Audit Committee Report on the Estimate of the Northern Ireland Audit Office 2011-2012

AUDIT COMMITTEE

Report on the Estimate of the
Northern Ireland Audit Office 2011-2012

Together with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee and
other Evidence Considered by the Committee Relating to the Report

Ordered by The Audit Committee to be printed 1st March 2011
Report: NIA 46/10/11R Audit Committee

 

Session 2010/2011

First Report

Committee Powers and Membership

1. 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.

2. 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; and to
  • Table a motion in respect of the salary of the Comptroller and Auditor General Northern Ireland (C & AG).

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

4. The membership of the Committee is as follows:

Mr Jonathan Craig (Chairperson)3,4,5
Mr Samuel Gardiner (Deputy Chairperson)
Dr Stephen Farry6,7
Mr Tommy Gallagher2
Mr Paul Maskey[1]

[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

Table of Contents

Report 1

Annex A
Northern Ireland Audit Office Estimate 2011-12

Appendix 1
Other Evidence Considered by the Committee

Appendix 2
Minutes of Proceedings

Report

1. The Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland (C&AG) is head of the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO). The C&AG is responsible for:

  • authorising the issue of money from the Northern Ireland Consolidated Fund to enable Northern Ireland departments to meet their necessary expenditure, and for ensuring that there are adequate arrangements for the collection of revenue; and
  • the external audit of central government bodies in Northern Ireland, including Northern Ireland departments and their executive agencies and a wide range of other public sector bodies, including executive non-departmental public bodies and health and personal social service bodies. The C&AG undertakes financial audit and value for money audit and the results of this work are reported to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The NIAO supports the C&AG in fulfilling these responsibilities. The C&AG and the NIAO are wholly independent of Government.

2. Further to Section 66 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, it is for the Assembly’s Audit Committee (in place of the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP)) to agree the annual estimate of the use of resources by the NIAO and to lay that estimate before the Assembly.

3. This is because the core purpose of the work of the C&AG and the NIAO is to ensure that the Assembly is provided with an effective and truly independent audit assurance in relation to the use of public funds. Removing the NIAO from DFP and the Executive’s remit underlines and strengthens the NIAO’s independence in holding departments, executive agencies and other public bodies to account for their use of public money.

4. Each year the C&AG prepares an estimate of the use of resources by the NIAO for the next financial year. The Audit Committee considers this estimate and, subject to any modifications agreed between it and the C&AG, lays the estimate before the Assembly. In carrying out this function the Committee has regard to the advice of the Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and DFP.

5. In advance of considering the annual estimate, the Audit Committee meets to consider a draft corporate plan for the NIAO. The draft plan is prepared by the C&AG and it sets out the NIAO’s key strategic aims for the next three year period; how the NIAO propose to deliver these aims; and the resources that are required by the NIAO to do so. The draft corporate plan is an important document for the Audit Committee as it provides the necessary background and context to enable the estimate to be agreed subsequently. Given the significance of the corporate plan in this regard, the Audit Committee also seeks the advice of both the PAC and DFP in relation to it.

6. This year, prior to the consideration of either the draft corporate plan or the annual estimate, it was apparent that the level of expenditure available to fund public services in Northern Ireland over the four year budget period would be reduced. The Audit Committee recognised the significant reduction in the levels of funding available from within the Northern Ireland Executive’s Departmental Expenditure Limit over the budget period and concluded that it was important, therefore, that the NIAO should make a significant contribution to reducing its own expenditure over this period. It was the Committee’s view that this was important not only in terms of reducing costs to the public purse, but also in terms of demonstrating that the NIAO was willing and ready to bear its fair share of the savings that need to be made.

7. The Committee also agreed, however, that while it was important that the maximum level of practicable savings should be made it was just as important to ensure that the NIAO has the resources necessary in order to effectively carry out its role. In fact, the role of the NIAO is even more important in the current financial climate. The Audit Committee therefore decided that it would not agree a reduction in the funding for the NIAO that would prevent it from fully carrying out its crucial role.

8. The Audit Committee met on 9 December 2010 and received a presentation from the C&AG on the issue of efficiency savings that could be made by the NIAO over the budget period. This presentation set out how the NIAO intended to build on efficiencies already made by, inter alia, reducing significantly its outsourcing requirements, by reducing recruitment and by implementing a two year pay freeze.

