulary has the right size workforce with the right skills to meet current and future demands and policing priorities. There were 14 key objectives that were under these six key policing priorities. 2 The Purpose of the system of Internal Control 2.1 The system of internal control was designed to manage risk to a reasonable level rather than to eliminate all risk of failure to achieve policies, aims and objectives; it therefore only provided reasonable and not absolute assurance of effectiveness. The system of internal control was informed by: • the Internal Plan, that set out the broad business objectives, targets and milestones that support the policing priorities outlined in the Annual Policing Plan and three year Strategic Plan /home/pptfactory/temp/20100602064838/hertfordshire-police-authority1193.doc 2
  • 3. • monthly meetings of Wider COM (the Chief Officer and wider management team where policies are set and strategic issues facing the force are discussed and actioned. Additionally monthly business reports on finance and human resources are considered.) • the 28 day OPM (operational performance management meetings) whereby Areas and Departments monitored performance against the annual plan, and the six monthly Operational Control Strategy (produced following a six monthly Operational Strategic Assessment); they identified critical risk issues, and considered financial and human resources issues when appropriate. • the quarterly Intelligence led Policing (ILP) process whereby Area and Departmental performance against local targets is scrutinised by a member of COM • the Strategic Scanning and Problem Solving Board which meets bi- monthly and considers emerging issues and plans • the quarterly Risk Management Forum which re-assess the top 20 risks and the progress that has been made to mitigate them • production of an Organisational Strategic Assessment and Control Strategy, which was reviewed and approved by COM every six months and monitored at the Constabulary Strategic Programme Board every quarter • the Constabulary completed its Business Continuity Plan in the autumn and tested the arrangements in April 2007. The system of internal control was in place within Hertfordshire Police Authority for the year ended 31 March 2007, and up to the date of approval of the annual report and accounts. 3 The Internal Control Environment The key elements of the internal control environment within the Police Authority were as follows. Compliance 3.1 The Standing Orders and Schemes of Delegation set out how members and officers worked to ensure compliance with established policies, procedures, laws and regulations. These are subject to annual review and were last reviewed in May 2006. /home/pptfactory/temp/20100602064838/hertfordshire-police-authority1193.doc 3
  • 4. 3.2 The Police Authority has had a meeting structure that comprised of five committees and seven working groups. One committee dealt exclusively with senior staffing issues and met as required. There was a Forward Plan agreed by the Police Authority that provided the initial areas of work for the other committees and working groups to focus on. The purpose of the Forward Plan was to ensure that members focused on the issues that had the greatest risk to the Authority. The Forward Plan was regularly updated to take account of change as the year progressed. 3.3 The Authority has been developing a Risk Assessment relating to its governance functions, starting with a member training session/ initial assessment in November 2006 and the appointment of a risk lead. 3.4 The Constabulary’s meeting structure draws a clear distinction between Strategic, Policy and Tactical level meetings, with policy being made at the tactical level and only then being escalated for ratification. The revised structure was also in line with CIPFA’s Corporate Governance guidelines. 3.5 The Constabulary has in place a risk management strategy and a risk management forum which meets quarterly to review risks and risk management developments. All members of the forum have received risk management training. During the course of the year the forum has reviewed and updated the Constabulary’s risk register, which includes an assessment of likelihood and impact of risks, mitigating actions and a nominated risk owner. In addition, there is a risk management procedure for all projects, health and safety, and information technology. Risk assessment is also embedded within the Constabulary’s day to day procedures. 3.6 There was regular review of performance against plan as part of the OPM and ILP processes. Any areas where performance fell short of expectation were targeted for improvement, with the Senior Managers being called to account. 3.7 During the year the Constabulary completed work on its corporate business continuity plan and produced local plans for each area and department. The corporate plan was tested in April 2007. Value for money 3.8 The Authority has developed a comprehensive process for identifying and implementing efficiencies, to comply with its Efficiencies Plan and HMIC’s requirements to demonstrate and provide value for money as well as to help address identified future year budget gaps. The Authority participated in the Audit Commission Police Use of Resources review for /home/pptfactory/temp/20100602064838/hertfordshire-police-authority1193.doc 4
