Senior Leadership Team Meeting Minutes May 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)
  • Tomas Wilkinson (Director)


In Attendance:

  • Julie Brown (Head of People and OD) Agenda item 1.1
  • Louise Donnelly (Secretary)





No apologies were recorded.



Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

There were no issues declared by members.



Minutes of previous meeting

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 25 April 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 May 2022 to 30 April 2023, noting the continued positive trend.  
  • L&D 
    • Five modules of the bitesize training have been released, a reminder email will be issued to encourage uptake by staff.
    • Mental health first aid certificate training will be available for the Health Champions and NIPSA chair, dates have yet to be finalised.


  • Employee Engagement and Wellbeing – Membership of the wellbeing committee has been refreshed, staff will be provided with an update during the staff brief scheduled for 18 May 2023.
  • Future Developments 
    • Recent stocktake meeting took place with IIP. The aim is to achieve silver IIP accreditation in 2024.
    • Ongoing liaison with universities to enhance recruitment opportunities.

Strategic Projects

         Accommodation Project

Members were provided with an update on developments to secure potential tenants for the vacant office space. The snagging list continues to be addressed.


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 with no significant issues raised.


3.2    Position re Backlog Accounts

    Members noted the status of the current backlog, all agreeing that the current backlog is due to reasons outside NIAO control.


3.3   Public Reporting Monitoring Report

Patrick Barr provided an update on the current position. Rodney Allen advised he would liaise with Directors individually to ensure reports were on track to meet the 7 July deadline for the pre-recess publishing schedule.

3.4   Jobs – Budget vs Actual Report

Members welcomed the paper presented, after discussion it was agreed the report will be presented quarterly to SLT instead of monthly.  The COO requested that a column detailing ‘hard charging’ be added to the report.


3.5    SLT Self Evaluation Exercise

A draft self-assessment checklist was endorsed by SLT.  All members are to complete the assessment before 26 May 2023, findings will be reported at the June SLT meeting.


3.6    Net Zero Action Plan Update

Members noted the Action Plan presented and appreciated the important ongoing work in this area.  After discussion it was agreed that immediate actions can be progressed by the Group and SLT endorsed the initial proposals presented in the Plan.


Financial Management

4.1    Finance Report

Brian O’Neill provided an update on the following:


  • 2022-23 Forecast figures – Members were asked to note the expected outturn position which is currently under audit by the external auditors.


  • 2023-24 – Members noted the correspondence received by the COO from the Secretary of State (SoS) regarding the budget and that the C&AG would now be writing to the SoS.  Members discussed potential implications for financial management in 2023-24, noting the difficulties that will arise with a budget at the level indicated.


  • IT – Members noted the developments in IT.


Corporate Governance

    1. 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

    1. Communications and Engagement Report
      Members noted the report and asked that a forward look ahead on comms and engagement be included in future reports. 
    2. Staff Conference Survey Results
      SLT welcomed and endorsed the findings in the reported presented.
    1. Handling Correspondence Quarterly Update

MLA Correspondence

Raising Concerns

Brian O’Neill presented a report to update SLT on the current position regarding MLA Correspondence and Raising Concerns cases.  There are currently no MLA correspondence cases outstanding and members were asked to note the ongoing Raising Concerns cases reported.

  1. 2023 Survey of Audited Bodies

Subject to one minor amendment, SLT endorsed the 2023 survey for issuing to audited bodies this week.  Responses from the survey will be considered by the COO to determine any follow-up action that may be required.  A summary report of responses will be shared with SLT and subsequently with all staff.


Risk Management

    1. Corporate Risk Register

The Corporate Risk Register was presented by Colette Kane, minor changes since the last meeting were highlighted for members’ convenience. The current position on risk management was agreed. 


    1. Risk Management Strategy

Members were advised the annual review of the risk management strategy has been completed with only minor changes made.  SLT endorsed the strategy presented.


    1. Annual assurance statement

The draft assurance statement was endorsed by SLT, this will now be presented to ARAC at their next meeting scheduled for 26 June 2023.

    1. Climate Change Risk Assessment

A Climate Change Risk Assessment was identified as an action as part of the NIAO action plan to achieve Net Zero, this was considered by the Corporate Risk Register Working Group at their recent meeting.  Key recommendations identified at this meeting were presented for consideration by SLT.  After discussion members endorsed the recommendations presented.


Audit Technical

    1. Technical Report

Members noted the report presented.  In addition, Suzanne Walsh advised that all Supply training had been completed for staff, this will now be scheduled for SLT.

Papers to note:

  • Draft Agenda – Advisory Board meeting – 8 June 2023

Matters for Escalation to Advisory Board, ARAC, RemCom

No papers presented.


  • Women’s Leadership opportunity has been circulated to relevant members of staff for consideration.

Date of next meeting

20 June 2023 @ 10am