9. The Committee considered carefully the proposed savings that the C&AG outlined. The Committee also gave consideration to the overall reduction to the Northern Ireland Executive’s Departmental Expenditure Limit and to the planned reductions to the budgets of other audit bodies in the UK. Having considered all of this, the Audit Committee agreed that it would expect to see the NIAO reduce its budget requirement by at least 10% in cash terms by 2014/15.

10. The Audit Committee advised the C&AG that the NIAO should therefore proceed to prepare a draft corporate plan for 2011-12 onwards based on this direction.

11. The C&AG prepared a draft corporate plan for the period 2011-12 to 2013-14 and presented this plan to the Audit Committee at its meeting on 1 February 2011. The plan set out the NIAO’s key strategic aims along with the activities and associated targets that will be used to measure performance. The plan also set out the resources that would be required by the NIAO and how those resources would be used. These details are set out in the tables below:

Proposed resource requirement:

  2010-11
£’000
2011-12
£’000
2012-13
£’000
2013-14
£’000
Net resource requirement 9,397* 8,542 8,414 8,329
Decrease (cash terms)   -9% -1.5% -1%
GDP deflator   1.9% 2.3% 2.6%
Decrease (real terms)   -11% -3.8% -3.6%

* This amount is based on the NIAO’s original 2010-11 estimate (before the 2010-11 spring supplementary estimate). In order to aid comparability the figure has been amended to include £388,000 of budget which will be transferred from the National Audit Office (NAO) in respect of the financial audit of policing and justice bodies.

Proposed use of resources:

  2010-11
Estimate
£’000
2011-12
Forecast
£’000
2012-13
Forecast
£’000
2013-14
Forecast
£’000
Staff 7,700 7,467 7,525 7,511
Staff (temporary) 499 140 80 50
Consultancy 279 135 80 50
Contracted out audit 1,356 1,324 1,350 1,377
General expenditure* 2,027 1,556 1,851 1,505
Gross resource requirement 11,861 10,622 10,886 10,493
Income** (2,464) (2,080) (2,472) (2,164)
Net resource requirement*** 9,397 8,542 8,414 8,329

* Other costs include £300,000 in 2010-11 and 2012-13 for the NIAO’s costs incurred in the National Fraud Initiative. This is carried out biannually and leads to some fluctuation between years.

** In order to aid comparability, income in 2010-11 has been adjusted to exclude £388,000 of income which was received in that year from the NAO in respect of the financial audit of policing and justice bodies. This income is being replaced by a budget transfer from the NAO.

*** The net resource requirement is based on the NIAO’s original estimate for 2010-11 (before the 2010-11 spring supplementary estimate).

12. The Audit Committee considered the draft corporate plan and questioned the C&AG and NIAO staff on it. The Committee was satisfied that the draft plan provided for the NIAO to continue to hold the public sector to account for its spending through its core activities of the financial audit of central and local government bodies and the provision of value for money reports for consideration of the Assembly. The Committee also considered the proposed resource requirement in the draft plan and was satisfied that the reduced net resource requirement of 11.5% in cash terms (17.2% in real terms) was consistent with the direction it had given. The Committee sought reassurance from the C&AG that the proposed savings represented the maximum reduction that could be made by the NIAO whilst still maintaining the same quality and extent of service to the Assembly that has been offered in recent years. The C&AG confirmed that this was the case at the committee meeting and then later in written evidence to the Committee (see Appendix 1).

13. The Committee therefore agreed that it was content with the draft corporate plan. The agreed plan is being published separately by the NIAO, with a foreword from the Chairperson of the Audit Committee endorsing the plan on behalf of the Committee.

14. Further to the corporate plan being agreed, the C&AG has prepared his estimate of the use of resources by the NIAO for 2011-12. The estimate is attached at Annex A. As usual, advice was sought from both the PAC and DFP on the estimate. Their responses are attached at Appendix 1 respectively. Both the PAC and DFP have indicated that they are content with the estimate. DFP have stated that some amendment may be required once final allocations have been made in the final budget allocations for 2011-12 and future years. The Committee does not accept this: when it comes to agreeing the funding available to the NIAO, it is the process where the Audit Committee agrees and lays the estimate for the NIAO that has primacy, rather than anything related to the budget.

