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Audit and Risk Assurance Committee

The Wilton Park Board has established an Audit and Risk Assurance Committee as a Committee of the Board, to support them in their responsibilities for issues of risk, control and governance and associated assurance by:

  • Reviewing the comprehensiveness of assurances in meeting the Board Accounting Officer’s assurance needs;
  • Reviewing the reliability and integrity of these assurances;
  • Providing an opinion on how well the Board and Accounting Officer are supported in decision making and in discharging their accountability obligations (particularly in respect of Financial Reporting)

The Audit and Risk Assurance Committee consists of at least three independent members of whom one chairs the committee:

  • Iain Morgan, Chair; retired finance director to the Surgeon-General, Ministry of Defence
  • Victoria Rae, Consultant and Executive Coach
  • Andy Townend, Chief Executive, Townend Consulting Group

The Wilton Park Chief Executive, other members of the Senior Management Team and representatives from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the National Audit Office are invited to attend as appropriate in accordance with accepted practice.

The Audit Committee meets at least three times a year. The Chair may convene additional meetings as necessary.

Wilton Park Audit and Risk Assurance Committee Terms of Reference

Aims and Objectives

The Wilton Park Board (the Board) has established an Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) as a Committee of the Board, to support them in their responsibilities for issues of risk, control and governance and associated assurance by:

Reviewing the comprehensiveness of assurances in meeting the Board / Accounting Officer’s assurance needs;

Reviewing the reliability and integrity of these assurances;

Membership

Iain Morgan                Chair of the ARAC (NED) Since 1 November 2016

Iain Ferguson              Chair Wilton Park Board (NED) Since 1 April 2009

Victoria Rae                NED since 1 March 2017

Andrew Townend        NED since 1 March 2017

ARAC meetings will normally also be attended by the Accounting Officer (Chief Executive), the Finance Director, the Head of Internal Audit, a representative of External Audit (NAO) and a representative of the FCO Public Diplomacy Group and its Resource Management Unit (RMU).

The ARAC may ask any other officials of the organisation to attend to assist it

A minimum of 2 members of the ARAC will be present for the meeting to be deemed quorate.

Frequency of meetings

Meetings are normally held in March, June (to formally approve the Annual Report and Accounts), September and November.

Responsibilities

The ARAC will advise the Accounting Officer (or Board) on:

The strategic processes for risk, control and governance and the Governance Statement;

The accounting policies, key accounting judgements, the accounts, and the annual report of the organisation, including the process for review of the accounts prior to submission for audit, levels of error identified, and management’s letter of representation to the external auditors;

The planned activity and results of both internal and external audit;

Adequacy of management response to issues identified by audit activity, including external audit’s management letter;

Assurances relating to the corporate governance requirements for the organisation;

Anti-fraud policies and whistle-blowing processes.

Fraud reporting

The ARAC may ask any or all of those who normally attend but who are not members to withdraw to facilitate open and frank discussion of particular matters.

The Board may ask the ARAC to convene further meetings to discuss particular issues on which they want the Committee’s advice.

Access

The Head of Internal Audit and the representative of External Audit will have free and confidential access to the Chair of the ARAC.

Effectiveness

The ARAC will also periodically review its own effectiveness and report the results of that review to the Board.

Information requirements

For each meeting the ARAC will be provided with:

Management Accounts and Balanced Scorecard

Full updated Risk Register detailing mitigating actions and outcomes

A progress report from Finance Director summarising Internal Audit actions relating to each of the financial year’s audit, plus detail of outstanding actions and target completion date

A progress report from the Head of Internal Audit summarising: work performed (and a comparison with work planned); key issues emerging from Internal Audit work; management response to audit recommendations; changes to the Periodic Plan; any resourcing issues affecting the delivery of Internal Audit objectives.

A progress report from the External Audit representative summarising work done and emerging findings.

As and when appropriate the Committee will also be provided with:

Wilton Park Financial plan and subsequent re-forecasts

Proposals for changes to the Audit Charter of Internal Audit. The Head of Internal Audit’s Annual Opinion and Report.

The draft accounts and Governance Statement of the organisation. A report on any changes to accounting policies.

External Audit’s management letter.