  • 5. 2006/07 and awaits the outcome. The Audit Commission assessed the Authority as “consistently above minimum requirements- performing well” for police use of resources in 2005/06. Value for money was considered as part of this assessment and the Authority was assessed similarly as “performing well” for this component. 3.9 The Constabulary continued to use its commissioning process for all projects. Projects start with a mandate which sets out the budget, the IT requirements, the accommodation required, the benefits of the project and the efficiencies that will arise from the project. This has to be signed off by the relevant project board. There is a project manual outlining the Herts process for managing a project and this has to be followed. Once the project has finished there is an independent review. This robust process ensures that projects are kept on track and also deliver benefits and efficiencies for the Constabulary. Financial management 3.10 The full Police Authority approved the budget, after a stringent budget setting process that fully involved staff in the Constabulary and Members of the Police Authority. This process included the allocation of financial resources to different departments, areas and projects, and setting the council tax precept for the Authority, the control of capital expenditure, and the setting of prudential indicators. 3.11 The Authority’s Financial Regulations were reviewed and approved by the Authority in May 2006. These set out the rules for the control and management of the Authority’s finances and assets and ensured the legality of financial transactions. The schemes of delegation to Officers and Committees were also reviewed. The Authority has reviewed and agreed a new Anti-fraud and Corruption policy that takes into account the requirements of the Constabulary and its relationship with the Authority. The Authority plans to produce an additional policy paper specifically for Police Authority Members and its own staff. 3.12 Throughout the year there was regular reporting to the Financial Resources Working Group on the revenue and capital budget performance. The relevant controls, which operated throughout 2006/7, were of a generally high standard. 3.13 The PAV (Police Access Visibility) Estate Strategy continues to be under regular review with a formal annual review being presented to full Police Authority in November 2006. Members are kept fully informed of developments through the Estates Working Group which was created in May 2006. /home/pptfactory/temp/20100602064838/hertfordshire-police-authority1193.doc 5
  • 6. 3.14 Internal Audit undertook a review of the key financial systems, namely: • Budgetary Control • Financial Ledger • Payroll • Pensions • Creditors. These were sound in all significant respects, and showed compliance with current financial regulations; improvements had been made to the control environment. 3.15 Internal Audit also undertook reviews at each of the Basic Command Units and with minor exceptions found the controls in operation to be satisfactory. Recommendations were made where appropriate and these have been accepted. 3.16 In addition to the work above, Internal Audit reviewed the controls in the following areas: • Police Authority Office • Stock and Stores • Risk Management • Interpreters • Cleaning Contract In most respects the controls in operation were satisfactory and where there was potential for improvement Internal Audit made recommendations that have been accepted by the Constabulary and Authority. The most significant weaknesses were in the clothing store where the contractor was unable to supply the required level of service. The Constabulary has plans to address this during 2007/08. 3.17 Follow up of Internal Audit’s work on the Contract Register showed that considerable progress had been made, however there was still some more work required to strengthen control in this area. The Constabulary has /home/pptfactory/temp/20100602064838/hertfordshire-police-authority1193.doc 6
  • 7. plans to conclude this work in 2007/08 along with completing a review of the Contract Regulations and Procurement Principles that were last updated in 2003. Performance Management 3.18 The Authority’s staff monitored performance against key indicators monthly, and Members were kept fully informed. 3.19 The Performance Scrutiny Committee reviewed performance quarterly against the targets in the Policing Plan. The Chair of the Committee also attended the Force’s monthly OPM meetings. The Committee were able to refer items to the full Authority should this be deemed appropriate. Overall performance against all of the objectives was reviewed twice yearly by the Authority. 3.20 The Constabulary’s OPM and ILP processes ensure a strong performance management culture, with focus on both human and financial resource management as well as operational performance. These reviews were at Area and Department level with recourse to the monthly Chief Officers meetings where appropriate. As a result there was strong performance monitoring at an operational level. 3.21 There were strong processes in place to ensure that departmental objectives were translated into individual performance management objectives. The Constabulary used its own performance management system, to monitor both Police Officer and Police Staff performance, and thus assessed how staff met key competencies. 3.22 The Audit Working Group, which became a committee in November 2006, received two updates on progress in delivering the annual internal audit plan and a summary of all key points to date. The work of the external auditors was also reported to the Audit Working Group/ Committee. Members of the Working Group/ Committee were able to question the Auditors, the Head of Finance and the Director of Resources on the content of relevant reviews. 3.23 During 2005/06 the Constabulary’s arrangements for monitoring compliance with its E-Mail Security and Usage policy identified inappropriate use of its e-mail system. This was brought to the attention of the Managing Information Board and, under the direct command of the Deputy Chief Constable, an investigation was launched. This investigation was completed in the year and led to disciplinary procedures for some staff and a general strengthening of e-mail protocol and access. A further review of internet use is to be undertaken in 2007/08. /home/pptfactory/temp/20100602064838/hertfordshire-police-authority1193.doc 7