15. The Audit Committee met on 1 March 2011 and considered the estimate prepared by the C&AG, the advice on the PAC and the advice of DFP. The Committee noted that the estimate produced by the C&AG was consistent with the figures set out in the NIAO’s corporate plan. After having had regard to the advice of both the PAC and DFP the Committee agreed the estimate at Annex A without modification.

16. The publication of this report gives effect to the Committee’s function of laying the estimate before the Assembly. The Audit Committee will forward the estimate to DFP so that it can be included with the main estimates, together with the budget no 2 bill, which typically comes before the Assembly before the summer recess.

Annex A

Northern Ireland Audit Office Estimate 2011-12

Introduction

1. This Estimate provides for expenditure in support of the Northern Ireland Audit Office’s aim of providing objective information, advice and assurance on the use of public funds; encouraging beneficial change in the provision of public services, the highest standards in financial management and reporting and propriety in the conduct of public business; and conducting data matching exercises for the purpose of assisting in the prevention and detection of fraud.

2. The accounts of this body are audited by auditors appointed by the Department (or Minister) and presented to the Assembly.

Part I

    £
RfR A: Providing objective information, advice and assurance on the use of public funds; encouraging beneficial change in the provision of public services, the highest standards in financial management and reporting and propriety in the conduct of public business; conducting data matching exercises for the purpose of assisting in the prevention and detection of fraud. 8,542,000
Net Cash Requirement 8,592,000

Amounts required in the year ending 31 March 2012 for use by the Northern Ireland Audit Office on:

RfR A: Providing objective information, advice and assurance on the use of public funds; encouraging beneficial change in the provision of public services, the highest standards in financial management and reporting and propriety in the conduct of public business; conducting data matching exercises for the purpose of assisting in the prevention and detection of fraud:

  • administration and other support services of the Northern Ireland Audit Office in providing objective information, advice and assurance on the use of public funds; encouraging beneficial change in the provision of public services, the highest standards in financial management and reporting and propriety in the conduct of public business; conducting data matching exercises for the purpose of assisting in the prevention and detection of fraud; and associated non-cash items.

The Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland will account for this Estimate.

  Net Total Allocated in Vote on Account Balance to Complete
£
RfR A 8,542,000 3,784,000 4,758,000
Net Cash Requirement 8,592,000 3,753,000 4,839,000

Part II Subhead Detail

£’000

2011-12 2010-11 Provision 2009-10 Outturn
  Resources Capital
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Admin Other Current Grants Gross Total Accruing Resources Net Total Capital Non -operating Accruing Resources Net Total Resources Net Total Resources
RfR A: Providing objective information, advice and assurance on the use of public funds; encouraging beneficial change in the provision of public services, the highest standards in financial management and reporting and propriety in the conduct of public business; conducting data matching exercises for the purpose of assisting in the prevention and detection of fraud.        
  - 10,622 - 10,622 2,080 8,542 360 - 8,797 8,478
Departmental Expenditure in DEL                  
A-1 Administration - 10,612 - 10,612 2,080 8,532 360 - 8,786 8,537
  Settlement of NICS Equal Pay Claims - - - - - - - - 1 -
Annually managed expenditure                  
  Administration - - - - - - - - - -69
Non Budget                  
A-2 Notional Charges - 10 - 10 - 10 - - 10 10
Total - 10,622 - 10,622 2,080 8,542 360 - 8,797 8,478

Resource to Cash Reconciliation

£’000

  2011-12 Provision 2010-11 Provision 2009-10
Outturn
Net Total Resources 8,542 8,797 8,478
Capital Items
Capital 360 240 216
Total net capital 360 240 216
Accruals to cash adjustments
Depreciation -380 -400 -380
New provisions and adjustments to previous provisions     69
Notional charges -10 -10 -10
Increase(+)/Decrease(-) in debtors     186
Increase(-)/Decrease(+) in creditors     -153
Use of provisions 80 100 62
Total Accruals to cash adjustments -310 -310 -226
Net Cash Required 8,592 8,727 8,468

Part III Extra Receipts payable to the Consolidated Fund

£’000

In addition to Accruing Resources, the following income and receipts relate to this Office and are payable to the Consolidated Fund (cash receipts being shown in italics):

