Martin Pitt, Chair
Marie Mallon (via zoom)
Kieran Donnelly, Comptroller and Auditor General
Rodney Allen, Chief Operating Officer
Louise Donnelly, Board Secretary
Brian O’Neill, Director of Corporate Services
The Chair welcomed members to the meeting.
No apologies were noted.
2. Declaration of Conflicts of Interest
There were no issues declared by members.
3. Minutes of previous meeting
The Chair noted the minutes of the meeting held on 21 February 2022 were agreed by all parties concerned. The Matters Arising from the meeting were also noted as having been actioned.
4. Report from meeting of Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC)
John Turkington provided an update to members on the ARAC meeting held on 3 May 2022 noting specifically the following:
- Risk Management – ARAC noted additional risk triggers, existing controls and proposed actions, along with the scoring of risks and risk appetite. Members discussed IT and cyber security assurances.
- External Audit – ARAC were provided with an update on progress against the External Audit Plan.
- Internal Audit – ARAC considered two reviews completed on Training and Development and Key Financial Controls, both of which received satisfactory assurances.
No issues or questions were raised at the private meeting held with the Internal and External Auditors after the ARAC meeting.
5. Report from the meeting of Remuneration Committee
Marie Mallon provided an update to members on the Remuneration Committee meeting held on 21 February 2022 noting specifically the approach to a pay award for 2022-23. Management briefed members on discussions to date with trade union side. It was agreed a Remuneration Committee meeting will be scheduled for early June to further consider the 2022-23 pay award.
6. Advisory Board Terms of Reference (ToR) Review
Members agreed the ToR presented. Discussion followed on environmental, social and governance sustainability. It was noted this would be referenced in the annual report for 2021-22 and it was agreed to add ESG to the agenda for a future Board or ARAC meeting.
7. Corporate Report
Brian O’Neill provided the Board with an overview on the current position and RAG status with regard to Finance, HR, Business Support, Audit Quality and Performance. Members welcomed the improved presentation of the report and the introduction of the RAG status for each topic and requested that headings in the report be aligned to the corporate strategic objectives for the next meeting scheduled for October.
Discussion followed on various key areas:
- Finance – Members discussed the current budgetary position and were provided with an update on the Accommodation project.
- HR – Members queried the carryover of annual leave by staff and took assurance from the measures in place to address this.
- Business Support – Members noted the current position on case handling.
- Audit Quality - members were advised that the project to develop an ISA 315 compliant audit methodology remains on track, with risk assessment being regularly monitored by OMT and SMT.
- Performance – Members noted the KPIs.
8. Attendance Management Report
At the February Advisory Board meeting it was agreed that Attendance Management would be discussed in greater detail at the May 2022 meeting. Brian O’Neill presented a report detailing the following:
- NIAO average days absence sickness per employee
- Detailed breakdown of absences
- Trends in sickness absence
- Managing absences
Members noted the absence figures presented recognising absence had spiked in the current year due to a number of serious long term and covid illnesses.
Members took assurance from the policies and procedures in place regarding Absence Management, acknowledging that it is closely and regularly monitored by OMT and SMT with the full support of the HR Team and requested an update at the next meeting.
9. C&AG Appointment
The C&AG advised that Dorinnia Carville will take up post on 1 August 2022. Members welcomed the appointment and the on-going communication by the C&AG and the COO with Dorinnia prior to her taking up post in August.
10. NED Recruitment
The recruitment process is ongoing with interviews scheduled for 1 June 2022.
11. Advisory Board Self-Assessment
The Chair advised that subsequent to the Board Effectiveness workshop in October he had telephone conversations with all non-executive members to ascertain if they had anything to add to the action plan devised at the workshop. The Chair confirmed that all members were content with the processes in place and the information presented to the Board with no new action points to add to the plan.
The C&AG recorded his satisfaction with the performance of the Board.
The Chair noted this was the C&AG’s last Advisory Board meeting and expressed thanks and appreciation from members and himself to Kieran for his openness and for his willingness to take advice and share information with the Board, wishing him well in his retirement. Kieran thanked the members for their best wishes and all their work with him in recent years which he had thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed.
13. Date of Next meeting
4 October 2022 @ 10am