Minutes of Senior Management Team (SMT) Meeting held on 26 April @ 2pm (Bradford Court)

In attendance:  Rodney Allen, Chair (COO)

Patrick Barr (Director)

Neil Gray (Director)

Colette Kane (Director)

                             Brian O’Neill (Director)

Suzanne Walsh (Director)

Tomas Wilkinson (Director)

                             Louise Donnelly (Secretary)

Apologies:          Kieran Donnelly (C&AG)

                             Colette Kane (Director)


1.           Apologies

Apologies were recorded from Kieran Donnelly and Colette Kane.


2.           Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

There were no issues declared by members.


3.           Minutes of Previous meeting and Matters Arising

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 15 February 2022 and minutes from an additional meeting held on 12 April 2022 were agreed and the matters arising noted as updated.


4.           Appointment of C&AG

Members welcomed the recent appointment of Dorinnia Carville to the post of C&AG. Dorinnia will take up post on 1 August 2022.


5.           KPI’s Update

A report was presented by Brian O’Neill and an update was provided on the following key areas:

  • Backlog accounts
  • Public Reporting Programme
  • Auditee Survey
  • VFM External Review Panel
  • IIP Accreditation
  • Business Transformation Programme
  • Forward Work Programme


The updated report was noted and welcomed by SMT.


6.           Management Information Report

The interactive performance report detailing key performance outturns for the public reporting and financial audit programmes to March 2022 was discussed.  

Brian O’Neill advised he has updated the C&AG on the position regarding backlog accounts.


7.           Corporate Report

Brian O’Neill provided an overview on the current position with regard to Finance, HR and Business Support:



  • 2021-22 Forecast Figures – Members were asked to note the current budgetary position.
  • Accommodation Project –Work continues on the refurbishment with no significant issues to date. The expected completion date for the project is 15 July 2022.  The next Project Board meeting is scheduled for 4 May. The process of actively seeking tenants is ongoing.
  • IT – An update was provided on the testing for the new version of Time and Space. SMT requested a timeline for completion of the testing and a final transfer of the live data.



  • Attendance Management - Members discussed absence figures in the rolling period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 noting the continued increasing trend.  A paper to provide a breakdown in figures is currently being prepared to be presented to the Advisory Board at their next meeting on 17 May 2022.
  • Annual Leave uptake - Members noted the position on annual leave balances at 31 March 2022, discussion followed on possible measures that could be introduced to help reduce the excess carry-over of annual leave balances by staff.
  • Performance Management – Members noted the summary as per 31 March 2022.  Members were also reminded to ensure all end of year reviews and planning documents were completed for all staff.
  • Training – Directorate to follow up on outstanding mandatory training with individuals concerned.
  • Employee Relations – Pay negotiations are ongoing with TUS with a formal pay offer to staff anticipated for early May 2022.


Business Support

  • Members were updated on Complaints, Procurement, Legal, Information Management, Governance, Communications, the rebranding exercise and Assembly Liaison.


8.           Technical Report

Suzanne Walsh provided an update on the following:

  • Responses have been provided to ICAEW’s draft report on the quality control reviews (QCR’s) by the technical team and the final report is expected to be received this week.
  • The technical team plan to develop and implement a policy and process for a centrally led root cause analysis of all audits subject to cold review.   The results will be reported to OMT for consideration of any actions that can be taken to enhance and focus on quality across the whole financial audit portfolio. A need for root cause analysis training has been identified and is currently being evaluated by the technical team, short ‘bite-sized’ videos are to be produced for staff to access.
  • Financial Audit Methodology - An ISA 315 financial audit methodology project update was provided to all staff at the April Staff Brief.
  • The Operational Management Team (OMT) to follow-up on the WGA timetable.

9.           Internal Audit Reports

  • Training and Development
  • Key financial controls and payroll


Members noted the final reports received and assessments of “satisfactory” provided.  These reports will be considered by the Audit and Risk Assessment Committee (ARAC) at their meeting scheduled for 3 May 2022.


10.         Risk Management

Corporate Risk Register

Rodney Allen briefed members on the risk register presented. The Corporate Risk Register Working Group (CRRWG) met on 6April to review the Corporate Risk Register, all changes proposed were highlighted in red for members’ convenience.


Review of Project Risk Registers

A review of the SBRI project was examined at the April SMT and it was agreed that an options paper for the next steps would be discussed by SMT, a paper is presented today at agenda item 12.


Horizon scanning

The CRRWG conducted an exercise on horizon scanning and a summary paper on their findings was provided to SMT, members welcomed the paper noting it will be presented to ARAC at their meeting next week.


11.         Internal Fraud Checklist

SMT welcomed the paper noting it will be presented to ARAC at their meeting next week.


12.         Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Report

Suzanne Walsh advised that phase two of the SBRI project is now complete and presented a paper providing three options on the way forward for SMT to consider. A detailed discussion followed and it was agreed by all present to proceed with option two.


SMT agreed that consideration is to be given to further resourcing the data analytics team, potential options were discussed and Suzanne Walsh will follow up on suggestions made by members.


13.         Review of SMT Terms of Reference

Members reviewed the TOR, and confirmed they were content.


14.         Annual Programme of Work

Members reviewed the Annual Programme of Work and confirmed they were content.


15.         AOB

Date of Next Meeting

17 May 2022 @ 10am