Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2013/2014

Date: 20 May 2014

Venue: Room 106, Parliament Buildings

APOLOGIES

1.1  Apologies were received from Colm McKenna, Chairperson, who was unavailable, and from Brian Moreland, whose father had passed away.  SARC members recorded their sincere condolences.  

2 DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

2.1 There were no declarations of interests.

3 DRAFT ASSEMBLY RESOURCE ACCOUNTS 2013-14 

3.1 Richard Stewart gave SARC members an overview of the draft Assembly Resource Accounts 2013-14, going through the Accounts section by section.  It was noted that there had been no major changes in the accounting environment or in disclosure requirements. 

3.2 In relation to the Management Commentary, Richard highlighted the inclusion of the personal data incident and paragraphs relating to the Commission’s Complaints procedure.

3.3 On the Corporate Governance Report, Richard gave a verbal update on the underspend figures for General Administrative Expenditure, Members’ Expenses and Office Costs Expenditure, equating to an underspend of some 1.8%.  SARC members noted, however, the impact of assets and liabilities relating to the Assembly Members’ Pension Scheme, where a projected underspend of £5.3m could result in an underspend figure of 11%.

3.4 SARC members acknowledged the vagaries of the financial markets and the impact of this issue each year on the Accounts.  Officials agreed to explore with DFP if any further action on the issue would be appropriate for future years.

ACTION: RICHARD STEWART / TREVOR REANEY

3.5 In the Environmental and Sustainability Report, the reference to salaries for Secretariat staff under “social responsibility” was noted.

3.6 On the Remuneration Report, SARC members noted that pension details were still awaited from Civil Service Pensions.  In relation to the Hutton Fair Pay Disclosure, SARC members noted the restating of last year’s figures for comparison with the 2013-14 figures but requested the inclusion of an asterisk note for clarification.

ACTION: RICHARD STEWART

In relation to Pension benefits listed for Commission members, it was   noted that these related to all service as an Office holder. 

3.7 SARC members noted the Statement of Accounting Officer’s responsibilities.

3.8 Richard gave an overview of the Governance Statement, including audit report findings, the personal data incident, the review of high value business cases and the use of a 5x5 risk assessment matrix.  SARC members noted that there were no red risks at present.  It was acknowledged that this was only the second year of the Governance Statement and any suggestions from the NI Audit Office for improvements would be welcomed.

3.9 The Notes to the Resource Accounts were also considered, including possible technical changes to some accounting standards and the details of one possible minor write-off.  The revaluation of Ormiston House was noted, as were Corporate Strategy measures of success and performance against Directorate Business Plan objectives.

3.10 It was agreed that figures would be inserted into the template and the draft Accounts would be submitted to the NI Audit Office on Friday 23 May 2014.

ACTION: PAULA McCLINTOCK

3.11 Richard thanked Paula for her work on the production of the draft Accounts under difficult circumstances and to a tight timetable.

4 A.O.B.

4.1 There was no other business.

5 DATE OF NEXT MEETING

5.1 The next meeting of SARC will take place on Thursday 19 June 2014 at   

2.00 pm in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

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