  Provision
2011-12
Provision
2010-11
Outturn
2009-10
Income Receipts Income Receipts Income Receipts  
Operating income and Receipts - Excess ARs - - - - 135 158
Operating income not classified as ARs - - - - 1 3
Non operating income not classified as ARs - - - - 43 1
Total - - - - 179 162

Forecast Statement of Comprehensive Net Expenditure
For the year ending 31 March 2012

£’000

  Provision 2011-12 Provision 2010-11 Outturn 2009-10
Net Administration Costs
Request for Resources A 8,733 8,986 8,531
Total Net Administration Costs 8,733 8,986 8,531
Net Operating Cost 8,733 8,986 8,531
Net Resource Outturn 8,542 8,797 8,478
Resource Budget Outturn 8,723 8,963 8,521

Reconciliation of resource expenditure between Estimates, Accounts and Budgets
For the year ending 31 March 2012

£’000

  Provision 2011-12 Provision 2010-11 Outturn 2009-10
Net Resource Requirement (Estimates) 8,542 8,797 8,478
Adjustments to additionally include:
Add Consolidated Fund Standing Services 191 189 189
Less Consolidated Fund Extra Receipts in the FSCNE - - -136
Net Operating Costs (Accounts) 8,733 8,986 8,531
Adjustments to remove:
Voted resource expenditure outside the budget -10 -10 -10
Other adjustments - -13 -
Resource Budget 8,723 8,963 8,521
Of which:
Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) 8,803 9,063 8,652
Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) -80 -100 -131

Reconciliation of capital expenditure between Estimates, Accounts and Budgets
For the year ending 31 March 2012

£’000

  Provision
2011-12
Provision
2010-11
Outturn
2009-10
Net Capital (Estimates) 360 240 216
Capital Budget 360 240 216
Of which:
Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) 360 240 216
Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) - - -

Accruing Resources Analysis

£’000

Detail Provision 2011-12 Provision 2010-11 Outturn 2009-10
Operating ARs Non - operating ARs Operating ARs Non - operating ARs Operating ARs Non - operating ARs  
RfR A:
Providing objective information, advice and assurance on the use of public funds; encouraging beneficial change in the provision of public services, the highest standards in financial management and reporting and propriety in the conduct of public business; conducting data matching exercises for the purpose of assisting in the prevention and detection of fraud.
2,080 - 2,464 - 2,082 -
Total for RfR A 2,080* - 2,464* - 2,082* -

* Amounts that may be applied as accruing resources in addition to the net total, arising from receipts from bodies in respect of audit services tendered and income from the National Audit Office in respect of work carried out on behalf of the Comptroller and Auditor General (GB); fees received in respect of data matching exercises; income in respect of the recovery of salary etc. costs for seconded-out staff.

Notional Charges in Non-Budget

£’000

  2011-12 2010-11 Provision 2009-10 Outturn
Resources Capital
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Admin Other Current Grants Gross Total Accruing Resources Net Total Capital Non - operating Accruing Resources Net Total Resources Net Total Resources  
NIAO RfR A Notional Charges in Non-Budget
Administration - 10 - 10 - 10 - - 10 10
Total RfR A - 10 - 10 - 10 - - 10 10
Total Notional Charges - 10 - 10 - 10 - - 10 10

Notional Charges Analysis

£’000

    2011-12 Provision 2010-11 Provision 2009-10 Outturn
RfR A: Providing objective information, advice and assurance on the use of public funds; encouraging beneficial change in the provision of public services, the highest standards in financial management and reporting and propriety in the conduct of public business; conducting data matching exercises for the purpose of assisting in the prevention and detection of fraud.      
Departmental Solicitors Office   9 9 9
Land & Property Services   1 1 1
Total RfR A:   10 10 10
Total Notional Charges   10 10 10

Consolidated Fund Extra Receipts (CFERs) Analysis

£’000

Detail

In addition to Accruing Resources the following income and receipts relate to the NIAO and are payable to the Consolidated Fund (cash receipts being shown in italics):

  Provision 2011-12 Provision 2010-11 Outturn 2009-10
Income Receipts Income Receipts Income Receipts  
Operating income and Receipts - Excess ARs - - - - 135 158
Operating income not classified as ARs - - - - 1 3
Non operating income not classified as ARs - - - - 43 1
Total - - - - 179 162

Explanation of Accounting Officer Responsibilities

The Department of Finance and Personnel has appointed the Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland, Mr Kieran Donnelly, as Accounting Officer of the NIAO with responsibility for preparing the Office’s Estimate.

