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Head of Assurance

£62,145 - £66,435 per annum

Reports to: Executive Director of Resources    

Directorate: Corporate Resources

Section: Audit, Counter Fraud, Insurance and Risk

DBS required: Basic

Main purpose of the job

  • Reporting to Council’s S151 to support the discharge of their statutory duty to maintain an adequate and effective internal audit service. Strengthening the Council’s internal control mechanisms, including within new and existing financial systems,

  • To provide managerial leadership to the Internal Audit, Counter Fraud, Risk and Insurance functions to ensure the effective stewardship of the Council’s financial resources in line with professional standards designed to identify and minimise losses from waste, fraud or mis-management.

  • To ensure that a proactive and effective internal audit and investigation service is provided for the London Borough of Lewisham in accordance with statutory requirements and best practice. Using a risk based approach supported by intelligence to develop and shape the audit plan for the Council with a focus on preventative measures but with scope to respond to evolving needs and priorities.

  • To manage the audit and investigation units and ensure that service plans and objectives are met across the Council.

  • To manage, where in place, contract(s) for the external provision of part of the internal audit service for the Council.

  • To maintain and develop counter-fraud and corruption strategy for the Council.

  • Lead and support the organisation in its appreciation and management of risk facing the council.

  • To determine which reported incidents are covered by the Council’s insurances and undertake all associated correspondence and negotiation and to provide professional advice on all insurance related matters.

  • To advise, give focus to and regularly review arrangements for corporate governance for the Council.

  • To report to the Audit Panel and to be the nominated point of contact for the Audit Panel.

  • To offer expert advice on internal control and governance within the Council.

Management roles & expectations

As a Lewisham Service Manager you will:

  • Be responsible for professional advice and support in service area to deliver in partnership with others the councils vision, values and ways of working.

  • Take overall responsibility for the planning and management of services, ensuring community and customer needs are identified and met.

  • Ensure the delivery of identified service objectives and continuous improvement of service targets.

  • Achieve results through the effective management and development of people.

  • Ensure the effective deployment of financial resources and compliance with statutory professional and organisational frameworks.

Personal duties & responsibilities

  • To carry out the role of Head of Internal Audit (HIA) as defined in the Accounts and Audit Regulations and other legislation and relevant codes of practice and to ensure that internal governance, insurance, risk management and financial control is maintained throughout the council.

  • To be responsible for the internal audit service, including drawing up the internal audit strategy and annual plan and giving the annual audit opinion for the Council.

  • To ensure the effective governance of the service with regular performance reporting to the Executive Management Team (EMT) and Audit Panel.  Lead the strategic development of the service and ensuring a high profile presence of Internal Audit within the council.

  • To ensure that Internal Audit is one of the cornerstones of effective governance. The Head of Assurance has the responsibility for reviewing and reporting on the adequacy of the control environment, including the arrangements for achieving value for money for the Council.

  • To issue the annual internal audit opinion and other reports that give assurance to service Leadership Teams and others and make recommendations for improvement for the Council.

  • To provide objective challenge and support and act as a catalyst for positive change and continual improvement in governance in all its aspects for the borough.

  • To develop and implement internal audit plans based on assessment of risk and to present such plans for approval by Audit Panel.  To report regularly to the Audit Panel and other member meetings as required on the internal audit plan for the Council.

  • To work with Chair of Audit Panel to ensure the authority has an effective CIPFA code-compliant Audit Committee.

  • Be responsible for the effective response to “whistleblowing” enquiries of a financial nature. Participate as an effective team member on whistleblowing enquiries of a non-financial nature contributing forensic and investigative skills.

  • To manage the anti-fraud team to meet its objectives of combating fraud and corruption perpetrated against the borough.  To plan and organise the team’s activities to provide a comprehensive and effective investigation service for the Council.

  • To promote the Council’s counter fraud culture through development of effective anti-fraud arrangements, proactive counter fraud activities, embedding of risk management arrangements and the maintenance of effective internal control across the Council, contributing to the provision of associated training.

