2.1 The minutes of the meeting on 10 November 2014 were agreed and officials provided the following updates on the outstanding actions.
2.2 4.2c Fixed Assets – Nicola confirmed that the task of tagging 1,700 items was 90% complete with the remaining 10% on target for completion by the end of February.
2.3 4.6 Recruitment – Dave referred the Committee to paper 20 for further information and confirmed that the Recruitment Authorisation Document was in use. The Committee agreed to come back to the Capacity Planning and Recruitment paper at the April meeting.
2.4 4.12 HR Payroll project – Eric informed the Committee of his attendance at Investment and Resourcing Board on 10 December where the Project Initiation Document (PID) for phase 2 of the HR/Payroll project was discussed. Although the bilingual element remained outstanding from phase 1, a robust testing plan for phase 2 was expected. The Chair endorsed the governance and due diligence for the project.
2.5 5.0 External Audit – recommendations in Management Letter. Nicola confirmed that when the Committee discussed the Management Letter in November, there were two items outstanding; ICT testing and reconciling Coda with Folding Space. Nicola went on to provide the following update on the latest position on both items, which had provided assurance to the WAO:
i) the penetration testing of the Assembly website had been carried out and would be repeated regularly;
ii) the data centre, which had been well maintained since being in the Commission’s control, had a newly installed air conditioning system and operational alarm system and the generator had undergone a successful load test in August 2014; and
iii) reconciliation work on the Coda and Folding Space systems had been completed and was being done on an on-going basis. Specifically, the team was working on the latest reconciliation for the period ending 31 December 2014 (publish date 31 March 2015).
2.6 9.1 Continued Commission engagement – Eric welcomed Angela Burns’ return to the Committee which was important in maintaining the Committee’s relationship with the Assembly Commission. The following engagement activity was noted:
i) Attendance by two of the Assembly Commissioners for a presentation at the November ACARAC meeting.
ii) Eric’s intention to once again present the ACARAC Annual Report at the Assembly Commission in July and to discuss Risk and Scenario planning at a future Commission meeting.
2.7 9.2 Consideration of new guidance - Gareth Watts and Eric had reviewed new guidance produced by NAO and HMT and there were no changes to be implemented. The Chair commented that the Committee’s self-assessment process was more robust than that suggested in the guidance.
2.8 9.2 ACARAC members to liaise with Commission teams – Claire and Eric would continue to look for opportunities to liaise with Commission teams when appropriate. Eric referred to the following recent engagement of ACARAC members with Commission teams:
i) Eric scrutinised the HR/Payroll PID and attended an Investment and Resourcing Board meeting to review the revised PID.
ii) Assembly Officials were visiting the Northern Ireland Assembly in February to discuss efficiency, resource planning, governance arrangements and project and programme management.
iii) Hugh Widdis would be attending a Management Board meeting on 26 February to review the Assurance Statements.
iv) Nicola would approach Keith Baldwin for external assurance on replacing the finance system.
2.9 All other outstanding actions were covered as agenda items at this, or future meetings.