Audit and Risk Committee’s primary objective is to advise, and provide assurance to Council on, the adequacy, effectiveness and efficiency of the University’s internal control and risk management arrangements.
A key function of Audit and Risk Committee is to recommend the Annual Financial Accounts to Council, or otherwise advise Council of the Committee's areas of concern.
The outcome of the work of the Audit and Risk Committee is to give Council assurance, or advise otherwise, on the adequacy of the University's systems of internal control and risk management to the extent that such controls are within the remit of Audit and Risk Committee.
The Committee’s role relates to the monitoring of processes and controls rather than the actual substance of the business and activities to which these apply.
Audit and Risk Committee may also undertake or commission work to underpin Council's ability and appetite to take or endorse wider strategic and regulatory activities for the University.
The remit of the Committee under the following core, agenda-aligned headings, is:
1 Note to members: The CUC HE Code of Practice for Audit Committee does not define ‘sustainability’ but ARC may wish to interpret this as key underpinning controls (other than financial sustainability and VfM) which mean the institution functions effectively and compliantly. It might include how ARC seeks assurance on environmental sustainability, plus areas which might be candidates for internally driven policy or internal audit assurance as per term of reference b5 statutory and regulatory compliance, anti-fraud and anti-money laundering, health and safety, Prevent duty, business and corporate ethics (ie the University’s institutional level systems for non-academic ethics disclosures), student consumer protection, cybersecurity, major and critical incidents, Insurance arrangements, Public interest disclosure (whistleblowing).
Audit and Risk Committee is principally an advisory committee, with a monitoring function, and in seeking assurance from a range of sources and bodies, and providing assurance to Council on the areas within its remit.
Its role is to be assured that independent oversight of the areas within its remit takes place through the University’s management, governance and control systems.
It is for other bodies and systems to carry out such oversight and monitoring.
The Committee has full authority to commission investigations into specific matters of concern, whether by management, a committee or the internal or external auditors, with an expectation of full cooperation and disclosure.
Audit and Risk Committee is a committee of Council and reports directly to it:
The Committee has no sub-committee or groups. However, in its oversight testing role, the Committee can reasonably request information and documented assurance and disclosures from all other committees and bodies of Council, UEB, Senate and reports from the internal and external auditors, or commission other bodies to undertaken investigations into areas of internal control or risk weakness, incidents such as fraud or financial irregularity or other material adverse events.
The Committee works closely with Finance Committee based on their respective remits, including a distinct but joint role in both bodies’ review and recommendation to Council of the annual financial statements. Audit and Risk Committee provides assurance that there has been a robust examination of the statements via the internal process and management representations and the external audit, and reviews the audit of the institution’s financial statements. It also reviews the audit report, the statement of responsibilities, statement of internal control. Finance Committee endorses the content of the annual financial statements as showing a true and fair view of the University financial performance (based on financial reports received during the year) and recommends approval of the financial statements after a detailed examination. Finance Committee also reviews the accounting policies, judgements and estimates, and going concern assumption proposed by management.
The Committee also has a duty to promote co-ordination between the internal and external auditors. The internal and external auditors shall also have the right to meet the Committee in private and to seek a special meeting if they think it appropriate. At least one annual private meeting shall be held between the Committee and the internal and external auditors.
A minimum of four times per year, with decisions also being able to be transacted and recorded by written resolution or, where necessary, Chair’s Action.
Physical or virtual convening of members and attendees, or meetings which simultaneously enable both modes.
Committee members are appointed by Council on the recommendation of the Constitution and Nominations Committee. In line with the CUC Code of Practice for HE Audit Committees (2020), all members of the Committee must be external Council members or lay members.
The Committee minimum membership must comprise three members, all of whom must be external Council members or other co-opted external members. External Council members must form a majority of the membership over the co-opted members.
Membership will be periodically reviewed on behalf of Council by Governance and Nominations Committee for Council approval. Membership is otherwise coterminous with the individual’s appointment term. Gender balance and wider EDI considerations should be factored into the Committee’s reflection on its own size and composition.
The Chair of Council or Chair of Finance Committee should not be members of the Committee. Proxy or alternate members are not permitted.
50% of members, or 50% rounded up where the number of members is odd.
Agendas and executive summaries for the meetings listed below are currently under preparation for publication, to ensure that they meet ICO, FOI and accessibility requirements. In the meantime, please direct any queries to email@example.com
|Committee Business||Relevant University Policies|
|Risk Management||Information for Committee Members only|
|Relevant External Regulatory Documents||Office for Students|
|Internal Audit||External Audit|
The prime responsibility of internal audit within the higher education sector is to provide the governing body (usually via the audit committee), head of institution and other senior managers with assurance regarding the adequacy and effectiveness of arrangements for risk management, control and governance. Internal audit can also provide independent and objective advice specifically to help management to improve risk management, control and governance, so contributing to the achievement of corporate objectives and reducing the effects of any significant risks faced by the institution.
The University’s current provider of internal audit services is PwC.
The primary role of external auditors within the higher education sector is to report on the financial statements of the institution, carrying out whatever examination of the statements and underlying records and control systems is necessary to form their opinion of the statements. Institutions may also ask external auditors to provide services beyond the scope of audit of the financial statements, including special investigation work, taxation compliance and advice, consultancy and value for money reviews.
The University’s current provider of external audit services is KPMG.
Who to contact
Mr David Watson
Dr Philip Evans
Senior Governance and Assurance Officer
for agendas and minutes
Other useful links