  • To ensure close working relationships with the Metropolitan Police through local joint-working initiatives and with the Department for Work and Pensions and Border and Immigration Agency, including the development of a partnership approach to investigations.

  • To prioritise and plan audit and investigation work for the Council and any third parties through service level agreements, taking account of risk assessments and priorities agreed with the Executive Director of Corporate Resources.

  • To maintain and develop the Council’s counter-fraud and corruption strategies and policies, reporting progress regularly to the Audit Panel.

  • Where additional external capacity has been procured, to manage the Internal Audit Partner’s part of the audit service, agree benchmarking and cross authority themed and value for money reviews, develop monitoring systems, performance criteria and to control costs.

  • To provide advice on all matters relating to internal control, internal audit assurance, fraud, risk management and other irregularity and governance assurance to Chief Officers and Members

  • To coordinate the Annual Governance Statement to ensure activities throughout the year provide adequate assurance, preparing action plans with colleagues as relevant and to lead on drafting the Annual Governance Statement.

  • Lead and support the organisation in its appreciation and management of risk.

  • Lead the Council’s Insurance function, ensuring a full understanding of the risks facing the Council and the strategies in place to manage and, where considered appropriate, insure against loss from those risks is in place.

  • Put in place relevant insurance policy cover, terms and conditions and notifying all types of claims to appropriate insurer. Determining and maintaining appropriate reserves and provisions in consultation with the Council’s actuary.

  • Ensuring that appropriate action is taken in respect of all types of insurance claims, including high profile, sensitive and complex claims.

  • Oversee all associated correspondence, with insurers, brokers, other Council departments, solicitors, third parties and their legal representatives, including complex correspondence.

  • Determine claims handling issues/tactics and where required appointing loss adjusters, solicitors, external specialist advisors as appropriate and monitoring performance and overseeing court proceedings.

  • Authorising settlement of claims to agreed limits, compiling reports on site visits. Consulting with loss adjusters and/or insurers for claims above agreed limits and oversee the negotiation of settlement of claims below agreed limits.

  • Responsible for ensuring that recoverable losses are recovered from third parties and accounting for recovered monies.

  • Amending of existing insurance cover and arranging new insurances.

  • To maintain a close working relationship with the Council’s external auditors, including the development of a managed audit approach to annual assurance for the Borough.

  • To maintain and develop effective working relationships with other organisations and agencies on audit, control, risk and counter-fraud matters and to arrange co-operation and resources for national anti-fraud exercises and Inland Revenue requirements.

  • To develop a customer-orientated approach and ensure that best professional practice and effective customer care are maintained.

  • To represent the Council in any disciplinary or legal proceedings that may arise from investigations.

  • To promote principles of good corporate governance, whistle blowing and accountability for the Council and key partners and provide advice and assistance to colleagues as required.

  • To keep records of and review at least annually, the Council’s arrangements for good corporate governance and internal audit effectiveness.

  • To understand, adhere to and promote the Council’s Equality and Diversity Policies, to lead by example and promote the Codes of Conduct.

  • Represent the Council within and outside Lewisham, creating opportunities to enhance the Council’s image, partnerships and services.

  • As a senior manager within the organisation participate fully in the Council’s emergency planning arrangements as required.

  • Contribute to the collective leadership of the Council ensuring the best outcomes for citizens.

All employees are required to

  • Participate in the Performance Appraisal Scheme (PES) and to undertake appropriate training and development identified to enhance their work.

  • Carry out the duties of the post with due regard to the Council’s Dignity at Work Policy and core values.

  • All employees are required to comply with the Council's Health & Safety policies and procedures at all times, taking due care for themselves, colleagues and members of the public.

  • Assist in carrying out the Council's environmental policy within the day to day activities of the post.

  • Undertake other duties, commensurate with the grade, as may reasonably be required.

  • Treat all information acquired through employment, both formally and informally, in strict confidence.

