Annual Report - Audit and Risk Assurance Committee

This page gives details of any meetings held which will, or did, discuss the matter, and includes links to the relevant Papers, Agendas and Minutes.

Note: Meeting Agenda can change at short notice. Particularly where future meeting dates are indicated more than a week in advance. Please check before planning to attend a Committee Meeting that the item you are interested in has not been moved.

Meeting: 29/04/2022 - Senedd Commission Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (Item 11)

Commission's draft Annual Report and Governance Statement for 2021-22

Supporting documents:

  • Restricted enclosure 2
  • Restricted enclosure 3
  • Restricted enclosure 4


Commission Governance

ARAC (22-02) Paper 9 - Draft Annual Report 2021-22 - cover paper

ARAC (22-02) Paper 9 – Annex A – draft Annual Report Narrative

ARAC (22-02) Paper 9 – Annex B – draft Annual Governance Statement

11.1 Arwyn introduced this item and invited Committee members to comment on the draft narrative included in the Commission’s draft Annual Report and Accounts (ARA) and the draft Governance Statement for 2021-22.

11.2 Arwyn outlined plans to present the report in a more interactive online format to make it more accessible and reach a wider audience, something the Committee had been keen for the Commission to pursue. He presented a mock-up of the landing pages which had been designed in compliance with an accessibility impact assessment. 

11.3 Arwyn described how this format provided the opportunity to include links to video and digital content, as well as the array of articles and further information already created during the year. He considered this to be a great way to recycle existing material and develop the report as a communications tool as well as satisfying a governance and accountability requirement.   

11.4 The Committee members were pleased to see plans for such a positive online presence. In terms of developing the format going forward, they encouraged the team to focus the links on content and stories that contained a human element e.g. the carrier of the mace for the official opening, and to consider the order of the report to focus on citizens. Arwyn welcomed this feedback which he agreed to take on board.

11.5 In response to questions about reach and engagement, Arwyn advised that infographics containing this information were yet to be populated in the report. In terms of the demographics on engagement, plans were in place to introduce tools and systems such as media monitoring and customer relationship management which would help the Commission to better measure and report on engagement. He also outlined plans for increasing presence on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to target a younger audience, and for engaging in a more proactive way with schools.

11.6 Arwyn and Nia confirmed that, for audit purposes, a printable physical version of the Annual Report and Accounts would be produced for the Auditor General for Wales to sign and that would be the version laid before the Senedd. Nia added that the format proposed would make it easier for readers interested in the financial statements to access that part of the report. 

11.7 The Chair was pleased with the advanced state and content of the draft Governance Statement, noting that this was a key document in terms of accountability. He welcomed the items listed under the areas of focus for 2022-23 and asked Committee members to pass on any comments on the statement to the clerking team. It was agreed that the Committee would be kept informed of discussions by the Executive Board on risk appetite. 


Meeting: 18/06/2021 - Senedd Commission Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (Item 5)

Consider the Commission's Annual Report and Statement of Accounts 2020-21 (to recommend the signing of the accounts)

Supporting documents:

  • Restricted enclosure 7
  • Restricted enclosure 8


ARAC (03-21) Paper 4 - Annual Report and Accounts 2020-21 – cover paper

ARAC (03-21) Paper 4 - Annex A – Annual Report and Accounts 2020-21      

5.1 The Chair invited officials to introduce this item and highlight any area for discussion on the Commission’s Annual Report and Accounts. Arwyn Jones noted his thanks to Victoria Paris for co-ordinating its production to a tight timescale and for the contributions from colleagues from across the organisation. He also noted his thanks to Suzy Davies and the other current Commissioners for their input and approval of the report.

5.2 Arwyn highlighted that the focus in this year’s report was on turning the different ways of working as a result of the pandemic into business as usual. This included details of planning for Sixth Senedd with a workforce which was as productive and flexible as possible in the services provided to Members. He invited comments from Committee members.

5.3 The Committee thanked the staff for their work on the very detailed and thorough report. There was a discussion about the length and readability of the report and acknowledgement from Committee members that its content was based on statutory and good practice reporting requirements. There was also a discussion around plans for future digital versions to improve its readability and to facilitate reach to a wider audience. 

5.4 Manon agreed that it was a detailed document, and reminded the Committee of the positive feedback received from the Senedd’s Finance and Public Accounts  Committees on their scrutiny of previous reports. 

5.5 Arwyn welcomed the constructive feedback on the report and noted that preparation would commence earlier next year to accommodate plans for digital and interactive presentation.

5.6 In relation to the accounts, Nia highlighted that a breakdown of election-related costs had been included in the table of net resources outturn in the revised version presented to the Committee. She also highlighted the inclusion of the Financial Review section in the report’s narrative which was a new FREM requirement.

5.7 The Chair gave credit for a very satisfactory set of accounts and acknowledged their close management. He expressed how impressed he was with the content, quality and accuracy of the Annual Report and Accounts, especially given its early production, the disruption caused by the ongoing pandemic and the small team involved.

