Senior Management Meeting Minutes Sept 2022

Members Present:

Dorinnia Carville, Chair (C&AG)

Rodney Allen (COO)

Patrick Barr (Director)

Neil Gray (Director)

Colette Kane (Director)

Brian O’Neill (Director)

Suzanne Walsh (Director)

Tomas Wilkinson (Director)


In Attendance:

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 16 August 2022 were agreed and the matters arising noted as updated.




  1. Strategic Projects


Accommodation Project

Rodney Allen advised the project had been delivered on time and on budgetThe Project Board last met on 3 August with the next and final meeting scheduled for 26 September, all snagging issues are currently being addressed.  The process of actively seeking tenants is ongoing.


The official opening of the building will be celebrated on Friday 23 September 2022. 


The C&AG and members recorded their thanks to all staff involved in the project particularly members of the Central Services team for all their work that ensured a smooth transition initially, to Bradford Court and then back to University Street. A summary paper is to be presented to the Board meeting in October.





  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.  The C&AG asked members to relay to their teams the importance of keeping all relevant information on Time and Space up to date and also requested that, for the October meeting, the report be made available for the Directorate to review a few days beforehand to ensure that all information was relevant and up to date.


2.2    Position re Backlog Accounts

         Members provided the C&AG with an update on the positon regarding backlog accounts.  The C&AG reiterated the need for Time and Space to be regularly updated to ensure the accuracy of information presented. After discussion surrounding the ongoing resourcing project it was agreed that an updated report would be presented to SMT next month.


The C&AG advised members of a meeting she has scheduled with the Head of the NI Civil Service in early October and asked them to provide her with an accurate update on backlog accounts ahead of the meeting.




  1. People and OD


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 September 2021 to 31 August 2022.
  • Recruitment – Recruitment exercises for the posts of Auditor, Senior Data Scientist and The Head of People and Organisation Development are currently ongoing.   Discussion followed on the annual recruitment exercise for Trainee Accountants due to commence next month.
  • Performance Management – members discussed the status of the mid-year performance reviews that were due to be completed by the end of July 2022, a target for 100% completion was agreed ahead of the October meeting.  Discussion followed concerning the PDP element of the reviews and the C&AG asked that a summary of themes arising from completed PDPs be presented at the October SMT.


  1. Financial Management

Finance Report

Brian O’Neill provided an update on the following:


  • 2022-23 Forecast figures – Members were asked to note the current budgetary position, currently there is no approved estimate for 2022-23 due to the absence of a functioning Executive. There was no June monitoring round for 2022-23 and no October monitoring has been commissioned for the same reason.  A request for contracted out income figures will shortly be sent out to staff.


  • IT Update
    • Time and Space - Final migration and switch over to the upgraded version of Time and Space is scheduled for the end of September, following this migration refresher training will be made available to all to staff.


  1. Corporate Governance


    1. Business Support Services Report

Members were updated on Complaints, Procurement, Legal Advice, Information Management, Governance and Assembly Liaison.

5.2   Revised Internal Audit Plan 22-23

Brian O’Neill presented a revised internal audit plan with changes highlighted in red for member’s convenience.  Members discussed the revised plan particularly the areas of cyber security and governance and risk management.  The plan was agreed for consideration by the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee.


    1. Draft Senior Leadership Team (SLT) Term of Reference (ToR)

Minor amendments were discussed and agreed, the updated ToRs will be presented at the Advisory Board meeting scheduled for October.





  1. Communications and Engagement


                  Brian O’Neill provided an update on the following:


  • Branding Project
    The new brand was formally launched in September 2022 and a video explaining the new brand identity was presented to all staff at the August Staff Brief. To date most templates are complete with some remaining minor technical issues being addressed.

  • Accessibility Project

Members were updated on progress to date, the C&AG asked if a target date had been set for the completion of the project, Brian agreed to check with the Comms Team and report back to the C&AG.



  1. Risk Management


     Corporate Risk Register

The Corporate Risk Register was presented by Colette Kane, key changes made following the August SMT meeting were highlighted in red for member’s convenience.  Discussion followed surrounding risk triggers and associated actions, minor amendments were agreed to actions associated with risk one. 




  1. Audit Technical


Technical Report

Suzanne Walsh updated members on ISQM 1, Review of Financial Processes and Financial Audit Methodology. Discussion followed concerning the resourcing of the Technical Team, members agreed that looking ahead, further consideration was required by SMT.





  1. Matters for escalation to Advisory Board, Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC), Remuneration Committee


  • ARAC Agenda27 September 2022
  • Advisory Board Agenda4 October 2022
  • ECNI S75 Annual Progress Report – Advisory Board to note the report was submitted to the Equality Commission in accordance with the statutory timeframe.
  • IT Assist Services – Assurance Statement 2022, escalated to ARAC Agenda for meeting to be held on 27 September 2022.




  1. Trainee Auditor Contracts


The C&AG presented a paper on proposed revisions to trainee contracts, three options were presented and considered.  After discussion members agreed to progress with option two.


11.    AOB

  • Date of Next Meeting – The next meeting will be held on 18 October 2022 @ 10am.