Audit Committee - End of Mandate Legacy Report

8TH MAY 2007 – 24TH MARCH 2011

1. Committee remit, current membership and powers 

Remit:

The Audit Committee is a Standing Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly established in accordance with paragraph 10 of Strand One of the Belfast Agreement and under Assembly Standing Order No. 58. The Committee has 5 members including a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson and a quorum of 2.

Current Membership:

The membership of the Committee is as follows:

Mr Jonathan Craig (Chairperson)
Mr Samuel Gardiner (Deputy Chairperson)
Dr Stephen Farry
Mr Tommy Gallagher
Mr Paul Maskey

Powers:

The Committee has the power to:

  • Exercise the functions mentioned in Section 66(1) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. The Committee therefore agrees in place of the Department of Finance and Personnel, the estimates of the NIAO and lays them before the Assembly.
  • Table a motion in respect of the salary of the Comptroller and Auditor General Northern Ireland (C & AG).

The Chairperson of the Audit Committee also has a lead role in the recruitment of the C & AG (NI).

2. Achievements of the Committee over the period of the Mandate

  • The Committee agreed that it was content with the NIAO Annual Report and Accounts for each year of the Mandate.
  • The Committee scrutinised and approved the Corporate Plan for each year of the Mandate.
  • The Committee scrutinised and approved the NIAO Estimates for each year of the Mandate.
  • In the last two years of the Mandate the Committee provided a ‘Foreword’ by the Chairperson of the Audit Committee for the NIAO Corporate Plan.
  • The Committee endorsed the recommendation of the Department of Finance and Personnel to appoint Baker Tilly Mooney Moore as Auditor for the NIAO.
  • The Committee has for each financial year taken a decision in respect of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s salary and, where appropriate, has tabled motions for debate in the floor of the Assembly.

3. Committee’s approach to undertaking its work

In considering the NIAO Annual Report and Accounts the Committee considers the Audit Findings Report prepared by the independent auditors and takes evidence from the Comptroller and Auditor General.

When considering the NIAO Corporate Plan and Estimates the Committee takes evidence from the C&AG and also has regard to the advice of the Public Accounts Committee and the Department of Finance and Personnel.

4. Issues and matters that the incoming committee may wish to consider

Further to the outcome of the major review of the judicial salary structure to which the Comptroller and Auditor General’s salary is aligned, the Audit Committee should give consideration to carrying out a review of the options open to it for determining the Comptroller and Auditor General’s salary in the future.

The Audit Committee may wish to consider further the corporate governance arrangements in respect of the NIAO.

The Committee may wish to agree a protocol with the Department of Finance and Personnel to include agreed timescales for considering and agreeing the estimates of the NIAO.

APPENDIX 1

AUDIT COMMITTEE

Change in membership throughout the mandate

Membership (11):

Alliance Dr Stephen Farry 6,7
Democratic Unionist Party Mr Jonathan Craig (Chairperson) 3,4,5
Sinn Fein Mr Paul Maskey 1
Social Democratic and Labour Party Mr Tommy Gallagher 2
Ulster Unionist Party Mr Samuel Gardiner (Deputy Chairperson)

1 with effect from 29 September 2008 Mr Paul Maskey replaced Mr John O’Dowd
2 with effect from 29 June 2009 Mr Tommy Gallagher replaced Mr Pat Ramsey
3 with effect from 4 July 2009 Mr Peter Weir replaced Mr Robin Newton
4 with effect from 28th June 2010 Mr Peter Weir ceased being chair of the Committee
5 with effect from 3rd September 2010 Mr Jonathan Craig was appointed as Chair of the Committee
6 with effect from 13th September 2010 Ms Anna Lo replaced Dr Stephen Farry as a member of the Committee
7 with effect from 15 November 2010 Dr Stephen Farry replaced Ms Anna Lo

APPENDIX 2

Committee meetings and visits
SessionNumber of meetings held% minutes Closed% minutes PublicNumber of meetings held outside Parliament BuildingsNumber of Committee visits
2007
1
34
36
0
0
2007/2008
4
47.8
52.2
0
0
2008/2009
4
40.1
59.9
0
0
2009/2010
3
33.9
66.1
0
0
2010/2011
3
62.2
37.8
0
0
Committee Report
SessionName of ReportDate (date approved by Committee)Date debated in Plenary (if appropriate)
2010/2011 Report on the Estimate of the Northern Ireland Audit Office 2011-12 1 st March 2011 ---
Budget Scrutiny (NIAO Estimates)
SessionNumber of evidence sessions
2007
0
2007/2008
1
2008/2009
1
2009/2010
1
2010/2011
1

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