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Independent Chairperson and Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly Secretariat Audit and Risk Committee

Applicant Information Booklet

Download the Applicant Information Booklet (PDF, 24 pages, 409KB)


The Northern Ireland Assembly Commission (the Assembly Commission) is the body corporate of the Northern Ireland Assembly. It has the responsibility, under section 40(4) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, to provide the Assembly, or ensure that the Assembly is provided, with the property, staff and services required for the Assembly to carry out its work.

The Assembly Commission, illustrated in Annex C, is headed by the Clerk/Chief Executive who is also the Accounting Officer.  The Assembly Commission consists of 3 Directorates – Corporate Services, Legal, Governance and Research Services and Parliamentary Services – as well as a Corporate Support Unit.  It currently has a staffing complement of around 390. 

The main purpose of the Secretariat Audit and Risk Committee (SARC) is to support the Clerk/Chief Executive (in her role as Accounting Officer) and the Assembly Commission in monitoring their responsibilities for issues of risk, control and governance. SARC reviews the comprehensiveness of assurances in meeting the organisation’s assurance needs and reviews the reliability and integrity of these assurances.  Terms of Reference for SARC are provided in Annex A of this document.  

The Assembly Commission is seeking to appoint two independent members to SARC, one of whom will be appointed as Chairperson. It is anticipated that those applicants selected for interview will be invited to appear before a Selection Panel on 17 and 19 November 2021. Whilst requests for alternative interview dates will be considered on the basis of their individual merit, it is not the preference of the Selection Panel to hold interviews on any other dates.

It is anticipated that the successful candidates will take up appointment on 01 December 2021. The merit list from this competition will remain in place for 18 months and may be used to fill vacancies, should they arise. Further details of the selection process are given at the end of this booklet.

This booklet provides information for applicants about the appointment process. It also contains important information on the role and eligibility criteria as well as details of how to apply for the positions. Prospective applicants should read this booklet carefully before completing an application form.

Application forms are available on the Northern Ireland Assembly website and should be completed online. Completed application forms demonstrating the skills and experience sought must be submitted by noon on 01 November 2021.


Appointment Principle

The Assembly Commission is committed to providing equality of opportunity and is committed to the principle that recruitment should be solely on the basis of merit. We welcome applications from all suitably qualified applicants irrespective of religious belief, political opinion, race, age, gender, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or people with dependants or without.


Roles and Responsibilities

The appointment of an independent Chairperson and an independent Member to SARC will facilitate an objective assessment of the assurances provided to the Accounting Officer on the risk management, control and governance arrangements within the Assembly Commission. These assurances include stewardship statements from operational management, financial statements and reports from both Internal and External Audit.

The information provided to SARC will enable the independent Chairperson to advise the Accounting Officer on the adequacy and effectiveness of the assurances and on how well the assurance received meets the assurance need.

SARC will meet at least four times per year, however the independent Chairperson of SARC may convene additional meetings as they deem necessary.

The SARC Chairperson will be expected to attend meetings of the Assembly Commission as an observer.  Should the Chairperson be unavailable to attend a Commission meeting, the independent Member will be expected to attend in his/her place.

The time commitment for both the independent Chairperson and Member is expected to be around eight days per year and remuneration will be £413 per day (£206.50 per half day) for the position of Chairperson and £347 (£173.50 per half day) per day for the Member. The independent Chairperson and Member are not employees of the Assembly Commission.

Further information on the roles and responsibilities are available in the Terms of Reference for SARC (Annex A).  


Term of Appointment

The term of the appointment will be for a period of three years with two optional one-year extensions.


Person Specification

The person appointed will require a combination of appropriate skill and experience and a successful track record built on relevant professional knowledge and experience, good judgement and effective communication.


Essential Criteria

This section sets out the essential knowledge, experience and personal competencies which are necessary to undertake the work of the independent Member of SARC. At the closing date for applications, applicants must demonstrate on their application form and at interview, the following:

i) Experience of promoting, implementing and ensuring good corporate governance, at a senior level*, in either public or private sector including a thorough understanding of internal and external audit and risk management;

ii) Experience of remaining objective and independent, challenging supportively and working well as part of a team;

iii) Experience of effective communication and engagement at a senior level*; and

iv) Experience of promoting, implementing and ensuring good financial management including the ability to competently analyse financial statements and understand good financial management disciplines.

