The Audit and Risk Committee is a committee of Court. It provides advice to the Court on the effectiveness of the University’s procedures for external and internal audit, financial control, governance and risk management, and provides assurances in these key areas through its annual report to the Scottish Funding Council, which is approved by Court. Its remit is regularly reviewed to ensure compliance with governance codes and guidance.
More specifically, the Committee will:
1. External Audit
1.1 Make recommendations to Court on the appointment (and, if necessary, termination of the appointment) of external auditors, their terms of engagement and remuneration.
1.2 Oversee external audit services, including:
- promoting coordination with internal audit services;
- providing input to, and approving, an annual external audit strategy and plan;
- reviewing reports and recommendations from the external auditors;
- reviewing the adequacy and implementation of the management response;
- reviewing the effectiveness, independence and objectivity of the external auditors;
- reviewing the objectives and scope of any non-statutory audit work undertaken by the external auditors and advising Court on any potential conflict of interest;
- reviewing the draft annual financial statements with the external auditors and recommend their adoption by Court following satisfactory resolution of matters raised;
- reviewing the external auditor’s Management Letter and monitor management’s action on the implementation of the agreed recommendations
- approval of all non-audit services carried out by the External Auditor over the sum of £10k.
2. Internal Audit
2.1 Make recommendations to Court on the appointment (and, if necessary, termination of the appointment) of internal auditors, their terms of engagement and remuneration.
2.2 Oversee internal audit services, including:
- promoting coordination with external audit services;
- providing input to, and approving, a 3-year Internal Audit Strategy and an Annual Internal Audit Plan;
- approving the criteria for grading recommendations in assignment reports as proposed by the Head of the internal audit service
- reviewing reports and recommendations from the internal auditors;
- reviewing the adequacy and implementation of the management response; and
- reviewing the effectiveness, independence and objectivity of the internal auditors;
3. Financial Control
3.1 Review the effectiveness of the University’s systems for:
- financial control;
- obtaining value for money; and
- responding to alleged financial irregularities / fraud.
3.2 In relation to Value for Money:
- advise the Court on Value for Money (VFM) matters arising from internal and external audit reports and relevant external VFM studies of best practice for promoting economy, efficiency and effectiveness;
- receive and approve the University’s Institutional Efficiency Return to the SFC;
- receive and approve the University’s Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) Return to the SFC.
3.3 In relation to alleged financial irregularities:
- receive regular reports from the internal auditors and management on reports received, investigations conducted and action taken; and
- obtain assurances that any significant losses have been appropriately disclosed and (where appropriate) reported to SFC and other external bodies.
4. Risk Management
4.1 Review the effectiveness of mechanisms operated by the University for identifying, assessing and managing risks.
4.2 Regularly consider the current status of core risks to the University’s strategy, through the review of documents presented by management and derived from the Corporate Risk Register.
4.3 Receive regular reports from management on the operation of the University’s Risk Management arrangements.
4.4 Oversee the University’s Public Interest Disclosure [whistle-blowing] policy and receive reports from management on cases.
5.1 To advise the Court on its compliance with corporate governance requirements, good practice guidance and the SFC Accounts Direction, and to review the University’s Statement of Corporate Governance in advance of Court approving the audited financial statements.
The Committee will ensure that the Annual Report presents a fair, balanced and understandable assessment of the University’s position and prospects. This will include a report on key areas looked at in the year.
- Composition and Quorum
The Committee must have an independent* member majority and at least one of its members must have recent and relevant financial expertise. Members are appointed for terms of three years.
Chair - Independent Member of Court
One other Independent Member of the University Court
Two external members appointed by Court on the advice of the Governance and Nominations Committee in consultation with the two lay members.
Co-opted: As deemed required
The Committee may co-opt additional members who have relevant expertise and are in no way connected with the provision of financial services to the University. Where deemed appropriate, one co-opted member may be drawn from academic staff of the University not directly involved in its management.
Director of Finance
Director of Planning
Quorum: 50% of formal membership
Membership (at 26/09/19)
- Mr David MacFarlane (Chair)
- Ms Eleanor Bentley
- Mrs Lynne Macfarlan
- Mrs Morag McNeill (Co-opted)
- Mr Peter Milne (Co-opted)
Clerk: Ruth MacLure
* Independent is defined as both external and independent of the University
- Reporting Line and Interface with Other Committees
Formal reporting line:
- University Court
Interface with other committees:
- Governance & Nominations Committee on governance matters.
The Committee will prepare an annual report covering the institution’s financial year and any significant issues up to the date of preparing the report. The report will be addressed to Court, summarising the activity for the year, and providing an opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of the institution’s risk management, control and governance arrangements. and arrangements for promoting economy, efficiency and effectiveness (VFM) as required by the Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Code of Good Higher Education Governance (2017).
The Committee reports to the next meeting of Court following each of its meetings in the form of an executive summary of its minutes.
- Frequency and Timing of Meetings
Five meetings per session (October, November, February, April, June). One meeting per year is reserved for the consideration of annual reports. At least once a year, the Committee will meet privately with both the internal and external auditors
Meetings between 10-4 in accordance with University Policy.