Mrs C Kane, Director from the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO)presented the above report, a copy of which had been previously circulated to Members. She advised that the purpose of the report was to advise of and seek Member endorsement of the outcome of the Improvement Audit and Assessment for 2018/19, carried out by the Local Government Auditor.
In response to a query by Councillor Reilly, Mrs Kane, explained that one of the key decisions made by the Government Auditor within the assessment was whether or not arrangements were in place to show improvement. She stated that one of the proposals for improvement that had been highlighted in a previous year within the improvement objective was that it had been difficult to demonstrate improvement at a very high strategic level. She added that this would be reviewed to ensure improvement can be demonstrated efficiently in respect of improvement objectives.
Councillor Gallagher referred to expenditure incurred in relation to the European City of Culture Bid. He stated that it had come to light that there were clear indications prior to entering the bid, that Derry City and Strabane District Council would not meet the criteria, therefore the bid had very little chance of success. He queried if this had been considered as part of the indicators contained within the audit in terms of Council efficiency.
In response, Mrs Kane stated that she was not aware if the auditor looked at this specific expenditure.
Councillor Gallagher expressed concern that there had been no indication within the audit that Council had spent approximately £175,000 on the bidding process.
Councillor Donnelly concurred with the comments made by Councillor Gallagher and stated that the matter should be investigated as a duty to the ratepayers of the city and district
Mrs Kane stated that she would consider the comments raised and report back.
Recommended that Council endorse the outcome of the Improvement Audit and Assessment for 2018-19, carried out by the Local Government Auditor.