Kieran Rix (KR), Director of Finance & Corporate Services
Katy Thomas (KT), Head of Strategic Planning & Resource
Jennifer Hartland (JH), Head of HR
Nancy Bruseker (NB), Secretary to the Board
Ioana Stefu (IS), NAO
Reshma Menon-Jones (RMJ), NAO
Gary Stewart (GS), Mazars
Internal Audit: Core Financial Systems – Payroll, Mazars
GS introduced the paper. He summarised the findings, which showed that the Commission had adequate assurance. He noted one priority 2 recommendation on the handling of information held by Northgate, the outsourced payroll provider.
AM asked for clarification on the final paragraph of the introduction to the report. He sought assurance that if issues outside the scope of the audit were found during the audit they would be raised if sufficiently important.
GS confirmed that major issues would be raised with senior managers in the Commission. He also said he would feed back to Mazars that the wording in the paragraph, though included as a catch-all, was unhelpful.
AM also sought clarification as to why overtime payments were not linked directly to payment of a staff member’s salary. It was explained that the pay systems were too complex to allow for direct linkage.
KR explained that the short term solution was better information sharing between the Commission’s HR and Finance teams and the external payroll provider Northgate. This would enable Finance to confirm that the payments being made by Northgate were accurate. CB also noted that the HR software systems were due to be upgraded, which would provide the longer term solution. This work is already in hand.
PR asked if the auditors had found that appropriate pension sums had been transferred to the pension schemes. GS agreed to verify and report back to PR directly.
PR also asked if the information sharing, as described in paragraph 1.5, was already ongoing. KR reported that it was, if not fully embedded.
SB noted that the cost per transaction was high and this should be considered in the full review and replacement of the system.
The report was agreed.
Elan Closs Stephens arrived at 1:50pm.
Internal Audit: Core financial Systems – General Ledger, Mazars
GS introduced the paper noting that they had found substantial assurance overall. A number of small fixes had been suggested, which were noted in the report.
KR noted that the detail would be incorporated into a revised financial handbook which would be geared towards a general staff audience. A discussion followed on retrospective purchase orders.
GS noted that this report did not include a close investigation into procurement, as this was dealt with in a separate audit.
ECS noted her approval at a clean report.
Committee Strategy Session
Presentations on the functions of audit committees were heard and a general discussion on the future of the Commission audit committee was had.
The following actions were recorded:
A future meeting to have a deep dive on horizon scanning
Production of a detailed annual audit plan from January 2019
Scheduling of a March 2019 session on committee effectiveness