ACARAC (05-19) Paper 3 – G&A update report
4.1 Gareth Watts introduced the report which provided members with an update on recent internal Governance and Assurance work.
4.2 Copies of the reports on the review of the Assembly Commission’s Voluntary Exit Scheme and the Effectiveness Review of the Executive Board had been circulated to Committee members out of meeting on 26 September 2019. Gareth had also undertaken an Effectiveness Review of the Leadership Team and had presented the outcome and recommendations to them. Gareth would keep the Committee up to date with progress against actions arising from both of these reviews.
4.3 The Governance team led on the production of the Annual Report and Accounts for the first time this year. The team had worked closely with colleagues in the Finance and Communications teams, producing drafts in advance of the original deadlines set. A number of recommendations for the 2019-20 report had been agreed by management which, along with a proposed timetable, would be shared with the Committee in due course.
4.4 The Governance team had been meeting with Heads of Service as part of the annual Governance Matters cycle of meetings. This formed the first building blocks for the production of the Annual Governance Statement. Meetings with Directors had been arranged to discuss any issues identified from the Head of Service meetings in preparation for drafting Assurance Statements.
4.5 A review of Fixed Assets was due to take place and Gareth agreed to share the scoping paper ahead of the review commencing.
4.6 A review of the Commission’s approach to engaging with Welsh suppliers had been completed and the report would be circulated when finalised. Suzy asked whether any environmental/sustainability themes or issues had arisen from the review. Gareth indicated that the report included reference to impact assessments but agreed to consider how this could be explored further.
4.7 In relation to the forthcoming review of Project Management Changes, it was noted that, whilst the Commission had made significant improvements in recent years, this was timely given the change of structure put in place around project governance. The Chair agreed to return to this topic once the audit had been concluded. In the meantime, Gareth agreed to circulate the outline scoping paper to Committee members, when available.
4.8 In response to questions from the Committee around any plans for reviewing use of the Assembly’s estate, Arwyn Jones advised that this would form part of the wider engagement strategy.
4.9 Hugh Widdis noted that the review of the impact of the Capacity Review was under way. Gareth advised that the emerging themes were largely consistent with those raised during the Commission’s evidence session at the Finance Committee meeting on 3 October. He added that this review would focus on assurances around the realisation of benefits.
4.10 Hugh re-iterated the importance of conducting audits into Business Directorate areas, where appropriate. Gareth agreed and would be working with Director of Assembly Business to develop the scope of future audit work.
· Provide an update on progress against actions arising from the reviews of Executive Board and Leadership Team
· Share the scoping papers for the audits on Fixed Assets and Review of Project Management Changes