Audit & Risk Assurance Committee
The Audit and Risk Assurance Committee support the Commissioner as Accounting Officer in monitoring and reviewing corporate governance, finance, risk management and internal control systems.
The Committee comprises five independent members. The committee meets quarterly and the minutes of the meetings are published on our website.
The Committee provides the Commissioner with an annual report which summarises the work of the Committee.
The role of the Committee
The primary purpose of the Committee is to support the Commissioner by reviewing the comprehensiveness of the systems of assurances put in place to meet her Accounting Officer needs and reviewing the reliability and integrity of these systems.
- Providing an opinion on how well the Commissioner is supported in decision making and in discharging her Accounting Officer obligations (particularly in respect of Financial Reporting and Governance arrangements);
- Providing advice and guidance to the Commissioner on the delivery of the objectives of the organisation; and
- Scrutinising the progress of the Commissioner against the delivery of the agreed objectives.
The Committee will advise the Commissioner on:
- the strategic processes for risk management, control and governance and the Governance Statement;
- the accounting policies, the accounts, and the annual report of the organisation, including the process for review of the accounts prior to submission for audit, levels of error identified, and the Accounting Officer’s letter of representation to the Auditor General;
- the planned activity and results of both internal and external audit;
- adequacy of management response to issues identified by audit activity, including external audit’s management letter;
- assurances relating to the corporate governance requirements for the organisation;
- (as appropriate) proposals for tendering for Internal Audit services or for purchase of non-audit services from contractors who provide audit services; and
- anti-fraud and money laundering policies and whistle-blowing processes.
The Committee will also annually review its own effectiveness and report the results of that review to the Commissioner.
Committee Members are not employees of the Commissioner and do not take part in the day-to-day business of the organisation or carry out any executive functions.
Members of the Audit Committee are:
Steve Harford (Chair)
Steve Harford has over 40 years experience of working in both the public and private sectors in Wales. He has an MBA from Cardiff University, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and an affiliate member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
Steve spent the last 18 years of his working career with Careers Wales from where he has recently retired from the role of Director of Corporate Services. During his time at Careers Wales he advised and led on the merger of the previous six local Careers Companies to form one all Wales organisation. He then worked with the Welsh Government to transfer the ownership of Careers Wales to become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Welsh Government.
Steve is a Director/Trustee of Carers Trust South East Wales and is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors. He previously spent eight years as a member of the Gwent Community Health Council. Since retiring Steve has been appointed as a member of the Greater Gwent (Torfaen) Pensions Fund Local Pension Board.
Claire is a Registered General Nurse with 38 years of experience, having retired as the Executive Director of Nursing & Quality in the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust in December 2019. She has extensive experience working across Health Boards and Trusts in NHS Wales in senior professional leadership and management roles, working across a wide range of clinical specialities and corporate functions, i.e. education, audit, research & development, patient experience, concerns, safeguarding, infection prevention & control, quality assurance and improvement.
Starting her career specialising in Cardiac Nursing (WNB); with a Diploma in Nursing, Bachelor of Nursing Degree and Msc in Leadership for Health Services Improvement (Birmingham University). Claire is an active Executive Coach and Mentor (level 7) and NLP Practitioner.
Claire is the Senior Responsible Officer for the digitisation of the nursing documentation programme in NHS Wales, an important programme of work to inform the development of the electronic patient record.
Her personal journey over the last few years as a carer for a member of her family living with her, with Alzheimer`s disease, has led her to advocate for older people and carers. She is passionate about making the difference for older people and applying her experience as a member of the Audit & Risk Assurance Committee with the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.
Phil Davy qualified as a town planner. He held posts in Gloucestershire, Reading and Devon, before becoming Chief Planning Officer with Islwyn Borough Council. He joined Caerphilly County Borough Council when the new local authority was formed in 1996.
Phil was Head of Economic Development for 10 years, managing a service area that covered business development, tourism, and regeneration. Most recently he developed the implementation strategy for a £220m investment programme to improve Caerphilly Council’s housing stock of 11,000 homes to ensure the homes meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.
Phil has a track record of successful development projects notably the Tredomen Business Park including Caerphilly Council’s corporate headquarters, the redevelopment of the former Oakdale Colliery site, and two secondary schools under the Private Finance Initiative.
Phil has held a number of non-executive director roles with Careers Wales, Groundwork Caerphilly and Planning Aid Wales. After 43 years in local government service, Phil has retired from full-time employment.
Phil is currently a Trustee with Torfaen Citizens Advice Bureau.
Julia has worked in the public finance sector for 35 years, firstly in an external audit capacity for 20 years and then moving into public sector accounting.
Following completion of a BA (Hons) degree in Public Administration in 1983, she joined the National Audit Office (NAO) in London as part of the NAO graduate trainee scheme, studying for membership of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. She gained the CIPFA qualification in 1987, after transferring to the NAO (Wales) offices. During that period, she was involved mainly with the audit of financial accounts.
Julia was appointed as the Deputy Chief Executive (Finance, Personnel and Corporate Services) of the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) in January 2014, where she was responsible for financial planning, monitoring and reporting; financial controls; audit, all HR matters including development of HR policies, staff training and development, and also accommodation and related matters. As part of the Senior Management team, she was also involved in the strategic management of the Council. The GTCW was reconfigured, and became the Education Workforce Council in April 2015, and Julia continued as Deputy Chief Executive (Finance, HR and Corporate Services) until retiring from that post in December 2018.
David Powell FCPFA
David has extensive public sector experience gained in Unitary, County and District Councils in England and Wales. For over 10 years he was a Finance Director and has also led various service and corporate areas. From 2013 until leaving local government in 2019 he was at Powys County Council where his roles included Strategic Director of Resources, acting Chief Executive and deputy Chief Executive. Previously he also worked at Herefordshire Council, Gloucestershire County Council and Torfaen Council Borough Council where he was Assistant Director of Education.
Knowledge of the issues facing older people was gained from working in social services departments and as a Board Member of a Charitable Organisation in the older people’s care sector. In addition, he has several years’ experience as a Non-Executive Director (NED) including being a former Chair of Two Rivers Housing Association in Gloucestershire where services for older people were a key priority.
Throughout his career David has also sought to develop and raise awareness of local government finances and community services through representation on national Government panels and he is currently a Local Government Association (LGA) assessor for council service standards, finance and governance. A long-standing member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) he is also a former examiner and became a Fellow of the Institute in 2018.
Audit and Risk Assurance Committee Terms of Reference
Audit and Risk Assurance Committee: Annual Reports
Annual Report 2020-21
Annual Report 2019-20
Annual Report 2018-19
Annual Report 2017-18
Annual Report 2016-17
Annual Report 2015-16
Annual Report 2014-15
Annual Report 2013-14