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Audit & Risk Committee

1 Objectives 

1.1  The Committee shall:    
  • ensure that the internal control systems and the arrangements for risk management, control and governance processes of the Pontefract Academies Trust are independently, objectively and actively monitored
  • reinforce the independence and effectiveness of the internal audit function, providing an independent medium of communication with the Pontefract Academies Trust auditors

2 Membership 

2.1 The Committee shall be appointed by the Pontefract Academies Trust and shall consist of at least 3 Members (one of whom maybe an external co-opted Member).
2.2 Membership precludes the Chair of the Pontefract Academies Trust, the Chief Executive Officer or any other member of the management team of the Pontefract Academies Trust.
2.3 The Committee membership shall be for a period up to three years, extendable by no more than two additional three year periods (so long as members continue to be independent). 
2.4 A quorum shall be 2 members.

3 Appointment of Chair and Vice Chair 

3.1 At the first meeting of the Committee each Trust year, the members shall appoint a Chair and Vice Chair from among their number. 
3.2 The Chair and Vice Chair shall hold office for one year, and until the first meeting of the Committee of each Trust year. 
3.3 At the end of the term of office the Chair and Vice Chair shall be eligible for re- appointment. 
3.4 If the Chair and Vice Chair are absent from any meeting of the Committee, the members shall choose one of their number to act as Chair for that meeting. 

4 Meetings 

4.1  Attendance    
  • The Committee has the authority to invite such persons to attend meetings as may be desirable and necessary, including representatives of the external and internal auditors
  • The Company Secretary shall be the Clerk to the Audit Committee. 
4.2  Frequency of Meetings    
  • Meetings shall be held not less than three times per year.
  • The regularity or financial statements auditors may request a meeting of the Audit Committee or with the Chair of the Audit Committee should they consider that one is necessary. The meetings may be held with or without other participants, as appropriate.
  • In any event, the Committee must consider a minimum number of items of business each year for it to be able to function effectively. 

5 Authority 

5.1 The Committee has authority to obtain external legal or other independent professional advice and to secure the attendance of outsiders with the relevant experience and expertise if it considers this necessary. 
5.2 The Committee may consider and, if appropriate, investigate, or commission investigations into any activity within its terms of reference, including, any complaints relating to alleged fraud or other financial irregularity or malpractice at the Trust in accordance with any financial regulations and procedures established by the Trust. 
5.3 The Committee has the power to seek any information it requires from the internal audit service, the financial statements auditor, governors, committees and Trust employees, plus relevant information from subcontractors and other third parties. 

6 Duties 

6.1  The duties of the Committee shall be:    
  • to review the committee’s membership and effectiveness on an annual basis to ensure that it has appropriate skills and relevant experience;
  • to advise the Trust on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Trust’s systems of internal control and its arrangements for risk management, control and governance processes, and securing economy, efficiency and effectiveness (value for money);
  • to act as the Risk Committee, identifying and reviewing the key risks to which the Trust is exposed, approving the risk management policy, risk register and action plan against significant risks, and monitoring the action plan against significant risks;
  • to advise the Trust on the appointment, reappointment, dismissal and remuneration of the financial statements and regularity auditor and the internal audit service;
  • to advise the Trust on the scope and objectives of the work of the financial statements and regularity auditor and the internal audit service;
  • to prepare the Trustees Report to form part of the Statutory Accounts of the Trust and for filing in accordance with Companies Act requirements ;
  • to ensure effective coordination between the internal audit service, and the financial statements and regularity auditor;
  • to consider and advise the Trust on the audit needs assessment, strategic and annual internal audit plans for the internal audit service;
  • to advise the Trust on internal audit assignment reports and annual reports and on control issues included in the financial statements and regularity auditor’s management letters, and management’s response to these;
  • to monitor, within an agreed timescale, the implementation of agreed recommendations relating to internal audit assignment reports, internal audit annual reports and the financial statements auditor’s management letter;
  • to establish, in conjunction with Trust management, relevant annual performance measures and indicators, and to monitor the effectiveness of the internal audit service and financial statements and regularity auditor through these measures and indicators and decide, based on this review, whether a competition for price and quality of the audit service is appropriate;
  • to produce an annual report for the Trust which includes the committee’s advice on the effectiveness of the Trust’s risk management control and governance processes which incorporates any significant matters arising from the work of the internal audit service and the financial statements and regularity auditor;
  • to ensure compliance with the overall financial plan for the Trust, and with the financial regulations of the EFA / DfE, drawing any matters of concern to the attention of the Board;
  • to consider and advise the Trust on relevant reports from the National Audit Office, funding bodies and other ad hoc reports, and, where appropriate, management’s response to these;
  • to ensure that all allegations of fraud and irregularity are properly followed up;
  • to be informed of all additional services undertaken by the internal audit service, the financial statements auditors and the regularity auditors;
  • to recommend the annual financial statements to the Trust for approval;
  • to consider other matters, as determined from time to time by the Trust.
  • to ensure that additional services undertaken by the auditors are compatible with the audit independence and objectivity;
6.2 The Committee shall review its terms of reference and its compliance with them on an annual basis. 

7 Reporting Procedures 

7.1 The audit committee will report to the Trust Board after each meeting.
7.2 The Clerk to the Committee shall circulate minutes of the meetings of the Committee to all Trust members.
7.3 The Committee will prepare an annual report for the Trust Board covering the accounting year.  This will detail any significant events up to the date of preparation of the report and include the committee’s opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Trust’s arrangements for:    
  • Risk management control and governance
  • Economy, efficiency and effectiveness
  The opinion will be based on the information presented to the committee.    
7.4 The Committee will prepare a report for the Trust Board which provides a report on its work and performance on an annual basis.

Committee Members

Ref No.

Name of Trustee

1.

John Gough

2.

Martin Kingsley Brooke

3.

Philip Geoffrey Morris