Cork City Council Governance is about how we ensure that we are doing the right things, in the right way, for the right people, in a timely, inclusive, open, honest and accountable manner. Good governance leads to:
Local authorities in Ireland operate within complex legislative, political and local contexts. They provide a myriad of services but are also both regulators and regulating bodies, with significant legal and government policy obligations. Local government is expected to play an active leadership role within the community. It is imperative that the Council employs good corporate governance structures and principles when exercising its various roles in order to inspire trust in the local government sector and strengthen the relationship that must exist between local authorities and the communities they serve.
Good governance enables the effective pursuit of our vision and corporate objectives within an environment that manages and controls the associated risks. The achievement of these objectives will ultimately contribute to an improvement in the lives of the people we serve.
The purpose of the City Council’s Governance Framework and Codes of Conduct is to provide a clear and comprehensive summary of the principal aspects of corporate governance within the council. This local framework defines the principles that underpin the governance of this authority.
Internal Audit is an independent and objective appraisal function established by the City Manager in order to provide a service to the organisation through the review of the Council’s internal control systems.
The unit operates under an Internal Audit Charter. All of the City Council’s activities fall within the remit of Internal Audit. The scope of internal auditing encompasses, but is not limited to, the examination and evaluation as to the adequacy and effectiveness of the Council’s governance, risk management and internal control processes. Internal control objectives considered by Internal Audit include:
1. Consistency of operations, programmes or systems with effective performance and established corporate objectives or goals;
2. Compliance with significant laws, regulations, policies, procedures and plans;
3. The adequacy, reliability, integrity and effective use of management and financial information in corporate reporting and decision-making;
4. The procedures and arrangements for the acquisition, safeguarding and disposal of assets;
5. The arrangements for economic, efficient and effective use of resources.
Internal Audit is part of the Council’s corporate governance structure. It reports directly to the Chief Executive and also quarterly, or as otherwise requested, to the Audit Committee. The functions of the audit committee are as prescribed by section 122 (2) of the Local Government Act 2001 (as amended):
1. To review the financial and budgetary reporting practices and procedures within the local authority;
2. To foster the development of best practice in the performance by the local authority of its internal audit function;
3. To review any audited financial statement auditor’s report or auditor’s special report in relation to the local authority and assess any actions taken within that authority by its chief executive in response to such a statement or report, and report its findings to the authority;
4. To assess and promote efficiency and value for money with respect to the local authority’s performance of its functions;
5. To review systems that are operated by the local authority for the management of risks;
The audit committee also has a role in reviewing the findings and recommendations of the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) and the response of the Chief Executive to these and to take further action as appropriate.
The operation of the committee is directed by the Local Government (Audit Committee) Regulations 2014, and related guidance as issued in June 2014. The committee operates in accordance with a written charter that is approved by Council.
Cork City’s Council’s Audit Committee comprises seven members, including four external members, and not more than three serving or retired Councillors. The Chair of the committee is one of the external members. Membership of the committee as from 1st October 2019 is as follows:
Sean Hurley (Chairman)
The committee meets at least four times each year. The Chief Executive is required to attend at least one meeting each year. It issues an annual report that is presented to Council within three months of the calendar year end.
The Local Government Audit Service from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government is responsible for the Council’s External Audit. Internal Audit maintains an ongoing liaison with this service. The Local Government Auditor is required to meet the audit committee each year to present and discuss the statutory audit report on the Annual Financial Statements.
Cork City Council’s Internal Audit Unit operates from the Finance Department and can be contacted as follows:
address: Floor 2, City Hall, Anglesea Street, Cork City, T12 T997
phone: 021-492 4784
Cork City Council will not tolerate the perpetration of fraud or corruption by its employees, elected members, agents, contractors, suppliers or service users.
Cork City Council will maintain a corporate governance framework that incorporates a robust control environment. These controls are designed to deter fraud or corruption and also maximise the chances of detecting any such incidents at the earliest possible opportunity.
Cork City Council is committed to operating in an open and transparent manner and aims to be fully accountable in all of its operations. The Council encourages staff, elected members and the public to bring to its attention any event which may occur within the workings of the Council which might be illegal, improper or unethical. A Fraud Prevention and Response Policy has been adopted to assist in this regard.