Senior Management Team Terms of Reference

1. Constitution and Purpose  

The Senior Management Team is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of the NIAO. Subject to the C&AG’s statutory position as Corporation Sole and his primacy in setting strategy, policy and procedures, it is the principal mechanism for directing the business and decision making in the NIAO.  

2. Membership  

The Senior Management Team comprises: 

  • the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG);  •  the Chief Operating Officer (COO); and 
  • the Directors. 

The meeting will be chaired by either the C&AG or the COO.  A minimum of four members must be present for the meeting to be deemed quorate.

3. Responsibilities  

The Senior Management Team assists the C&AG in the delivery of the key business areas of the Office. Based on the proportionate application of the ‘Corporate governance in central government departments: Code of good practice NI 2013’, its responsibilities are categorised as follows: 

Strategic Clarity  

  • Setting strategies, plans and policies in accordance with the C&AG’s direction. 

Commercial Sense  

  • Financial and resource management. 
  • Governance arrangements. 
  • Risk management, including the identification and management of key risks. 

Talented People  

  • Ensuring the Office has the capability and capacity to deliver and to plan to meet current and future needs. 

Results Focus  

  • Monitoring performance against corporate, business and operational strategies, plans and policies. 

Management Information  

  • Ensuring clear, consistent and comparable information is used to support the decision making process and drive improvements. 

4. Decisions  

Subject to the primacy of the C&AG, matters that will always be dealt with by the Senior Management Team include the following: 

  • Corporate/business planning, including KPIs; 
  • Operational strategies, policies and plans, including but not limited to: 
    • HR strategy, including performance management; 
    • Learning and development strategy; 
    • Digital Services Strategy; 
    • Risk management strategy; 
    • Anti-fraud strategy; 
    • Workforce Planning; 
    • Quality assurance; 
    • Business continuity planning; 
    • Health and safety policy; and 
    • Equality Scheme; 
  • Audit methodology/approach; 
  • Stakeholder Engagement; 
  • Budgeting; 
  • Annual report and accounts, including governance statement; 
  • Performance monitoring; 
  • Corporate risk register and notification of escalating risk to the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee; 
  • Corporate projects, including change management, business improvement and restructuring initiatives; and 
  • Corporate governance arrangements. 

To support the C&AG’s statutory responsibility as a Corporation Sole it is the responsibility of every other member of the Senior Management Team, at meetings of the Team, to provide the C&AG with comprehensive advice. 

5. Information Requirements 

Main categories of information to be considered at Senior Management Team meetings:

  • Progress against corporate/business plan milestones and metrics; 
  • Performance against key efficiency metrics; 
  • Progress and status of major projects; 
  • Risk management; 
  • Financial management, including use of resources compared to budgets; 
  • Internal audit reports and other assurance/compliance reviews including progress against each of these; and 
  • Monitoring progress on Freedom of information requests, MLA enquiries, concerns raised by whistleblowers etc.   

6. Meetings  

The Senior Management Team should normally meet on a monthly basis. The C&AG may convene additional meetings, as necessary. If appropriate, a meeting may be conducted by conference call. 

In the event of extenuating circumstances preventing the C&AG from participating in any Senior Management Team meeting, the COO will fulfil chairing duties for that meeting. 

The Senior Management Team with the agreement of the C&AG/COO may ask any other officials of the Office to attend to assist with its discussions on any particular matter. 

7. Secretariat Support  

A member of the Business Support Team will provide secretariat support to the Senior Management Team. For each meeting of the Senior Management Team, the Business Support Team will agree an agenda with the SMT members in advance. 

The C&AG will have the final say in the decisions about what business will be taken at any particular meeting. 

For each meeting, the agenda and supporting papers should normally be disseminated at least two clear working days in advance. The business conducted at the meeting, and actions required, are recorded in minutes prepared by the Business Support Team. The draft Senior Management Team minutes are circulated within a week of the meeting to the members and agreed at the next meeting of the Senior Management Team. 

8. Conflicts of Interest and Conduct 

Senior Management Team members will demonstrate leadership by promoting the Office’s agreed values and behaviour standards. They will advise of any external interests that may conflict with duties and responsibilities in accordance with the NIAO Code of Conduct arrangements. 

9. Reporting and communications 

Minutes of all meetings will be made available on both the NIAO website and sent to NonExecutive members. The Senior Management Team will inform the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee and Advisory Board on an ongoing basis of matters relevant to their remit. Significant issues such as risk escalation will be reported promptly.

10. Review and Approval  

These Terms of Reference will be reviewed in April 2022 by the Senior Management Team. 

C&AG’s Signature Kieran Donnelly 

Governance: Senior Management Team  

1. Membership 

  1. C&AG 
  2. COO 
  3. Directors 

2. Key functions 

  1. Organisational leadership 
  2. Strategy development 
  3. Business planning 
  4. Overview of key initiatives 
  5. Staff communications 
  6. Budget management 
  7. Performance reviews 
  8. Quality management 
  9. Change management 
  10. Stakeholder management 

3. Meeting 

  1. Monthly 
  2. 2 hours 

4. Process: Formal