Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2014/2015

Date: 19 May 2015

1. APOLOGIES

1.1 Apologies were received from Brian Moreland. SARC members were informed that Peter Weir MLA had been appointed Chairperson of the Committee for Education and had ceased to be a Commission member and member of SARC with effect from 18 May 2015.

2. DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

2.1 There were no declarations of interests.

3. DRAFT ASSEMBLY RESOURCE ACCOUNTS 2014-15

3.1 Paula McClintock gave SARC members an overview of the draft Assembly Resource Accounts 2014-15.

3.2 Paula advised that the figure work was largely complete, but that an interim valuation on the provision for Members' pension liabilities had been used, pending notification of the final valuation from the Government Actuary's Department. Paula informed members of the content of the Statement of Assembly Supply and the financial commentary. Richard Stewart advised SARC of the recurring problems generated by the inclusion of the provision for the Members' Pension Scheme within the Assembly's accounts. He again expressed the view that the volatility of this single transaction between the interim accounts stage and the final accounts stage (i.e. before and after the preparation of the Spring Supplementary Estimate) had the potential to alter the "true and fair" view required of the Assembly's Accounts.

3.3 Paula updated SARC on the presentation in the Accounts of the sale of Ormiston House, and members agreed that narrative in relation to Ormiston House should also be included in the Strategic Report section.

ACTION: PAULA McCLINTOCK

3.4 SARC members discussed the Governance Statement with officials, and it was agreed that the statement would be expanded to include references to SMG self-assessment and to the Assembly Commission's response in relation to the handling of Members' expenses, including the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) peer review. It was also suggested that the list of principal risks in the Accounts should include funding uncertainty and potential fraud / reputational risk.

ACTION: PAULA McCLINTOCK

3.5 Louise Mason informed SARC that no issues of concern had arisen to date in the NIAO audit of the Assembly Resource Accounts 2014-15.

3.6 SARC members were content, on completion of the actions outlined in paragraphs 3.3 and 3.4, for the draft Accounts to be submitted to the NI Audit Office on Friday 22 May 2015 in accordance with the agreed timetable.

4. SARC ANNUAL REPORT AND SELF ASSESSMENT

4.1 SARC members were content with the SARC Annual Report 2014-15 and self-assessment as drafted. The report will be presented and considered at the Assembly Commission meeting on 10 June 2015.

5. A.O.B.

5.1 There was no other business.

6. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

6.1 The next meeting of SARC will take place on Friday 19 June 2015 at 10.00 am in Room 106, Parliament Buildings.

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