The responsibilities of an Accounting Officer, including responsibility for the propriety and regularity of the public finances for which an Accounting Officer is answerable, for keeping proper records and for safeguarding the NIAO’s assets, are set out in Managing Public Money Northern Ireland.

Notes to the Estimate:

1. The provision sought for 2011-12 is 2.9% lower than the provision for 2010-11

2. Comparative figures in this estimate have been amended to allow for a machinery of government transfer in respect of resources transferred from the National Audit Office in respect of the audits of policing and justice bodies.

Appendix 1

Other Evidence Considered by the Committee

Chair’s Letter

NIAO Letter
NIAO Letter

Supply - NIAO - Main Estimate 2011-12 - Comments to Paul Gill - 24-02-2011

Department of Finance and Personnel
Central Finance Group
Supply
Rathgael House,
Balloo Road
Bangor,
BT19 7NA

Tel No: 028 91 858237 (Network 68237)
Fax No: 028 91 858262
email: robbie.saulters@dfpni.gov.uk

Paul Gill
Clerk to the Audit Committee,
Room 430,
Parliament Buildings,
Stormont,
Belfast
BT4 3XX

24 February 2011

Dear Paul

NIAO Estimate 2011-12

Tomas Wilkinson has sent me a copy of the NIAO Estimate for 2011-12 and you have asked if DFP would be providing any comments on them.

Final budget allocations for 2011-12 and future years have yet to be agreed by the Executive and the Assembly. Consequently our comments are caveated to the extent that some amendment may be required once final allocations have been made although we note that the figures in the Estimate fall within the proposed allocation in the Draft Budget.

Subject to the above we have reviewed the Estimate and are content with the proposal.

A copy of this letter goes to Tomas Wilkinson and Fiona Hamill.

Yours sincerely,

Robbie Saulters Signature

Robbie Saulters

Memo to Clerk Audit Comm re NIAO Estimates
25-02-2011

Public Accounts Committee
Room 371
Parliament Buildings

Tel: +44 (0) 28 9052 1208
Fax: +44 (0) 28 90520366

From: Aoibhinn Treanor
Clerk to the Public Accounts Committee

To: Paul Gill
Clerk to the Audit Committee

Date: 25 February 2011

Subject: NIAO Estimates

At its meeting on 24 February 2011, the Public Accounts Committee considered the NIAO Supplementary Estimate for 2011-12.

I can advise you that the Committee was content with the proposed estimate and agreed to refer the item to Audit Committee for its formal consideration and approval.

With kind regards,

Aoibhinn Treanor Signature

Aoibhinn Treanor
Committee Clerk

Appendix 2

Minutes of Proceedings
relating to the Report

Thursday, 9 December, 2010
Room 135, Parliament Buildings

Present: Mr Jonathan Craig (Chairperson)
Mr Samuel Gardiner (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Tommy Gallagher
Mr Paul Maskey

In Attendance: Mr Paul Gill (Assembly Clerk)
Ms Hilary Bogle (Assistant Clerk)
Mr Michael Greer (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Christopher McNickle (Clerical Officer)

Apologies: Dr Stephen Farry

12.03pm The meeting commenced in open session.

6. Outlook for NIAO Budget 2011-12 – 2014-15

Before addressing the main item under this agenda item, Members noted a tabled paper from the NIAO detailing a proposed supplementary estimate.

The Chairperson invited Mr Donnelly and his colleagues to brief the Committee on this issue.

Mr Donnelly explained the reasons why the negative supplementary estimate was required.

Agreed: Following discussion the Committee approved the NIAO’s supplementary estimate and welcomed assurances in relation to NIAO’s future financial performance.

The Chairperson briefed members on the discussions he had with the NIAO about the need to identify significant efficiencies over the next four years. The Chairperson then invited Mr Donnelly and his colleagues to brief the Committee on the future efficiencies which the NIAO had subsequently identified.

The Chairperson also invited Mr Colin Pidgeon, Assembly Research to brief the Committee on his Research Paper. The paper compared the NIAO’s proposed reductions to the overall reduction to the Northern Ireland Executive’s Departmental Expenditure Limit and to the planned reductions to the budgets of other audit bodies in the UK.