  • Undertake other duties, commensurate with the grade, as may reasonably be required.

Consideration will be given to restructuring the duties of this post for a disabled postholder.

Internal Contacts: These include Members, the Council’s Executive Management Team and other relevant senior officers.

 

External Contacts: This will include partners, the Council’s external auditors Insurance Actuaries.

Person specification

Equality & diversity

  • Awareness of and a commitment to Equality of Access and Opportunity in a diverse community    

  • Understanding of how equality and diversity relates to this post

  • Ability to demonstrate commitment to the principles of equality in employment and service delivery

Knowledge & skills

  • Evidence of a strong intellectual grasp of local government policy, finance and the legislative environment

  • Expert knowledge and understanding of the role of internal audit in a local authority environment

  • Substantial knowledge of modern audit planning and strategic risk management systems and procedures

  • Understanding of Risk Management approaches and practices

  • Understanding of Insurance markets and approach to identifying and managing insurable risks

  • Advanced knowledge of Insurances applicable to a Local Authority

  • Detailed Knowledge of Methods of funding and types of insurances

  • Detailed Knowledge of risk management practice

  • Advanced knowledge of understanding of claim types, handling and handling procedures

  • Expert knowledge of the law and practice in relation to an anti-fraud strategy, intelligence, investigations, interviewing witnesses and suspects and the prosecution of suspects

  • Evidence of CPD to support knowledge of changes in relevant government legislation

  • Experience of using skills and knowledge to support services to achieve improvements in effectiveness, value for money and outcomes

  • Demonstrates an understanding of current challenges and opportunities in local  government

  • Understanding of the political interface in a local authority and the role and needs of elected Members

  • Project planning and process management silks.

  • Ability to develop and sustain partnerships.

  • Excellent leadership and people management skills at a senior level.

Experience

  • Fully-qualified CCAB accountant Preferably CIPFA CIMA or IIA with significant post qualification experience

  • Track record in forging a highly motivated and performing team from diverse backgrounds and ability to lead and influence multi-disciplinary teams and senior managers to achieve strategic objectives

  • Ability to quickly establish credibility with SLT’s, Corporate Directors, Members and other key stakeholders, promoting good risk management practice within the organisation.

  • Evidence of engaging and working with senior leadership teams, providing strategic risk management advice and critical decision making.

  • Experience of presenting reports to senior managers and members

  • Ability to use acquired knowledge and skills to provide support to a wide range of functions and services

  • Good experience of working with key partners and external agencies to promote and implement anti-fraud measures 

  • Experience of working in Insurance Administration Claims Handling & Risk Management Practice in respect of local authority

  • Experience of leading, managing and delivering transformational change in a complex organisation, ensuring business focused results

  • Experience of writing professional papers including reports and briefings

  • Experience of developing and delivering presentation materials clearly and concisely to a range of audiences 

  • Substantial experience of providing strategic direction, service planning and leadership with a track record of delivering improved outcomes.

  • Experience of developing and maintaining partnerships with a range of stakeholders

  • Experience of working within the political context and environment and anticipating issues of political sensitivity

  • Evidence of having developed and delivered effective performance measures and performance improvement programme in the delivery of services

 

General education

  • Educated to degree level standard or equivalent level of work experience at a senior level relevant to the field.

  • Evidence of continuous professional development

 

Personal style & behaviour

  • Must be able to adapt to competing demands

  • Must be financially fluent, cost and contribution conscious with a focus on value for money

  • Energetic, determined, robust and resilient enough to cope with the demands of the role.

  • Able to establish positive working relationships with elected members, partners and colleagues across different disciplines.

  • Able to understand and anticipate issues of political sensitivity.

  • High standards of integrity

  • Commitment to learn – desire to acquire new knowledge, skills and approaches.

 

Other special requirements

  • Willingness and ability to work occasional evenings and weekends to maintain service.

Physical

  • Generally candidates must meet the standard Lewisham requirements for the post