One West is the Councils provider of Audit, Risk Assurance, Data Protection, Business Continuity & other professional services.
We also work with other government bodies, schools, academy trusts and care providers.
One West exists to deliver essential professional services to Bath & North East Somerset Council and its other clients.
These services work over a broad spectrum from support of the SLT right through to front line workers and their services, right across the authority and beyond.
Services provided are predominately around providing assurance and require contact and liaison with management and staff. We also have to liaise and report to senior management – Executive and Non-Executive.
Our Internal Audit function provide planned work as approved by the clients Audit Committee / Finance Committee / Finance Officer and respond to any requests for unplanned work including the investigation of financial irregularities.
The function also acts as the‘gate keeper’ for the Council clients external whistle blowing ‘report-it’ facility through externally accessible webpages.
One West also has a key role in helping to manage organisational risk and in ensuring compliance with legislation surrounding the handling of data and requests for information.
This includes GDPR, handling of the Information Commissioner and also Freedom of Information and Subject Access requests (which also sometimes require specialist Redaction Services)
Systems and processes are becoming ever more sophisticated along with increased risk associated with attempted fraud. Our services are actively adapting with that in mind.
The increased use of computer systems has resulted in changes in risks and the internal control framework required to manage them. This links to the specialist advice we provide on cyber security.
These issues also have implications for management of records and we have a specialist facility at Haydon which manages storage, retention and disposal of all Council records. Records Management also runs the Councils Mobile Library Service. It is expected that Records Management will be heavily involved as the Councils intentions with respect to availability and use of office space takes shape.
Customer feedback (complaints and complements) is an essential requirement to monitor and manage services provided by the Council.. This includes management of complaints and any potential for escalation through Stage 2 and sometimes onwards to the Ombudsman.
We also have the responsibility for complaints and Subject Access Requests relating to Childrens and Adults Social Care. This is understandably a sensitive and demanding area for us.
Very saliently One West is the organisations lead on Business Continuity. We had a very active role in this during the COVID-19 Pandemic and will be central to organisational recovery for some time to come.
One West works in partnership with North Somerset Council and has integrated to fulfil its audit and information governance requirements. It does this under the moniker of i-West. This name is commonly also used internally to B&NES when undertaking audits. We also supply services to the West of England Combined Authority.
Latterly One West has commercialised and has over 300 customers (largely schools, District Councils and care homes) to whom it provides a range of Specialist Professional Services. This includes audit, data protection, business continuity and disciplinary and grievance investigations. This is an area of growth for us.
In order to be successful in this area we place a lot of onus on innovation and doing things differently in order to improve our services.
Our strategy is to increase both our geographic foot print in the South West and expand the range of services we offer. We also operate more broadly into South Wales and the Midlands. We are exploring remote provision of our services to facilitate a further reach if required.
We have formed a strategic alliance with the Devon Audit Partnership to be able to widen our services and to give us the flexibility and capacity to respond to customer need.
Coupled with that One West has a workforce well spread over the South West and technically very able to work flexibly . Where office space is needed it is available in Bath, Weston super Mare and Clevedon.
The One West workforce has great breadth of professional knowledge and experience and is well placed to meet the challenges posed looking forward for both its core internal work and its commercial activity.