Senior Leadership Team - Tuesday 17 December 2022

Members Present:

Dorinnia Carville, Chair (C&AG) – online via MS Teams

Rodney Allen (COO)

Neil Gray (Director)

Colette Kane (Director)

Brian O’Neill (Director)

Suzanne Walsh (Director)

Tomas Wilkinson (Director)



Patrick Barr (Director)


In Attendance:

Julie Brown (Introduction to SLT)

Rebekah Gleghorne (Data Analyst) – Agenda item 2.5

Alison Stafford (Audit Manager) – Agenda item 2.5 and 8

Louise Donnelly (Secretary)





Apologies were recorded from Patrick Barr.



Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

There were no issues declared by members.



Julie Brown, the newly appointed Head of People and Organisation Development was introduced to the team.  Members welcomed Julie to NIAO and are looking forward to working with her when she takes up post at the end of January 2023.








Minutes of previous meeting

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 15 November 2022 were agreed and the matters arising noted as updated.





  1. Strategic Projects


1.1    Accommodation Project

Rodney Allen advised the snagging list continues to be addressed. Liaison is continuing with several potential tenants who have expressed an interest in renting the additional office space, it is anticipated that any income generated from new tenants will be in the next financial year.  The final Project Team and Board meetings will be scheduled in the coming months.  


The C&AG asked for a follow-up report on issues arising from the recent staff survey on the office building to be presented at the January 2023 SLT.





  1. Strategic Performance


2.1    Management Information Report

         The interactive performance report detailing key performance outturns for the public reporting and financial audit programmes to date was presented.  Members noted the report.


2.2    Position re Backlog Accounts

    Members provided the C&AG with an update on the position regarding backlog accounts. The C&AG emphasised the need for a continued focus on clearing the backlog by the end of January 2023.  Members discussed the format of the report and asked if a colour code could be established to show the accounts currently outside the control of NIAO, Brian O’Neill agreed to take this forward.


2.3   Public Reporting Monitoring Report

Members noted the current position, discussion followed concerning the distribution of March publication dates.

2.4    Leadership Forum

Following on from the recent Forum chaired by Patrick Barr it has been decided that another session will be scheduled in the first quarter of the new year.  Actions arising from the last session will be followed up by SLT at their weekly meetings.


2.5    Workforce Planning Report

         Alison Stafford and Rebekah Gleghorne joined the meeting and provided an overview on a review undertaken to identify changes and improvements to workforce planning, which had been requested by the Leadership Forum.  A number of recommendations were proposed in the report and presented to SLT for consideration.  SLT welcomed the report presented and recorded thanks to Alison, Rebekah and the team for the considerable work involved in producing the report.  Members agreed to consider the recommendations proposed and report back to SLT at the January meeting.




  1. People and OD


3.1    People and OD Monthly Report

Brian O’Neill provided an update on the following:

  • Attendance Management - Members noted the absence figures per employee in the rolling period 1 December 2021 to 30 November 2022. 
  • Recruitment – Members were updated on the recruitment campaigns including the Director post, Analyst posts, Auditor posts and Trainee Accountant posts.
  • Annual Leave Uptake - Members noted the current position and agreed staff should continue to be encouraged to take and make use of their leave complement noting the importance of this for health and wellbeing, SLT will continue to closely monitor this and a report to update members on the nine month position will be presented at the January meeting.  


  • Year end Reviews and Planning meetings – Staff have been reminded of the need to complete year end appraisal reviews and planning meetings by 31 January 2023.  Members noted the Board had acknowledged that all interims were complete. 





  1. 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 current budgetary position and the wider developments in relation to departmental budgets being set for 2022-23.


  • IT Update – A Time and Space upgrade is complete.  MKI is currently going through an upgrade process for all staff.





  1. Corporate Governance


    1. Business Support Services Report

Brian O’Neill updated members on Complaints, Procurement, Legal Advice, Information Management, Governance and Assembly Liaison.


    1. Business Continuity Plan

A draft plan was presented to SLT for consideration, all tracked changes were highlighted for members convenience. Members were asked to consider and forward any updates or suggested amendments to Brian O’Neill or Joe Campbell.




  1. Communications and Engagement


    1. Communications and Engagement Update

Brian O’Neill presented a paper to update SLT on the following key areas: accessibility, the branding project, procurement and social media statistics.  Members noted the report presented.



  1. Risk Management


    1. Corporate Risk Register
      The Corporate Risk Register was presented by Colette Kane, key changes since the last meeting were highlighted in red for members’ convenience.  A meeting has been scheduled for 21 December 2022 to allow the COO and directors to consider in detail the current assessment in relation to risk one and further actions that may need to be taken. 




  1. Audit Technical


8.1   Technical Report

Suzanne Walsh updated members on the following key points in her paper:


  • RoFP - Resources for the 21-22 dry run audit have been released to staff and the RoFP folder within technical guidance folder in Huggett includes all information that teams require, including RoFP guidance notes issued by DoF and dry run 2021-22 SSEs.
  • ISA 315 training has been completed and has been well received by staff.
  • Whole of Government Accounts 2020-21 – the deadline for submission is 31 March 2023.
  • ICAEW – Quality assurance results expected to be available in January.

SLT recorded their thanks to staff in the Technical Team for all the work involved in these projects to date.


8.2    Alison Stafford presented a paper on the following key areas concerning the Data Analytics Team:

  • An overview of the work of the Team for 2022
  • A look ahead to the challenges facing the Team in the 2023-24 year with a particular concern surrounging resourcing.
  • Suggested Interim Solutions


Members welcomed the paper provided and discussed the interim solutions suggested and agreed an immediate action to appoint a trainee accountant to assist with resourcing the Team.




  1. Papers to note:


No papers were presented.



  1. Matters for Escalation to Advisory Board, ARAC, RemCom


No matters were presented.




11.    AOB


11.1 Rodney Allen advised a revised ‘working principles’ paper would be issued to SLT later today for consideration following a recent review by the Future Working Group.  Members were asked to consider and provide feedback before the Christmas holiday leave period.  The revised paper will be issued to staff in January 2023.



  1. Date of Next Meeting
    The next meeting will be held on 23 January 2023 @ 10am.