Date Monday 5 March 2012 Matters arising from the Audit Committee meeting on 5 December 2011 Agenda item 3 Discussion time.

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1 Meeting Audit Committee Date Monday 5 March 2012 Paper title Matters arising from the Audit Committee meeting on 5 December 2011 Agenda item 3 Discussion time NA Purpose of paper Discussion and information Restrictions on public access including staff Restrictions? N If Y please give the reason for the restriction below. Presenter Summary Who has been consulted? Neil Masom The minutes of the last meeting are presented for information. The action points are for discussion and clearance if possible. The action points have been circulated for comments and clearance. 1

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3 Audit Committee minutes Monday 5 December 2011 Members Neil Masom Jane May Michael Thomas Non-executive Director (chair) Non-executive Director Independent Audit Committee Member Attendees Andrew Cryer Finance Manager Simon Entwisle Director Operations (agenda items 1-6) Christopher Graham Information Commissioner and Chief Executive David Wells Head of IT (agenda items 1-6) Paul Eckersley Grant Thornton Ian Falconer Grant Thornton Will Simpson Grant Thornton Sajid Rafiq National Audit Office Peter Bloomfield Senior Corporate Governance Manager (secretariat) 1. Introductions and apologies 1.1. There were apologies from Madeline Dugmore at the NAO. Paul Eckersley, Simon Entwisle and David Wells were welcomed to the meeting. 2. Declaration of interests 2.1. There were no declarations of interest. 3. Action points from the Audit Committee meeting of the 12 September 3.1. The minutes had been previously agreed. 1

4 3.2. Christopher Graham was actioned to consider the costing basis for expected new powers to charge. Treasury guidance stated that full costs should be charged. Once the powers were in place the actual charging mechanism would be considered. This particular action was considered closed The action for secretariat to arrange pre-meetings of the Audit Committee was also complete Andrew Cryer confirmed that he had provided a copy of the NAO questionnaire on financial reporting for committee members and attendees to complete by Christmas. Further questionnaires would be circulated. The results would be discussed at the next Audit Committee. Mike Thomas and Andrew Cryer would meet to discuss the results beforehand. Action Point 1: Secretariat to add an item on financial reporting to the agenda for the next Audit Committee meeting. Action point 2: Andrew Cryer to circulate the NAO questionnaire as appropriate. 4. Commissioner s update 4.1. The Commissioner provided an update on issues affecting the ICO Funding options will be discussed with the Ministry of Justice. Executive Team would first discuss the matter and proposals would come to Management Board in January The matter was being raised because of the difficulties in having two separate funding regimes for, what is now, integrated information rights work, and because the current review of the EU Data Protection Directive might result in changes to the system of notification. In respect of the directive more details were expected in January Also of interest was the post legislative scrutiny of the Freedom of Information Act by the Justice Committee, and the on-going Leveson Inquiry into media ethics in which the ICO was a core participant Christopher Graham advised the Committee that the new position of Director Corporate Services had been advertised. The Remuneration Committee would assist in sifting and interviewing. This position would be key; the new director would be tasked with finding savings from both their directorate and from contractors. It was hoped that they would be in post by 1 April

5 4.6. The recent industrial action was also mentioned, along with the staff survey and the recently announced two year public sector 1% pay limit Some of the issues raised here, and at the recent Management Board Strategy Day, would need to be considered for inclusion in the risk register. 5. Information Technology update 5.1. Simon Entwisle and David Wells attended to update the Committee on IT issues. Re-procurement 5.2. The current managed services contract expires in July There was a provision to extend the contract for a year. Negotiations had been successful and Executive Team and Management Board had recently agreed to an extension on favourable terms. The Ministry of Justice had also given their approval. The contract would therefore be extended The extended contract would form the basis for the reprocurement of the IT managed services a year later. The aim was to build in flexibility around the service provided to allow the ICO to keep pace with new initiatives. Part of the preparatory work included an options study which was planned to end in April Timescales for the re-procurement were recognised as being tight but were thought achievable. The IT team had retained experience from the last re-procurement and had an in-house lawyer working on the project. The new contract was also not radically new which simplified matters Benchmarking was discussed. The IT team had talked to other similar bodies about their IT arrangements and costs. The need for best in class benchmarking was highlighted. This would be considered as well as possibly making use of internal auditors to look at value for money. Action point 3: David Wells to consider options for best in class benchmarking. Action point 4: Simon Entwisle to consider whether or not internal audit assistance would be useful and to feed considerations into discussions on the forthcoming internal audit plan at Executive Team and Management Board in the New Year. 3

