Minutes of ARAC meeting 23 January 2023

Members Present:

John Turkington (Chair)

Marie Mallon

Chantelle Reynolds (Boardroom Apprentice)


In Attendance:

Dorinnia Carville (C&AG)

Rodney Allen (Chief Operating Officer)

Anu Kane (Audit Manager)

Colette Kane (Director) – agenda item 1

Brian O’Neill (Director)

Eimear Brown – External Audit

Michael Boylan – External Audit
Ian McCartney – Internal Audit

Martin Pitt (Chair Advisory Board - at the invitation of the Chair of ARAC)

Louise Donnelly (Committee Secretary)


The Chair welcomed Anu Kane to her first ARAC meeting.  Members were advised that the recruitment exercise for the non-executive Director would be commencing in the coming weeks due to the resignation of Terry McGonigal.



No apologies were recorded.


Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

There were no issues declared by members.


Minutes of previous meeting

Minutes of the Meeting held on 27 September 2022 were agreed by all parties present and the Matters Arising were noted as updated.


1. Risk Management


Corporate Risk Register

The Corporate Risk Register was presented by Colette Kane, any changes made since the last meeting were highlighted in red for members’ convenience. Discussion followed concerning resourcing and the challenges facing the Office with the introduction of ISA315 and the Review of Financial Processes. Members were advised of the actions which continue to be taken to address these challenges. Members were content with these and noted this risk is being actively managed.   


Horizon Scanning

The outcome from the Horizon scanning workshop held on 12 December 2022 was received from RSM.


Members were provided with an update on the following:

  • The eight emerging risks identified from the workshop have been considered by the Corporate Risk Register Working Group (CRRWG) and tracked through to the risk register.
  • The CRRWG examined the emerging risks identified and concluded that these were either adequately included in the register or were not issues for present consideration.
  • One minor change to the risk register was made and this is highlighted in risk one.

2.               Cyber Security

Brian O’Neill provided an update on the outcome of the recent ‘Cyber Essentials’ - Cyber Security Self exercise.   Members were advised that overall, the assessment has confirmed a high level of compliance and that an action plan has been established to improve and strengthen any areas of weakness identified.  Members queried the level of support that IT Assist would provide in the event of an attack but took assurance that any issues identified to date have been dealt with efficiently.


3.               Internal Audit Reports


  • Progress Report - Ian McCartney presented a paper providing an update on progress against the Internal Audit Plan presented to the ARAC on 21 June 2022.


  • Expenses Report – The final report was issued with satisfactory assurance and one low priority action point identified.
  • Emerging Risk Radar – A summary report identifying emerging risks arising from the workshop facilitated by RSM in December 2022 has been issued.  All attendees agreed they found the workshop very useful and worthwhile.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

4.               External Audit Strategy 2022/23


     Eimear Brown presented the External Audit Strategy.  Members noted the content of the report, including the risks, materiality timetable and the fees presented.  Discussion followed regarding the level of Employee Benefit Accrual at the year end, members took assurance from the ongoing monitoring and policies in place to manage this.  Discussion continued concerning the nature of intangible assets, provisions and the risks presented in the Strategy.


5.               Financial Statements - Judgements /Financial Estimates


Brian O’Neill presented a paper to keep members appraised of any judgements/financial estimates to be used in the preparation of NIAO’s Annual report and Accounts for 2022-23.  Members discussed the following key areas:


  • Property, plant and equipment – the valuation of the Office building by LPS following the refurbishment
  • Rental Income – income from the sublet of the additional office space.  Members were advised that any rental income generated from new tenants will be in the 2023-24 financial year


Members were also provided with an update on any potential impact of IFRS 16, the process in place for calculating the employee benefit accrual and assurances in relation to pension assumptions at the year end.


6.               Report Tracking Implementation of Audit Recommendations


Internal Audit Recommendations

One recommendation remains outstanding and is due for completion by the 30 June 2023.


External Audit Recommendations

One recommendation remains outstanding and is due for completion when External Audit complete their work in May 2023.


7.              Fraud, Raising Concerns and Complaints Report



Brian O’Neill advised that no new fraud/raising concerns cases had arisen in the period.


Internal Concerns Raised

There are no ongoing cases and there have been no new cases since the last ARAC meeting in September 2022.



Members were asked to note the position with one ongoing complaint.

8.               Annual Leave Uptake Report

Brian O’Neill presented a report to update ARAC on annual leave balances at the nine month stage of the current leave year.  Members noted the position and all agreed how important it is for staff to make use of their leave complement, noting the importance of this for health and wellbeing. Members took assurance that SLT will continue to closely monitor this.

9.               ARAC Annual Programme of Work

The annual programme of work was considered and endorsed by members.

10.    AOB

No issues raised.

11.    Date of Next Meeting

                  10 May 2023 @ 10am

12.   The Committee met with Internal and External Auditors for private discussions.