Audit Committee - End of Session Report 2008 – 2009

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.

The Committee has the power to:

  • Consider and approve the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) estimates
  • Examine and scrutinise the NIAO corporate plan
  • Consider the powers and functions of the NIAO
  • Table a motion in respect of the salary of the Comptroller and Auditor General Northern Ireland (C & AG)
  • Approve the appointment of auditors for the NIAO

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

Membership

The Committee first met on 7 November 2007

The membership of the Committee is:

  • Mr Peter Weir (Chairperson) 3
  • Mr Samuel Gardiner (Deputy Chairperson)
  • Dr Stephen Farry
  • Mr Paul Maskey 1
  • Mr Tommy Gallagher 2

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

End of Session Report

1. This is the first end of session report of the Audit Committee of the NI Assembly from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2009.

2. Coming into this parliamentary year, the Committee brought forward key items of work from the previous year, such as the appointment of auditors for the NIAO and the ongoing review in relation to data matching within the National Fraud Initiative. Additionally, the Committee agreed a work programme that included topics such as resolution of the C & AG salary, a review of the protocol for appointment of the C & AG and arrangements for approval of the NIAO estimates.

Meetings

3. The Committee met on 4 occasions during the year, 3 were held completely in public session and 1 was partly in closed session. All meetings were held in Parliament Buildings.

NIAO Corporate Plan

4. Following a presentation from the NIAO and having discussed the issues, the Committee approved the draft NIAO Corporate Plan 2009-2010 – 2011-2012.

Appointment of Auditors to NIAO

5. Having taken the views of the Department of Finance and Personnel and the NIAO, the Committee endorsed the recommendation that Baker Till Mooney Moore should be appointed as auditors to the NIAO.

NIAO Accounts and Estimates

6. Having considered a submission from the auditors and having examined the NIAO Resource Accounts for year ended 31 March 2008, the Committee was content with the accounts. 7. The Committee agreed the NIAO Estimate for 2009 – 10.

C & AG Salary

8. The Committee agreed an increase in the salary of the C & AG in line with the scale for Judicial Group 5 for 2009 -10.

Motions

The Committee had the following motion debated and agreed in the Assembly:-

That this Assembly determines that the salary to be paid under Article 4(1) of the Audit (NI) Order 1987 to the holder of the office of C & AG from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010 shall be the amount recommended by the Review Body on Senior Salaries as payable for that year to the judiciary at salary group 5.’

Other Issues

10. The Committee also considered the following:-

(a) The implications for the public sector on the introduction of the International Financial Reporting Standards, and

(b) The issues concerning clause 1 of the Financial Provisions Bill (NI) 2009.

Expenditure

11. Details of the Committee’s expenditure are shown in Annex A.

The Way Forward

12. With its new Chairperson and member, the Committee is looking forward to the coming year and agreeing a challenging work programme.

ANNEX A

Audit Committee
Expenditure for the period 1 September 2008 – 31 August 2009

Budget Area

Details

Expenditure

General Expenses

Cost of refreshments for committee meetings

£159.34

Total


£159.34

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