Terms of Reference:
(a) To advise Senate on the appointment of the external auditors, the audit fee, the provision of any non-audit services by the external auditors, and any questions of resignation or dismissal of the external auditors.
(b) To discuss with the external auditors, before the audit begins, the nature and scope of the audit.
(c) To discuss with the external auditors problems and reservations arising from the interim and final audits, including a review of the management letter, incorporating management responses, and any other matters the external auditors may wish to discuss (in the absence of management where necessary).
(d) To consider and advise Senate on the appointment and terms of engagement of the internal audit service, the audit fee, the provision of any non-audit services by the internal auditors, and any questions of resignation or dismissal of the internal auditors.
(e) To review the internal auditors’ audit risk assessment, strategy and programme; consider major findings of internal audit investigations and management’s response and promote co-ordination between the internal and external auditors. The Committee will ensure that the resources made available for internal audit are sufficient to meet the institution’s needs (or make a recommendation to Senate, as appropriate).
(f) To keep under review the effectiveness of the University’s risk management, control and governance arrangements and, in particular, to review the external auditors’ management letter, the internal auditors’ annual report, and management responses. The Committee shall make recommendations to relevant committees or to the Vice-Chancellor to ensure that measures are taken to deal effectively with matters raised in audit reports.
(g) To monitor the implementation of agreed audit-based recommendations, through the Internal Audit Recommendation Schedule (IARS).
(h) To ensure that all significant losses have been properly investigated and that the internal and external auditors and, where appropriate, the HEFCE accounting officer and DEL, have been informed.
(i) To oversee the institution’s policy on fraud irregularity, including being notified of any action taken under that policy.
(j) To satisfy itself that satisfactory arrangements are in place to promote economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
(k) To receive any relevant report from the Northern Ireland Audit Office, the National Audit Office, HEFCE or any other body which fulfils a recognised audit function in respect of the University or related institutions, funded in full or part from public funds.
(l) To monitor annually the performance and effectiveness of the external and internal auditors, including any matters affecting their objectivity, and make recommendations to Senate concerning their re-appointment, where appropriate.
(m) To consider the draft annual financial statements, in the presence of the external auditors, ensuring that sufficient consideration has been given to all relevant matters, that there is compliance with relevant legislation, HEFCE accounts directions, and accounting standards, and that there are no major disagreements between the external auditors and the Planning and Finance Committee and/or the Director of Finance over accounting policies.
(n) In the event of the merger or dissolution of the institution, to ensure that the necessary actions are completed, including arranging for a final set of financial statements to be completed and signed.
(o) “To report on a regular basis to Senate and to compile an annual report which, following consideration by Senate, will be sent to DEL and the HEFCE Assurance Service – this annual report shall include an opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of the University’s arrangements for risk management, internal control, governance and value for money, as well as on its arrangements for the management and quality assurance of data submitted to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), HEFCE and other funding bodies.”
(p) The Committee is authorised by Senate to obtain outside legal of other independent professional advice and to secure the attendance of non-members with relevant experience and expertise if it considers this necessary, normally in consultation with the Registrar and Chief Operating Officer and/or the Chair of Senate. However, it may not incur direct expenditure in this respect in excess of £10,000 without the prior approval of Senate.
3 senior lay members of Senate excluding those included in the membership of the Planning and Finance Committee
|In Attendance:||President and Vice-Chancellor
Registrar and Chief Operating Officer
Director of Finance
Representatives of the Internal and External Auditors
Relevant University Officers as required
|Serviced by:||Registrar's Office|
|Risk Management Committee
Value for Money Steering Group
Internal and External Auditors
|Meetings:||The Audit Committee normally meets four times each year.|