6 Replacement of the ICO s notification software 5.6. This project was replacing the software currently used by the ICO to support its notification work. Microsoft Dynamics CRM had been chosen and most of the development was being done in-house to reduce costs. The new system was expected to be up and running by the early summer of Updating the finance system 5.7. The new notification system would integrate with a new finance system. The existing software was out of date and required manual work-rounds. In consequence the need for a replacement had been the subject of comments by the external auditors, much previous discussion at Audit Committee and a letter from the previous chair of the Committee to the previous Commissioner The system was not being replaced this financial year due to financial constraints. However, it was the clear intention to replace the system during 2012/13 although a firm date could not be given. A project board had to be set up and a firm plan developed. This would fall to the new Director of Corporate Services Audit Committee were concerned to ensure that the replacement of the finance system did not slip further. There was a clear need for discussion at Executive Team and for very early discussion with the new Corporate Services Director about the project. The matter needed to be a standing agenda item for the Committee for the year ahead. Action point 5: Secretariat to add the replacement of the finance system to the Committee agenda as a standing item. Other significant projects The ICO planned to integrate its case management work with the new notification system to provide one system which could give an overview of ICO involvement with any particular data controller or public authority. It was hoped to do this by December Other significant projects include changes to the delivery of desktops the so called Gold image with one image for all users. This would help reduce administration as currently all users had their own desktop image. Different applications could simply be added for individuals. More up to date versions of Word and Windows would also be provided. 4

7 These changes would all happen before the freeze on changes to the IT system needed for the re-procurement. 6. Status of audit recommendations 6.1. The report detailing the status of outstanding audit recommendations was considered. David Wells and Simon Entwisle provided updates. Action 9 this action related to the ICO taking account of the government s IT strategy. It was argued that the ICO was aware of developments, in particular the announcement over the summer by the Government of a broad strategy, and it remained alert to any impact on the re-procurement of its IT managed service contract. It was agreed that this action had been cleared. Action 10 the options study would be completed by 31 March It was agreed to amend the completion date for this action, and for actions 12 and 13. Action 11 a risk workshop would be run by the end of the calendar year. It was agreed to amend the completion date for this action. Action 18 given agreement of the contract extension and because this action related to TUPE arrangements arising from the re-procurement, it was agreed to extend this action to the end of the next calendar year. Action 20 it was agreed to keep this action open. It was linked with action 3 from the business continuity planning audit coming to this meeting later. Action 21 as the extended contract had been agreed it was confirmed that this action had been cleared. Action 22 it was agreed that this action was also cleared it related to being aware of the need to consider novation of the IT supplier s contracts during re-procurement. Action 24 David Wells was to confirm whether or not this action was completed. Final documentation on a full application development and test platform had been expected by the end of November. Action 27 completion of this action was subject to the next internal audit review of the new notification software project. Action point 6: Secretariat to update the register of outstanding audit recommendations and to circulate to those involved for a final check on the amendments. 5

8 7. External audit 7.1. The NAO, as external auditors, invited the Committee to consider and discuss: the completeness and coverage of the NAO assessment of potential risks of material misstatement to the financial statements; the risk that the financial statements could be materially misstated due to fraud and communicate any areas of concern to management and the audit team; and the NAO s proposed audit plan to address these risks Sajid Rafiq also updated the Committee on the impact of Clear Line of Sight. This requires the consolidation of all arms length bodies within departmental accounts. The timetable for completion of the ICO annual accounts had been brought forward slightly. This was not a problem In addition the NAO advised that for 2011/12 a Governance Statement would replace the Statement on Internal Control. This would not follow a strict template. The ICO did not consider that complying with the new requirement would be difficult In respect of the Governance Statement the ICO would consider the Treasury guidance and any further guidance for ALBs, and would ensure a draft statement was brought to the next Audit Committee. Action point 7: Secretariat to add an item on the governance statement to the agenda for the next Audit Committee on 5 March 2012 and to facilitate development of a draft statement for discussion at the meeting It was confirmed that the report was not for publication. 8. Internal audit Internal audit progress report 8.1. Grant Thornton advised that there were three reviews where fieldwork was complete or ongoing. These would come to the March Audit Committee meeting. Three reviews remained to be delivered in the last four months of the financial year The planned review of the new finance system control framework had been deferred due to the delay in implementing the project. The review of the project to allow 6

