Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee Independent Member
1. Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee Overview
At its meeting on 15 March 2022, Hawkesbury City Council established an Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee to promote open and transparent governance that meets community expectations and complies with the recent changes to the requirements of the Local Government Act.
Through this Expression of Interest (EOI) process, Council is seeking to appoint three suitable candidates with appropriate skills and experience for the roles of independent chair (one position) and independent member (two positions) of the Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee.
2. Role and Responsibility of an Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee
The objective of Council’s Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee is to provide independent assurance to Council by monitoring, reviewing and providing advice about Council’s governance processes, compliance, risk management and control frameworks, external accountability obligations and overall performance.
The responsibilities of the Committee will include, but not be limited to, keeping under review the following aspects of Council’s operations:
- risk management
- fraud control
- financial management
- implementation of the strategic plan, delivery program and strategies
- service reviews
- collection of performance measurement data by Council
- internal audit
- any other matters prescribed by the regulations.
3. Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee Terms of Reference
The Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee will operate in accordance with best practice principles and the Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee Terms of Reference. The Terms of Reference are based on the approved Model Terms of Reference contained in the Draft Guidelines for Risk Management and Internal Audit Framework for Local Councils in NSW and reflects the statutory functions of the Committee under section 428A of the Local Government Act 1993.
4. Committee Membership
The Committee membership (voting) comprises of three independent external members, one of whom will be elected as the Chairperson and one (non-voting) Councillor member. The General Manager, Chief Audit Executive and the Internal Audit Coordinator attend Audit, Risk and improvement Committee meetings as non-voting observers and other staff participate in Committee meetings as requested. Representatives from Council’s external auditor and internal audit service provider may also be in attendance.
5. Appointment of Committee members
Appointment of members will be up until September 2024, or the date of the first election after the appointment of membership, or as otherwise determined by resolution of Council, after which members may be eligible for extension or re-appointment following a formal review of performance by Council.
All appointments are to be made based upon a demonstrated ability to meet the selection criteria.
6. Selection Criteria
The independent external members of the Committee, taken collectively, will have a broad range of personal qualities, skills and experience relevant to the operations of Hawkesbury City Council.
At least one member of the Committee will have a strong financial management and/or audit background, with an understanding of accounting and auditing standards in a public sector environment.
The Chair and members of the Committee are expected to understand and observe the requirements of the Office of Local Government (OLG) Draft Guidelines for Risk Management and Internal Audit for local councils in NSW (August 2021) as amended from time to time. Members are also expected to:
- make themselves available as required to attend and participate in meetings
- contribute the time needed to review and understand information provided to it
- apply good analytical skills, objectivity and judgement
- act in the best interests of the Council
- have the personal courage to raise and deal with tough issues, express opinions frankly, ask questions that go to the fundamental core of the issue and pursue independent lines of inquiry
- maintain effective working relationships with the Council
- have strong leadership qualities (Chair)
- lead effective committee meetings (Chair), and
- oversee the Council’s internal audit function (Chair)
To be considered for this role the applicant must meet the independence criteria as follows:
The independent voting committee member cannot:
- currently be a councillor of any NSW council
- be a non-voting representative of the board of a joint organisation
- be a candidate at the last election of the council
- be a person who has held office in the council during its previous term
- be currently employed by the council or a joint organisation, or been employed during the last 12 months
- conduct audits of the council on behalf of the Audit Office of NSW
- have a close personal or business relationship with a councillor or a person who has a senior role in the council that may lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest
- currently, or within the last three years, provided any material goods or services (including consultancy, legal, internal audit and advisory services) to the council which directly affect subjects or issues considered by the audit, risk and improvement committee
- be (or have a close family member who is) a substantial shareholder, owner, officer or employee of a company that has a material business, contractual relationship, direct financial interest or material indirect financial interest with the council or a related entity which could be considered a real or perceived conflict of interest, or
- currently or have previously acted as an advocate of a material interest on behalf of the council or a related entity which could be considered a real or perceived conflict of interest.
The Chair is expected to be highly skilled, possessing leadership qualities, high communication skills and proven ability to promote positive working relationships in a diverse range of Council functional areas. The Chair is to have a sound understanding and demonstrated knowledge of:
- Principles of good organisational governance
- Public sector accountability
- Financial reporting
- Internal audit operations
- Risk management principles
In addition to independence, members of the Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee should be appropriately qualified and applicants should be able to demonstrate a range of skills and experience that will enable them to fulfil their role in line with the Audit, Risk and Improvement Terms of Reference. A high level of financial and business literacy is desirable.
Other relevant skills and experience across the following areas are also highly desirable:
- local government / public sector
- internal audit and external audit
- risk management
- performance management
- financial management and reporting
- human resources management
- internal control frameworks
- fraud and corruption prevention
- IT/cyber security
- the local community, or
- another relevant subject matter
7. Committee Meetings
The Committee shall meet at least four times per year (quarterly), with the standard duration for a meeting being two hours. If necessary, an additional meeting will be held to review and advise on the annual audited financial reports and external audit opinion. Preparation will involve review and critical analysis of the agenda pack.
8. Reporting Arrangements
The Committee’s role is to review aspects of Council’s operation and provide advice and guidance to Council for the purpose of improving the performance of its functions.
Minutes of the Committee are to be reported to Council.
On an annual basis, the Chair will provide a consolidated Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee and Internal Audit Annual Report to Council.
All Committee members are required to comply with the following:
- Maintain confidentiality in relation to all discussions and information obtained during or as a result of Committee meetings
- Declare a direct conflict of interest with any issue on the agenda at the commencement of the meeting or should any potential conflicts occur
- All conflicts of interest are to be declared and recorded in the minutes and, if necessary, the parties involved will be asked to leave the room while the matter is discussed.
10. Code of Conduct
All Committee members shall abide by Council’s Code of Conduct and relevant policies at all times.
11. Induction and training
New members will receive relevant information and briefings on their appointment to assist them to meet their Committee responsibilities.
12. Remuneration for meetings
Council nominated remuneration for independent external Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee Membership is $1,200 (excluding GST) per meeting for the Chair and $1,000 (excluding GST) per meeting for the independent members. This rate is inclusive of time spent on preparation for the meeting and travel.
13. Expression of Interest Submission
Council invites interested persons to submit an Expression of Interest to Council via the on-line application.
All applications should include a covering letter and / or a resume, applicants are requested to address the section criteria and complete the Expression of Interest Application Form.
Applications close Tuesday, 3 May 2022 at 1pm
All enquiries or requests for information should be directed to Mr Charles McElroy, Manager Corporate Services and Governance on telephone (02) 4560 4444 or email Charles.email@example.com
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