The Committee questioned Mr Donnelly and his colleagues about the level and scope of the proposed efficiencies and noted that they represented the maximum reduction that could be made whilst still maintaining the same quality and extent of service to the Assembly that has been offered in recent years.

Following discussion the Committee thanked Mr Donnelly and his colleagues for attending the meeting.

12.35pm Mr Gallagher joined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Northern Ireland Assembly Research Paper be forwarded to the NIAO.

12.36pm The Committee moved into closed session.

Agreed: Following discussion the Committee agreed that the Chairperson should write to the NIAO indicating that the Committee would expect to see a reduction of at least 10% in cash terms to its budget over the four year period 2011-12 to 2014-15, based on a baseline of its allocation for 2010-11 and that the NIAO should prepare its corporate plan on this basis. The correspondence should also make clear that the Audit Committee is committed to ensuring that the NIAO has the resources necessary in order to ensure that it can provide effective support to the Northern Ireland Assembly in its task of holding Northern Ireland departments, executive agencies and other public bodies to account for their use of public money.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Research Paper be published on the Assembly’s website.

[EXTRACT]

Tuesday, 1 February 2011
Room 144, Parliament Buildings

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

In Attendance: Mr Paul Gill (Assembly Clerk)
Ms Hilary Bogle (Assistant Clerk)
Mr Michael Greer (Clerical Supervisor)Mr Christopher McNickle (Clerical Officer)

Apologies: None.

1.30pm The meeting commenced in open session.

5. Draft NIAO Corporate Plan 2011-12 to 2013-14

Members noted the draft NIAO Corporate Plan 2011-12 to 2013-14.

The Chairperson welcomed Mr Kieran Donnelly, Comptroller and Auditor General; Ms Janet Sides, Assistant Auditor General; Mr Joe Campbell, Audit Manager; and Mr Tomas Wilkinson, Audit Manager, NIAO and invited Mr Donnelly to brief the Committee on the draft NIAO Corporate Plan.

Following discussion and questions from committee members, the Comptroller and Auditor General confirmed that the proposed savings in the draft plan represented the maximum reductions that could be made by the NIAO whilst still maintaining the same quality and extent of service to the Assembly that has been offered in recent years. The Comptroller and Auditor General agreed that he would confirm this in writing to the Committee.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Donnelly and his colleagues for attending.

Members noted and considered the advice provided by the Public Accounts Committee and the Department of Finance and Personnel.

Agreed: The Committee agreed it was content with the draft Corporate Plan.

[EXTRACT]

Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Room 144, Parliament Buildings

Present: Mr Jonathan Craig (Chairperson)
Mr Samuel Gardiner (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Paul Maskey

In Attendance: Mr Paul Gill (Assembly Clerk)
Ms Hilary Bogle (Assistant Clerk)
Mr Michael Greer (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Christopher McNickle (Clerical Officer)

Apologies: Dr Stephen Farry
Mr Tommy Gallagher

1.32pm The meeting commenced in open session.

7. NIAO Estimate for 2011-2012

Members noted the draft NIAO Estimate for 2011-2012.

The Chairperson welcomed Ms Janet Sides, Assistant Auditor General; Mr Tomas Wilkinson, Audit Manager; and Mr Joe Campbell, Audit Manager. The Chairperson invited Ms Sides to present the key issues emerging from the NIAO Estimate.

Following discussion the Chairperson thanked Ms Sides and her colleagues.

Members noted and considered the advice provided by the Public Accounts Committee and the Department of Finance and Personnel.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the NIAO Estimate for 2011-2012.

1.54pm The Committee moved into closed session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the draft Committee Report on the NIAO Estimates for 2011-2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Committee Powers and Membership and Table of Contents should form part of the Report.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that Appendix 1 ‘Other Evidence considered by the Committee’ should form part of the Report.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that Appendix 2 ‘Minutes of Proceedings relating to the Report’ should form part of the Report.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the tabled extract of today’s Minutes of Proceedings should be included in Appendix 1 of the report.

The Committee ordered the Report on the Estimate of the Northern Ireland Audit Office 2011-12 to be printed.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Clerk should write to the Department of Finance and Personnel advising them of the Committee’s position.

[EXTRACT]

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