  • 8. 4 Review of Effectiveness 4.1 Hertfordshire Police Authority has responsibility for conducting, at least annually, a review of the effectiveness of the system of internal control. The review of the effectiveness of the system of internal control in 2006/07 was informed by the work of the internal and external auditors, HMIC and managers within the Constabulary. 4.2 Internal Audit provided an independent opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Police Authority’s system of financial control, including in particular: • the key controls operating within and around the core financial systems • the controls operating in other areas that had been selected for audit using Internal Audit’s risk assessment procedures • controls over information management and security. In the Chief Internal Auditor’s opinion, the above arrangements were adequate and effective in 2006/07, with sound controls in all key areas. The Constabulary took significant steps in the year to improve its contract register and processes to let and monitor framework contracts and contracts for the employment of consultants. The Constabulary plans to conclude this work in 2007/08. Internal Audit also raised concerns about the operation of the uniform store and the Constabulary is acting on these as part of a wider review of the uniform supplies service. 4.3 The Audit Commission’s Audit and Inspection Annual Letter relating to 2006/07 was issued in November 2006. It found that there were generally effective systems of internal financial control in place. 4.4 The baseline assessment undertaken by HMIC in 2005/06 was published in October 2006. The Constabulary was generally ranked as good. However, there were four areas (tackling serious and organised criminality, volume crime investigation, improving forensic performance and protecting vulnerable people) ranked as fair as compared with only two the year before (forensic management and criminal justice). Suggestions for improvement have been made and these are being acted upon, with quantifiable improvements made in volume crime investigation and forensic performance. Enhancements have also been made to Tackling Serious and Organised Criminality and Protecting Vulnerable People. However, the Constabulary has recognised the need to further strengthen management controls in the protection of vulnerable people. As a result during 2006/07 it created a Protection Vulnerable People Programme Board and put in place an action plan to address identified /home/pptfactory/temp/20100602064838/hertfordshire-police-authority1193.doc 8
  • 9. areas for improvement. This will be updated in order to incorporate agreed actions following the HMIC review in April 2007. 4.5 Senior Officers in the Constabulary have produced departmental assurance statements to support this review and the Constabulary as a whole has produced an overall assurance statement. Internal Audit has drafted this statement making use of these reviews and with the involvement of the Executive Director of the Police Authority who acts as the Monitoring Officer, the Authority’s Treasurer, the Constabulary’s Director of Resources, the Head of Finance, the Force Solicitor and other senior officers. The results of this review have also been considered by the Constabulary Chief Officer team. 4.6 The Treasurer and the Executive Director of the Police Authority as Monitoring Officer have advised us on the implications of the review, and a plan to address weaknesses and ensure continuous improvement of the system is in place. 5. Significant Internal Control Issues The Authority and Constabulary took or proposed to take a number of actions to further improve the system of internal control, as follows: Actions Taken • the Constabulary reviewed and updated its anti-fraud and corruption policy which was then incorporated into a new Authority policy • the Constabulary has reviewed its Business Continuity planning procedures and produced a Corporate Business Continuity Plan, and a Business Continuity Plan for each Area and Department • the Constabulary updated its Contract Register and initiated actions to ensure regular review and monitoring of framework and consultancy contracts • the schemes of delegation and financial regulations have been reviewed by the Authority • the Constabulary further strengthen its processes in order to monitor compliance with its e-mail security and use policy • the Constabulary implemented and regularly reviews an Organisational Strategic Assessment and Control Strategy in order to further develop its ability to control and manage organisational risk /home/pptfactory/temp/20100602064838/hertfordshire-police-authority1193.doc 9
  • 10. • in accordance with the Accounts and Audit Regulations (2006) the Audit Committee undertook a review of Internal Audit in the year. Actions Proposed • the Constabulary will test its Corporate Business Continuity plan • the Constabulary will review Contract Regulations and Procurement Principles for approval by the Authority • the Contract register will be reviewed and completed by the Constabulary • the Constabulary will produce and implement an action plan in order to address the Management of Police information (MoPI) requirements • the Constabulary will implement its Protecting Vulnerable People Action Plan and agree actions resulting from the HMIC inspection carried out in April 2007 • the Constabulary will implement new arrangements for the management of uniform stores • the Police Authority will produce a risk register • the Police Authority will produce an anti fraud and corruption policy for Policy Authority members and its own staff • Internal Audit is reviewing its working arrangements document. Ian Laidlaw-Dickson Date Chairman of the Police Authority Frank Whiteley Date Chief Constable /home/pptfactory/temp/20100602064838/hertfordshire-police-authority1193.doc 10

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