The lead auditor should produce a draft report of the audit findings within an agreed timescale (in the audit protocol) to include recommendations for improvement where applicable.
The main aim of a robust feed and food service IAA process should be to gain assurance that the audited area of the food service complies with the standard, the Feed/Food Law Code of Practice and centrally issued guidance.
For the IAA to be valid, it is essential that where areas requiring improvement are identified, these are notified to the audited authority and documented in the report of the audit. The production and implementation of an action plan by the audited authority is the main outcome of an effective IAA.
It is up to the FLG whether all individual audit findings are shared within an open forum. However, if the IAA is to inform Agency selection of local authorities for central audit, then openness and transparency are important.
The ALO should provide the auditor with any comments on the draft report in a timely manner together with an action plan to address any audit recommendations. The action plans should include dates by which remedial actions are to be completed.
The IAA protocol should provide for the monitoring of action plan implementation. Ideally this would be initially carried out by the lead auditor, with regular reports on progress to FLG meetings to prevent momentum being lost in implementation of improvements. It is beneficial to put action plan reviews in the diary to ensure that they happen in a timely manner and do not lapse.
The identification and sharing of good practice is also a key aim of IAA. The IAA coordinator or steering group would normally collate and agree any examples of good practice before disseminating this to the FLG.
In order to engage and retain the interest of senior management, a report summarising the outcomes of the IAA should be reported to the Chief Officers Group. Within individual local authorities the inclusion of reports on the progress and outcomes of IAA in the Service Plan annual review process can highlight the benefits of partnership working with neighbouring LAs and demonstrate the usefulness of the process in improving the service.