Dorinnia Carville (C&AG)
Rodney Allen, Chair (COO)
Patrick Barr (Director)
Neil Gray (Director)
Colette Kane (Director)
Brian O’Neill (Director)
Tomas Wilkinson (Director)
Louise Donnelly (Secretary)
Terry McGonigal (Non-Executive Director) Agenda item 15
Chantelle Reynolds (Boardroom Apprentice) – Agenda item 15
Suzanne Walsh (Director)
2. Declaration of Conflicts of Interest
There were no issues declared by members.
3. Minutes of previous meeting
Minutes of the previous meeting held on 14 June 2022 were agreed and the matters arising noted as updated.
In response to the C&AG’s request for actions taken in relation to mental wellbeing, Brian O’Neill outlined recent initiatives and upcoming events and encouraged continued use of the WellHub by all staff.
4. External Audit Report
Brian O’Neill provided an overview on the contents of the External Audit Report. A recommendation concerning employee annual leave balances was discussed, it was agreed SMT would review annual leave balances at the six month point of the leave year.
5. Handling Correspondence Quarterly Update
A paper prepared by the Counter Fraud Unit to update SMT on Raising Concerns and MLA Correspondence was presented by Brian O’Neill. Discussion followed concerning the status of the live cases reported with particular focus on raising concerns cases. The C&AG asked Directors to review all raising concerns files held by them and to inform the Counter Fraud Unit of any updates on case progress with particular focus on long standing cases.
6. Business Transformation Programme (BTP) Phase 2 Update
Rodney Allen updated members on the current position of Phase 2 of the Office’s BTP and advised the ‘accommodation refurbishment’ workstream is now complete. He suggested it was an appropriate time to stocktake the overall BTP and consider a refreshed way forward. Members agreed and the C&AG requested that all outstanding milestones be advanced as far as possible by 31 December 2022 to allow a refocus and reshape of the programme in 2023, Rodney Allen will take this forward.
7. Management Information Report
The interactive performance report detailing key performance outturns for the public reporting and financial audit programmes to date was presented. To ensure the accuracy of the report the C&AG asked members to reiterate to staff the importance of keeping all relevant information on Time and Space up to date.
8. Corporate Report
Brian O’Neill provided an overview on the current position with regard to Finance, HR and Business Support:
- Accommodation Project – The project is effectively complete with only minor snagging remaining. The Project Board last met on 3 August. The process of actively seeking tenants is currently in progress.
- IT - An upgrade to IDEA is taking place in the coming weeks and all windows 2012 servers are scheduled for an upgrade in the coming months.
- Attendance Management - Members noted the absence figures per employee in the rolling period 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2022.
- Performance Management – members discussed the status of the mid-year performance reviews due to be completed by the end of July 2022.
- Members were updated on Complaints, Procurement, Legal, Information Management, Governance, Communications, the rebranding project and Assembly Liaison.
9. Technical Report
From the Technical Report provided Rodney Allen updated members on quality control, Whole of Government Accounts 2020-21, Review of Financial Processes and Financial Audit Methodology. Members noted the paper presented.
10. Risk Management
Corporate Risk Register
The Corporate Risk Register was presented by Colette Kane, key changes made following a recent meeting of the Corporate Risk Register Working Group were highlighted in red for member’s convenience. A paper on Horizon Scanning was also presented, members welcomed the paper and agreed to recommend the topic to ARAC to form part of a risk workshop to be scheduled later in the year.
11. Auditee Survey Report
The C&AG and members welcomed the positive outcome and feedback received from the Survey, the overview report has been presented to staff and will be communicated to audited bodies.
12. SMT Self-Assessment Report
Actions on suggestions for further improvement from the exercise were discussed with the C&AG.
13. Papers noted:
- Draft Minutes of ARAC meeting – 21 June 2022
- NIAO Annual Report and Accounts 2021-22
- Date of Next Meeting – The next meeting will be held on 20 September 2022 @ 10am.
- The C&AG advised she has requested a Strategic Review of Impacts, Joe Campbell will review and provide a report.
- The contract for external audit services was queried by the C&AG as we enter the final year of the existing contract. Rodney Allen advised a new procurement would be carried out by the Department of Finance who would liaise closely with NIAO.
Staff will be advised to inform Corporate Services of any issues with the building now that we have returned to University Street. A Pulse Survey of staff is scheduled for the end of September.
15. Recently appointed Non-Executive Director Terry McGonigal and Boardroom Apprentice Chantelle Reynolds joined the meeting to be introduced to SMT.