Senior Leadership Team Meeting Minutes June 2023

Members Present:

Dorinnia Carville, Chair (C&AG)

Rodney Allen (COO)

Patrick Barr (Director)

Colette Kane (Director)

Brian O’Neill (Director)

Seamus Wade (Director)

Suzanne Walsh (Director)


In Attendance:

Julie Brown (Head of People and OD) Agenda item 1.1

Louise Donnelly (Secretary)


Tomas Wilkinson (Director)


Apologies were recorded from Tomas Wilkinson.

Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

There were no issues declared by members.

Minutes of previous meeting

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 16 May 2023 were agreed and the matters arising noted as updated.

People and OD

1.1    People and OD Monthly Report

Julie Brown provided an update on the following:

Sickness Absence Statistics - Members noted the absence figures per employee in the rolling period 1 June 2022 to 31 May 2023, noting the continued positive trend.  


Auditor recruitment has been scheduled for July.

HLA and Trainee recruitment will take place over the coming months.

Three summer internships have been confirmed.


The C&AG welcomed the positive feedback received from students who recently completed work experience at the Office, this feedback will be shared with staff.


TU Liaison - The Head of People and OD and the HR Officer continue to meet with TU side on a monthly basis.  A Remuneration Committee meeting has been scheduled for 26 June to provide an update on pay discussions to date and discuss the way forward.


Strategic Projects

         Accommodation Project

Rodney Allen provided members with an update on the continuing work to secure potential tenants, in the current challenging market for the vacant office space.                                                                                                                  

Strategic Performance

3.1   Management Information Report

        Brian O’Neill presented the interactive performance report detailing key performance outturns for the public reporting and financial audit programmes to date.  Members noted the report presented and were asked to stress to staff the importance of keeping all relevant information on Time and Space up to date, so that a meaningful review of this report is possible.

3.2    Position re Backlog Accounts

    Members provided the C&AG with an update on the current position regarding backlog accounts.   

3.3   Public Reporting Monitoring Report

Members provided the C&AG with an update on expected publication dates for reports in the coming weeks.

3.4   SLT Self Evaluation Exercise

As a result of the recent SLT self-assessment exercise it was concluded that the Team was performing effectively.  All agreed that areas for further improvement would be discussed by members at a strategic planning day to be scheduled for Autumn 2023.

3.5    Draft Annual Report, Accounts and Governance Statement

Members were asked to consider the draft report presented and provide feedback to Brian O’Neill, the draft will be considered by the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee at their meeting scheduled for 26 June 2023.

Financial Management 

Finance Report

Brian O’Neill provided an update on the following:

2023-24 – Members noted the current budgetary position and ongoing discussions with the Secretary of State.

IT – Cyberguarded has completed its IT Health Check of NIAO Line of Business Applications and members were advised that a “satisfactory” assessment has been received, six medium and two low priority recommendations were identified and are currently being addressed.

Corporate Governance

Business Support Services Report

Brian O’Neill presented a report to update members on Complaints, Procurement, Legal Advice, Information Management, Governance and Assembly Liaison.  Members noted the content with no issues raised.

Communications and Engagement

Communications and Engagement Report
Members noted the report presented and no significant issues were raised.

2023 Survey of Audited Bodies Report
A breakdown of results was presented to SLT, the C&AG and members welcomed the positive outcome and feedback received from the Survey.  The COO will determine any follow-up action that may be required with relevant audited bodies.


Risk Management

Corporate Risk Register

The Corporate Risk Register was presented by Colette Kane, minor changes made since the last meeting were highlighted for members’ convenience. Members noted the changes presented.  Colette advised that the Risk Register, Risk Management Strategy and Draft Annual Assurance Statement would be presented to ARAC on 26 June 2023.

Audit Technical

Technical Report

Members noted the report presented.  In addition, Suzanne Walsh advised the following:

Technical Partner Submissions - five submissions have been received to date. 

A FRAB meeting has been scheduled for 29 June, papers will be circulated to SLT for information.


Papers noted:

Draft minutes – Advisory Board meeting held on 10 May 2023 

Draft ARAC Agenda – meeting scheduled for 26 June 2023


Matters for Escalation to Advisory Board, ARAC, RemCom

Noted by members for escalation to ARAC – 26 June 2023: 

Anti-Fraud, Raising Concerns and Complaints Statement

Senior Leadership Team/NEM Expenses and Hospitality - SLT approved the disclosure for onward publication on the NIAO website subject to some minor amendments.

ISQC1 Monitoring Report - SLT approved the report for consideration by ARAC.

ISQC1 Transparency Report – SLT approved the report for consideration by ARAC and subsequent publication on the NIAO website.

Public Reporting – Quality Review Panel – the positive results were noted by members, the findings will be reported in the Annual Report and Accounts.

ICT Assurance – noted for onward progression to ARAC.

Internal Audit – Assurance Statement Final

Internal Audit Plan 2023-24

External Audit – Report to those charged with Governance

ARAC Annual Report to the Advisory Board



No items were listed or raised.


Date of next meeting 

Members agreed to cancel the July meeting due to annual leave commitments.  The next meeting will be held on 15 August 2023.