Social Care, Health & Housing
Supporting People Grant 2013/14
Frequency of Audit
The Supporting People Programme began in 2003. Its purpose is to provide housing related support to help vulnerable people to live as independently as possible. Initially it was administered jointly between the Welsh Government and Local Authorities. Subsequently the Supporting People Programme was subject to an independent review which recommended the introduction of a single Supporting People funding stream, which meant from 1st August 2012 Local Authorities were solely responsible for administering and delivering the scheme. Whilst it is appreciated that the Social Care and Housing Department (the Department) inherited a number of schemes from Welsh Government to manage it meant that arrangements were not in place for these schemes and the Department would need time to implement our procedures. This review and its findings do in fact relate to both Carmarthenshire’s schemes as well as the inherited ones. Internal Audit has been involved in this claim’s audit (2013/14) for the past two years and has identified significant weaknesses and issues which have been reported to management, and an action plan agreed to be delivered by the Department.
The total funding in relation to Supporting People received from Welsh Government for the period 2013/2014 was £6,777,746. Welsh Government require a certificate to be completed and signed by the s151 officer. Internal Audit reviews the arrangements and procedures in place to provide the s151 with an opinion on the arrangements in place. Welsh Government set deadlines for the submission of this claim with the final audited claim expected by 30 September 2014. Even though numerous requests and reminders were sent to the Department by Internal Audit for this claim the first draft claim was not received by Internal Audit until 10 December 2014.
As at May 2015 the situation is that the 2013/14 grant has been paid to Carmarthenshire in full by the Welsh Government but due to the delay in submission of the 2013/14 claim they have withheld two quarter payments from 2014/15 funding, resulting in approximately £3m grant being held back until the grant certificate is submitted when the monies will then be paid over to Carmarthenshire.
To enable the s151 officer to sign the Supporting People grant certificate our review covered the controls and procedures in place for the management and administration of the Supporting People grant to:
● assess the extent to which the Authority’s Financial Procedure Rules and
● the grant terms and conditions are being fully complied with.
The Terms and Conditions laid down by Welsh Government specify that an audit certificate is required to be provided stating that ‘the project’s aims and objectives and the grant offer had been considered and that the entries are fairly stated and the expenditure has been properly incurred in accordance with the offer of grant.’
The review had been assessed as being of high risk to the Authority due to:
● issues identified during the previous Internal Audit review and
● the grant conditions specify the requirement that an audit certificate be provided.
Following the audit work carried out the review remains as high risk due to the issues that continue to remain outstanding relating to the management and administration of the grant.
Summary of Results
This review identified significant weaknesses in the management and administration of the grant this year again. In particular, the standard of documentation retained, and the evidence available to support eligibility and outcomes continued to be poor despite issues being previously raised by Internal Audit. Insufficient evidence available to enable an assurance to be placed that grant terms and conditions, the Project Grants Manual and the Authority’s Financial Procedure Rules had been fully complied with.
Due to the fundamental weaknesses identified, the review of the Supporting People Grant will remain as high risk until the issues identified are resolved and the overall management and administration of the grant is significantly improved.
It is crucial that Supporting People Staff remain committed to ensuring improvements continue to be made ultimately resulting in the requirements of the grant terms and conditions as well as the requirements of the Authority’s Project Grants Manual and Financial Procedure Rules being fully complied with.
Failure to fully comply with the requirements of these documents including having adequate supporting documentation available puts the Authority at risk of having grant monies reclaimed or the de-commitment of funds by the funding body as well as putting at risk any future funding applied for by the Authority.
Target Date – Ongoing
Responsible Officer – Supporting People Manager
Priority 1- Fundamental
(See Issues 1,2, & 3)
Priority 2 – Strengthen
(See Issues 4 and 5)
Priority 3 – Minor Issues