9 data controllers to pay their registration fee by card using the current DUIS system had been cancelled. This was because the project to enable this had, itself, been cancelled Grant Thornton anticipated that the number of days audit would come in under the planned 80 days Grant Thornton would discuss the internal audit plan for 2012/13 with Executive Team and Management Board in January with the aim of bringing a plan to the March Audit Committee for comments and agreement. Government procurement cards 8.5. Grant Thornton concluded that the risk management activities and controls in this area were suitably designed to achieve the objectives required. And those activities and controls examined were operating with sufficient effectiveness to provide reasonable (but not absolute) assurance that the related risk management objectives were achieved There were two low recommendations made; that the ICO should reduce credit limits to better reflect actual use, and that card holders should be reminded to return a signed statement each month. In addition there was one improvement recommendation; that card use be reviewed periodically. These had been agreed by management and would be built into start of the financial year procedures It was confirmed that the ICO could set card limits, transaction limits and limit expenditure to certain set areas. Business continuity planning 8.8. This report was in draft as, at the time the committee papers were being collated, discussion with management side had been on-going. In summary there were three high level recommendations, three medium level recommendations and four low level recommendations The high level recommendations related to a lack of formal risk assessment, the evaluation of mission critical activities, and telecommunications. Medium priority recommendations related to a lack of temporary accommodation, a mismatch between the service level agreement with the IT provider and the current plan, and no plan being in place for a loss of GSI connection It was emphasised by Grant Thornton that this review was advisory and that given the amount of change that had occurred at the ICO since the Business Continuity Plan had 7

10 been developed, the identification of gaps was to be expected. Discussion would be on-going Christopher Graham confirmed that the report would be discussed by Executive Team in January It was confirmed that the progress report and the finalised review could be published. Action point 8: Secretariat to add the review as an agenda item to an Executive Team meeting in January. 9. Risk management 9.1. The risk register had been updated following Management Board on 7 November The Committee questioned the visibility of the tolerated risks on the register. Whilst still on the management summary, tolerated risks had been removed from the register itself. The Committee felt that the risks still needed to be visible until the annual review at least. A decision could then be made as to whether individual tolerated risks were removed or kept based on whether there was a need to continue monitoring any particular risk. Action point 9: Secretariat to add back into the register the details of the tolerated risks The question was also raised as to whether it was the case that no further mitigating actions had been identified, or that no further mitigating actions were felt necessary? Certainly risk owners had not identified any new mitigating actions when the register had been updated and the question asked about tolerating. More care would be taken about the language used to ensure this matter was clear in future Whilst the Committee was pleased to note that a risk had been added, relating to the IT service contract renewal, there was a need to ensure that risks identified (for example) on the Management Board strategy day were similarly captured Risks were added to the register on an ongoing basis and the risk register itself was reviewed annually to ensure it was up to date. However there was an opportunity to review the register earlier than normal as work on the plans and budgets for next year were advanced. 8

11 Action point 10: Secretariat to ensure that Executive Team discussed the risk register and any new risks that should be added, early in the New Year. 10. Financial issues The ICO s quarterly resource accounts were presented for information. The Committee decided that the exact nature of financial reporting to it would be considered following the collation of the results of the questionnaire in the New Year. Action point 11: Further to action point 2, Andrew Cryer and Mike Thomas to meet to discus the results of the questionnaire and financial reporting to Audit Committee. 11. Any other urgent business There was no urgent business. 9

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13 Register of Audit Committee action points that are of continuing relevance Action points shown are those outstanding as of the end of the last meeting even if they have been subsequently cleared. This is to provide an audit trail on clearance of action points. Ref Decision/action point Current status / notes Monday 5 December Secretariat to add an item on financial reporting to the agenda for the next Audit Committee meeting. 2. Andrew Cryer to circulate the NAO questionnaire as appropriate. 3. David Wells to consider options for best in class benchmarking. 4. Simon Entwisle to consider whether or not internal audit assistance would be useful for the IT managed service re-procurement and to feed considerations into discussions on the forthcoming internal audit plan at Executive Team and Management Board in the New Year. 5. Secretariat to add the replacement of the finance system to the Committee agenda as a standing item. 6. Secretariat to update the register of outstanding audit recommendations and to circulate to those involved for a final check on the amendments. - Overall it is not possible to compare IT costs directly. However, the informal view from another organisations who pay less for IT than us is that they believe we are getting a better service and have a more advanced IT capability and will seriously consider whether they should increase their IT spend (David Wells). Grant Thornton has discussed the internal audit plan for 2012/13 with Management Board and Executive Team. 1

14 Ref Decision/action point Current status / notes 7. Secretariat to add an item on the governance statement to the agenda for the next Audit Committee on 5 March 2012 and to facilitate development of a draft statement for discussion at the meeting. 8. Secretariat to add the review of business continuity planning as an agenda item to an Executive Team meeting in January. 9. Secretariat to add back into the register the details of the tolerated risks. 10. Secretariat to ensure that Executive Team discussed the risk register and any new risks that should be added, early in the New Year. 11. Further to action point 2, Andrew Cryer and Mike Thomas to meet to discus the results of the questionnaire and financial reporting to Audit Committee. 2

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