4.1 Gareth introduced the report on the review of fixed asset management, for which all recommendations had been accepted and the follow-up report on the review of facilities contract management.
4.2 In response to questions from Committee members in relation to fixed assets, Nicola Callow assured the committee that:
a. the Commission’s accountant would be working with ICT to identify assets which needed to be capitalised;
b. assets over £5,000 would be picked up as part of the interim review of the accounts;
c. serial numbers for all assets would be recorded before the year-end; and
d. an assessment of exposure on leases had been carried out to prepare for any impact.
4.3 Gareth presented the report on the review of recruitment which had been carried out in response to a request from the Chief Executive.
4.4 Claire assured the Committee that the results of the audit were being used to inform a series of improvements. This would include:
a. the development, by the Management Board, of a set of principles around decision-making for recruitment;
b. ensuring that the policies, processes and guidance were coherent, accessible, regularly reviewed and properly understood by staff;
c. ensuring that the adoption of the principles and policies, and the reasons for decisions around recruitment exercises were transparent;
d. ensuring that thorough reviews were carried out for each recruitment exercise which would include checks that records had been captured and retained in accordance with records management rules and data protection legislation; and
e. encouraging better ownership of issues by Heads of Service around recruitment, development and performance.
4.5 The Committee endorsed this approach and emphasised the importance of transparency, fairness, and effective record-keeping.
4.6 The Chair also offered to work with the Head of HR to develop the recruitment principles and review the underpinning policies and processes. The recruitment business case template would be shared with Committee members.
4.7 Gareth introduced the HR Payroll report via a presentation. The review was carried out by Gareth and Gwyn Thomas, an independent expert.
4.8 This review concentrated on the governance of the project, rather than the core functionality of the system. Gareth concluded that the scope was ambitious, the resources were limited and that the timescales were fixed. These factors contributed to delays in delivering phase 1 of the HR Payroll project.
4.9 His report did not single out individuals, but highlighted recommendations around questions that could have been raised by the Investment Board and Management Board.
4.10 Committee members were surprised that individuals with little or no project management experience were allocated to this important and complex project and that such contradictory answers were given to some of the questions asked of the project team.
4.11 Claire was disappointed and frustrated that this project was not executed to the normal standard of other high profile, complex projects within the Commission. She assured the Committee that for future projects of this scale, SROs and PMs would be selected at the Investment and Resourcing Board. Claire also confirmed that she would write to all new SROs, setting out her expectations of them and would appoint mentors where appropriate.
4.12 The Chair thanked Gareth for his presentation and urged officials that phase 2 should not proceed without full scrutiny of the Project Initiation Document (PID). The project team should embrace external scrutiny to better ensure success.
4.13 It was agreed that all internal audit recommendations from previous years must be completed by the February meeting.
- Nicola Callow to provide an update on recording of serial numbers on all fixed assets at the February meeting.
- Mike Snook to circulate the recruitment business case template to Committee members.
- Mike Snook to engage with a Committee member to provide external scrutiny for phase 2 of the HR/Payroll project, including reviewing the PID.
- Mike Snook to feedback progress on implementation of recommendations for phase 1 of the HR/Payroll project.
- Gareth Watts to report on the sign-off of all internal audit recommendations from previous years at the February meeting.