Audit Advisory Committee Terms of Reference
In line with CIPFA’s position statement, Cheshire Joint Audit Advisory Committee’s (JAAC) key function is to act in an advisory capacity to provide an independent and high-level resource, which supports good governance and strong financial management. The JAAC will provide independent assurance on the adequacy of the risk management framework, the internal control environment and the integrity of the financial reporting and governance processes within the Authority. For the purposes of this document, the term ‘authority’ refers to Cheshire Constabulary and Cheshire PCC.
1. To be satisfied that the assurance statements, including the Annual Governance Statement, properly reflect the risk environment and any actions required to improve it, and demonstrate how governance supports the achievements of the authority’s objectives;
2. To oversee the independence, objectivity, performance and professionalism of the internal audit function;
3. To support the effectiveness of the internal audit process;
4. To promote the effectiveness of internal audit within the assurance framework;
5. To consider the effectiveness of the authority’s risk management arrangements and the control environment and to review the risk profile of the organization and assurances that action is being taken on risk related issues, including partnerships with other organisations;
6. To monitor the effectiveness of the control environment, including arrangements to ensure value for money and for managing the authority’s exposure to the risks of fraud and corruption;
7. To receive the reports and recommendations of external audit and inspection agencies and consider their implications, if any, for governance, risk management or control;
8. To support effective relationships between external audit and internal audit, inspection agencies and other relevant bodies and to encourage the active promotion of the value of the audit process;
9. To review the financial statements, external auditor’s opinion and report to the authority and monitor management action in response to issues raised by external audit;
10. To review any issue referred by the Commissioner, Chief Constable or their statutory officers.
The AAC will comprise a maximum of five independent members, including the Chair, who are independent of the Commissioner and the Chief Constable. A minimum of two members must attend for the meeting to be deemed quorate.
Members will be appointed by the Commissioner and Chief Constable. Initial term of office will be 3 years with up to a further 3 years renewed on an annual basis. The Commissioner and Chief Constable will appoint the Chair from amongst the members.
Right of Attendance
The Commissioner, the Chief Constable and their Statutory Officers have the right of attendance at the Advisory Committee.
Other relevant officers may also attend, if necessary, to brief the Advisory Committee directly on specific items.
To aid the AAC in discharging their purpose and core functions, all Members will be required to undergo appropriate training, as and when required by the Commissioner and the Chief Constable, which will be funded by the Authority.
Arrangements for Meetings
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will provide administrative support for meetings of the Advisory Committee.
The Advisory Committee will meet at least four times a year and will report regularly on their work, preparing an annual report demonstrating an assessment of their performance and how the committee has discharged their responsibilities.
The dates of the meetings will be published on the Commissioner’s and Chief Constable’s websites. Additional meetings may be convened by two or more members having consulted the Commissioner and Chief Constable in writing.
The Advisory Committee is not subject to the Local Government Access to Information legislation but is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. In the interests of transparency it will meet publicly, except when considering restricted information, when it will meet privately.
At the end of the formal agenda, the Advisory Committee will have the opportunity for separate private meetings with the Internal & External Auditors and Statutory Officers. The Advisory Committee should meet with Internal and External Audit at least annually, without officers being present.
The minutes of each Audit Advisory Committee will be presented to the Commissioner and Chief Constable for discussion prior to circulation and will be agreed at the next Audit Advisory Committee.