Stand Up and Be Counted

Report
Stand up and be Counted
Ged Murphy
Or should that be stand up and
count what matters!!!
In a world of de-layering, increased risk taking and pressure to
cut corners, Ged will provide an insight into some recent high
profile governance failures, emphasising the need for
professional standards, maintaining accountability, due diligence
frameworks and robust internal audit. The “do nothing” option
could be the road to disaster…..
Crikey….not a big ask then!!
• From whose perspective……
• Massive stakeholder map of interest in audit public, professionals, politicians, media,
commerce etc etc
• Personal view as a finance professional –
nearly 30 years……
• Not an audit expert… but do have a strategic
role …….
What I will cover……
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Current context
Public sector examples
The Future
Questions
Questions?
For you….
Thoughts
• Crisis of confidence in public service
institutions – press, parliament, NHS most
recently, banks, police (plebgate?), meat………
• That’s even with all our resources, controls
and standards of the past
• Trust – once lost difficult to regain
SECTION 3
Definition of Internal Auditing
Internal auditing is an independent, objective
assurance and consulting activity designed to
add value and improve an organisation’s
operations. It helps an organisation accomplish
its objectives by bringing a systematic,
disciplined approach to evaluate and improve
the effectiveness of risk management, control
and governance processes.
Public Sector Internal Audit Standards
Fire Control
• My personal experience of a major scheme
and governance failure at every level…………..
• Highly forseeable
• Predicted the failure
• Tried to get civil servants and ministers to
listen
• Ended up in the Public Accounts Committee
• Failed miserably
The FiRe Control Challenges (2008)
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Managing expectations
Being heard
Being influential
Maintaining relationships
Building and maintaining trust
"It is now clear that some staff did express concern about the standard
of care being provided to patients. The tragedy was that they were
ignored and worse still others were discouraged from speaking out."
The Inquiry concluded that a number of the deficiencies at the Trust
had existed for a long time. Whilst the executive and non-executive
Board members recognised the problems, the action taken by the
board was inadequate and lacked an appropriate sense of urgency.
The Trust's board was found to be disconnected from what was actually
happening in the hospital and chose to rely on apparently favourable
performance reports by outside bodies such as the Healthcare
Commission, rather than effective internal assessment and feedback
from staff and patients. The Trust failed to listen to patients' concerns,
the Board did not review the substance of complaints and incident
reports were not given the necessary attention.
Robert Francis QC
Robert Francis QC added:
"It is now clear that some staff did express concern about the standard of care being provided to patients. The tragedy was
that they were ignored and worse still others were discouraged from speaking out."
The Inquiry concluded that a number of the deficiencies at the Trust had existed for a long time. Whilst the executive and
non-executive Board members recognised the problems, the action taken by the board was inadequate and lacked an
appropriate sense of urgency.
The Trust's board was found to be disconnected from what was actually happening in the hospital and chose to rely on
apparently favourable performance reports by outside bodies such as the Healthcare Commission, rather than effective
internal assessment and feedback from staff and patients. The Trust failed to listen to patients' concerns, the Board did not
review the substance of complaints and incident reports were not given the necessary attention.
Problems at the Trust were exacerbated at the end of 2006/07 when it was required to make a £10 million saving. The
Board decided this saving could only be achieved through cutting staffing levels, which were already insufficient. The
evidence shows that the Board's focus on financial savings was a factor leading it to reconfigure its wards in an essentially
experimental and untested scheme, whilst continuing to ignore the concerns of staff.
Yet again, Eric Pickles has demonstrated his scorn for that most high profile of spending
cuts victims, the soon-to be abolished Audit Commission. In his speech to the
Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy today the communities secretary
called it a "creature of Whitehall" which had "lost sight of its own mantra
– 'protecting the public purse'". Pickles continued:
"How can we have confidence in a spending watchdog which has held its Board
meetings in an Oyster Bar to discuss 'improving corporate governance',
and then lost the receipt for the £800 bill?
Or which was spending £1,500 a year on flowers for the reception of its Millbank office
– which only stopped in September 2010. Didn't they sense the urgency of the
Emergency Budget?
Spending watchdogs and district auditors are in no position to lecture councils on
financial probity - if they themselves don't care about delivering value for money
and protecting taxpayers' cash."
The Future!
Some ideas…..
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Use transparency to cut waste
Tackle duplicate payments
Tackle fraud
Claw back money from benefit
cheats
Stop the scope for procurement
fraud
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Cut printing costs
End lifestyle and equality
questionnaires
ban mineral water at council
meetings
Stop translating documents into
foreign languages
Where does this leave you?
Thank you

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