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Audit and Accountability Meeting Minutes - 27 July 2023

11 Dec 2023


Welcome and Apologies
Declaration of Interests – Review and Update
Minutes and Actions arising from previous meeting

Audit and Accountability Committee
Catherine Dyer (Chair)
Elizabeth Humphreys (LH)
John McCroskie (JMcC)
Lena Collins (LC)
Michelle Wailes (MW)
Robert Scott (RS)

Michelle Macleod Commissioner (MML)
Phil Chapman Director of Operations (PC)
Sharon Smit Accountable Officer / Head of Corporate Services (SS)
Jennifer Fisher Secretariat (JLF)

Brian Battison Audit Scotland (BB)

Welcome and Apologies

The Chair welcomed everyone to the PIRC Audit and Accountability Committee (AAC).

No apologies were noted.

Members agreed to consider agenda items 10-14 in private.

Declaration of Interests – review and update
Following a declaration of interest noted in February 2023, the Chair advised members that the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency had concluded their review and submitted a report to the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. The Chair advised that the review identified no concerns relevant to her position as trustee and director.

Minutes and actions arising from previous meeting

The minutes of the April 2023 meeting were approved.

Action Log
The action log was reviewed - all completed actions were removed from the action log.

ACC Terms of Reference
With one minor amendment, members approved the updated AAC Terms of Reference.

Risk and Control
SS provided members with a verbal summary of the Risk and Control reports (circulated in advance).

Risk Movement Report
SS advised that there have been no changes to any risk scores from the previous quarter. SS advised that some changes have been implemented as a result of the new strategic objectives.

History Report showing Action Changes
SS advised that the History Report provided a detailed summary of all changes made to risk actions to date.

SS noted that the introduction of Risk Coordinators, who are responsible for monitoring and reporting actions / assurances accurately and timeously within the electronic Risk Register, had proved successful.

Members noted the work of all staff involved in ensuring the move to an electronic Risk register had been seamless.

Risk Management Policy
SS advised that the Risk Management Policy had been updated to include the Risk Appetite statement, as agreed at the February 2023 AAC meeting.

Members noted the updates provided.

LH asked SS to explain how appetite was captured within processes and risk assessments undertaken. SS advised that the agreed risk appetites were pre-programmed into the electronic Risk Register, and any changes made, would automatically update the Risk appetite scoring.

Internal Audit
SS provided members with a verbal update in relation to ongoing internal audits.

SS noted that RSM has concluded an audit of Productions . At the time of the meeting, the final audit report was not available as it was undergoing quality assurance checking by the auditors. SS advised that the final report would be available for the November 2023 meeting.

SS commented that a number of ‘low’ level actions identified during the audit, have already been addressed.

SS advised that the next audit scheduled will review the provision of training.

Members noted the update provided.

External Audit – Audit Scotland
BB provided members with a verbal update in relation to the annual audit, currently being undertaken by Audit Scotland.

BB advised members that regrettably, there had been slippage in the timetable and was therefore unable to provide members with a copy of the draft audit report for consideration.

BB highlighted that some of the slippage had arisen due to this being the first year of audit by Audit Scotland. BB highlighted that the timetable was relatively condensed and to relieve pressure for both PIRC staff and auditors, it was considered appropriate to delay issuing the final audit report.

BB noted that the audit is on schedule to be completed by the end of September / beginning of October 2023 and assured members that the final audit report will be available for review and approval at the November 2023 AAC meeting.

SS advised that following some minor amendments / updates that were being made to the draft report, she would circulate a copy to members for review.
AP5 – draft Audit Report to be circulated to members when available.

LH asked BB to provide assurance that this delay would only affect the 2022/2023 audit report and that there would be no consequential delay to future audit reports. BB advised that the expectation is that there would be no delay in issuing future audit reports.

Members noted the update provided.


Management Accounts to end June 2023
SS provided a summary of the Management Accounts as at end of June 2023 (circulated in advance), highlighting the following areas:

  • Overall overspend position YTD, is temporary due to phasing costs associated with accommodation.

  • An Autumn Budget Revision (ABR) or Spring Budget Revision (SBR), will be submitted, reflecting the accommodation budget changes.

  • Capital - Total costs for the Capital spend in relation to Accommodation was approximately £116k.

    • The contract for the accommodation works was agreed in 2022/2023 for £98k however only £56k was spent in 2022/2023.

    • PIRC have requested additional funding for the remainder of the contracted amount agreed in 2022/23.

    • SS noted that efficiencies had been made wherever possible during the accommodation project i.e., desks and equipment were retained and reused, surplus equipment was donated to charity and minimal structural work was undertaken during the project.

  • Total costs for staffing is underspent YTD - this is due to a number of vacancies across the organisation and pay negotiations being underway. It is anticipated that staff costs will not be underspent by year-end.

SS agreed to provide an update to members on pay negotiations when available.

MW noted that there were a number of areas detailed within the Total Running Costs, which had significantly changed and, asked if there was anything of note or concern at this time. SS advised that these changes were largely due to timing of invoices and a phasing issue.

JMcC asked that, as a Grant in Aid organisation, did PIRC anticipate any mid-year-review. SS advised that she anticipated a mid-year-review to occur in September / October 2023.

Members noted the updates provided.


Commissioner’s Report
MML provided a written update to members (circulated in advance), on a range of ongoing work, including:

  • Sheku Bayoh Public Inquiry

  • Police (Ethics, Conduct and Scrutiny) (Scotland) Bill (PECS Bill)

  • Civil Case

  • Victim and Witnesses and Justice Reform Bill

  • Human Rights Bill for Scotland

  • Stakeholder Engagements

  • Website/Intranet Development

  • Recruitment

Police (Ethics, Conduct and Scrutiny) (Scotland) Bill – PECS Bill
An advisory note, drafted by Sharon Clelland, PIRC Head of Legal Services, which provided a summary of the provisions of the PECS Bill relevant to PIRC had previously been circulated to members.

MML advised that discussions are ongoing in relation to matters seeking clarification, including references made within section 8 – Procedures for Misconduct.

MML advised that a meeting has been scheduled for early August between PIRC and SG to clarify matters in relation to Section 8. MML agreed to provide an update to members when available.

LH advised that she found the note beneficial and asked MML to advise if there was any indication of the timescale for implementation of the Bill’s provisions. MML advised that PIRC has not been provided with a definitive timescale, however, advised that ‘evidence sessions’ were scheduled to take place when Parliament resumes in Autumn 2023. MML agreed to provide an update to members when available.

Additionally, MML advised members of the following work being undertaken:

Specification of Documentation - Operation Leacach
MML advised members that PIRC had received a court order for recovery of documents in relation to the investigation of the fatal shooting of Mr Badreddin Abdalla Adam Bosh at the Park Inn Hotel, Glasgow, in June 2020 by officers of Police Scotland.

MML explained that PIRC has been asked to provide copies of all documentation held relating to the investigation for ongoing civil proceedings. She advised that this was a significant undertaking given the volume of documents and productions held by PIRC.

The Chair asked that the leads of the Sponsorship Team be invited to attend the November 2023 meeting.
AP6 – SG Sponsorship Team leads to be invited to attend AAC scheduled for 1 November 2023.

Members noted the updates provided.

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