The Chairperson must also demonstrate:

a) Experience of successfully carrying out the role of a Chairperson of a working group, committee or board in an organisation of 100 people or more.

*Senior level is defined as membership ofa Board or a team at the highest level of organisational management who have the day-to-day responsibilities of managing an organisation or company.


Shortlisting Criterion

The Selection Panel reserves the right to use shortlisting as part of the recruitment process for this appointment. Should shortlisting be required, the following shortlisting criteria will be applied:

  • Detailed understanding of the public sector environment and the accountability structures within it.


Pre-appointment Checks

A basic Access NI check and financial check will be completed before appointment as well as references sought.


Conflicts of Interest

It is essential that the person appointed is able to maintain public confidence at all times.

Applicants are required to declare whether they are aware of anything in their private or professional life that would undermine their ability to maintain public confidence or which could be a source of embarrassment to themselves or the Assembly Commission.

Further guidance on probity and conflicts of interest is contained in Annex B of this booklet.

Members of the SARC will record in the SARC Register of Interests any issues on which they might have a conflict or perceived conflict of interest.


Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities

The Assembly Commission operates a Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS). The GIS has been developed for applicants with disabilities or those with a long term impairment or health condition, that is expected to last for at least 12 months and which means that they cannot meet all of the shortlisting criteria. In these instances, provided that they have demonstrated in their application form that they meet the essential criteria for the post, the applicant will be invited to interview. An applicant does not have to have a registered disability to apply under the GIS. The application form will include a section on disability, and an applicant can indicate whether they wish to apply under the GIS for that particular role and the basis on which they qualify for the GIS. When considering applications made under GIS, the Human Resources Office reserves the right to request medical information from the applicant’s general practitioner (through the applicant and with their consent).

We will also consider reasonable adjustments during all stages of the recruitment process as well as any reasonable adjustments required in order for a successful applicant with a disability to undertake the role. If you feel that you require any adjustments to the application stage, please contact us at


Commissioner for Public Appointments – Code of Practice

Although the appointments to SARC do not fall within the remit of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, in the interests of good practice the appointment competition is being managed in accordance with the principles set out in the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The code can be viewed online at


Making an Application

Application forms should be completed online.

Completed application forms must be submitted by noon on 01 November 2021. Late applications will not be accepted.

Further information is available in the Guidance on Recruitment and Selection for Applicants.


Selection Process

There are five elements within the Recruitment and Selection Framework which may be assessed during the selection process:

Experience – the knowledge or mastery of an activity or subject gained through involvement in or exposure to it.

Abilitythe aptitude or potential to perform to the required standard. 

Technical – the demonstration of specific professional skills, knowledge or qualifications.

Assembly Skills and Behaviours – the actions and activities that people do which result in effective performance in a job.

Strengths – the things we do regularly, do well and that motivate us.

The elements which will be assessed for this role will be Experience, Technical and Assembly Skills and Behaviours and will be assessed through the application form and interview. Further information is available in the Recruitment and Selection Framework.

Applicants must use only the application forms provided and must not submit additional material in support of their application forms. No supplementary documents will be accepted.

After the closing date for receipt of applications, the selection panel will consider applications against the essential criteria and only applicants who demonstrate that they meet the essential criteria will proceed to the next stage of the selection process. If it is deemed necessary to shortlist, the shortlisting criteria will be used to decide who appear, based on the information available, to be most suitable in terms of relevant experience and skills to undertake the role and those applicants will be invited to interview.

Final selection of applicants will be based on performance at an interview(s) structured around the essential criteria section of the Person Specification listed above and using the Recruitment and Selection Framework. All applicants will be expected to meet an acceptable level of competence, both in the assessment centre and in each of the essential criterion during the interview.

At interview, applicants should also be prepared to discuss any real, perceived or potential conflicts of interest which might impair their ability to perform the duties of SARC with integrity and objectivity.

The selection panel reserves the right to hold a further interview stage if deemed necessary.  

It is planned that interviews will be held on 17 and 19 November 2021, following which the panel will prepare a recommendation, based on assessment of the applicants and in order of merit, of those deemed most suitable for appointment.


Communication during the Recruitment Process

The Human Resources Office will issue most communication electronically.  Applicants are advised to regularly check their email account to make sure that they do not miss any important communication.  Please note, sometimes the Human Resources Office emails are automatically filtered as spam by email providers. 


Annex A


Annex B


Annex C

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