5.8 The Committee also wished to record their satisfaction that the pension fund had moved away from investment in oil and gas companies to more sustainable options. They had also appreciated sight of the correspondence with the Finance and Public Accounts Committees on Covid-related spend.

5.9 The Committee recommended to the Accounting Officer that the financial statements for 2020-21 should be signed. An electronic signature would be added before laying and publishing the report.


Meeting: 15/07/2019 - Senedd Commission Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (Item 3)

Annual Report and Statement of Accounts

Supporting documents:

  • Restricted enclosure 11
  • Restricted enclosure 12


ACARAC (04-19) Paper 3 – Annual Report and Accounts 2018-19

ACARAC (04-19) Paper 3 Annex A – Annual Report and Accounts 2018-19

3.1        The Chair and Manon Antoniazzi invited comments from Committee members on the Annual Report and Accounts and clarified that it was the Commission’s role to approve the Annual Report element.

3.2        The Chair reiterated that he thought the Annual Report and Accounts was accessible and presented a very good account of Assembly activity and achievements.

3.3        Hugh Widdis highlighted a wording error in the Annual Report which was corrected.

3.4        The Chair invited Nia Morgan to comment on the accounts and to provide some context to the adjustment made to reflect the impact of the recent Supreme Court McCloud  judgement. This judgment required a £1million adjustment to the amount the Assembly Commission recognises in respect of the Assembly Members’ Pension Scheme liability.

3.5        Nia explained that, apart from the pension adjustment nothing had changed since the ISA260 had been presented in June. She also explained the process which had been agreed with the actuaries and WAO of estimating the budget impact of the pension judgement, as a full revaluation would cost around £5k and was not deemed to be good value for money. Gareth Lucey added that the Commission’s approach was a sensible one and was consistent with estimated adjustments applied by other affected public sector bodies. The Chair welcomed this approach and the agreement by the WAO.  The Chair thanked Nia for the way in which the last minute adjustment had been handled.

3.6        Nia Morgan advised that the underspend remained as expected. She also highlighted that the lessons learned from this year’s audit would be discussed at a review meeting which had been scheduled between WAO and the Commission’s Finance team. This would include discussions about the timing of the audit for next year to facilitate earlier signing of the accounts.

3.7        Gareth Lucey confirmed that WAO had not identified any material issues during their audit of the Commission’s accounts.

3.8        The Chair thanked Nia and all involved for their contribution to the Annual Report and Accounts and formally recommended that the Assembly Commission give approval for the Chief Executive and Clerk, and Accounting Officer sign the Statement of Accounts.

Meeting: 09/07/2018 - Senedd Commission Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (Item 3)

Annual Report and Accounts

Supporting documents:

  • Restricted enclosure 15
  • Restricted enclosure 16


ACARAC (04-18) Paper 3 – Annual Report and Statement of Accounts 2017-18 – cover paper

ACARAC (04-18) Paper 3 – Annex A – Annual Report and Statement of Accounts 2017-18

3.1     Nia Morgan presented the latest version of the Commission’s Annual Report and Accounts. She sought the Committee’s recommendation to the Accounting Officer that the financial statements for 2017-18 be signed.

3.2     The external audit carried out by WAO had not resulted in any audit adjustments to the draft accounts which were reviewed at the 18 June 2018 meeting. The final outturn for 2017-18 remained an under spend of £0.3m against budget, as reported in the draft accounts. This was a 0.6% under spend when compared with the £52.5m budget.

3.3     The Committee welcomed the streamlined content of the report with the use of referencing to other reports and information sources.

3.4     Early indications were that the actual audit costs for 2017-18 would not exceed the estimated fee of £57,958, as set out in the Audit Plan and the WAO would keep the Committee informed of any deviations from this.


Meeting: 18/06/2018 - Senedd Commission Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (Item 4)

Annual Report and Statement of Accounts

Supporting documents:

  • Restricted enclosure 19
  • Restricted enclosure 20
  • Restricted enclosure 21


ACARAC (03-18) Paper 7 – Draft Annual Report and Statement of Accounts 2017-18 – cover paper

ACARAC (03-18) Paper 7 – Annex A - Draft Annual Report 2017-18

ACARAC (03-18) Paper 7 – Annex B - Statement of Accounts 2017-18

4.1        This item was also brought forward to accommodate Ann-Marie’s and Craig Stephenson’s attendance.

4.2     The Committee welcomed early circulation of both documents which had enabled comments shared by email to be taken into account.

4.3     Manon Antoniazzi and Craig Stephenson presented the annual report which they believed was a transparent and open account of the key events and issues during the past financial year. The Committee noted that cross-referencing separate reports, such as those on Diversity and Inclusion and the Official Language Scheme had avoided duplication and thereby reduced the size of the overall report.    

4.4     The Committee concluded that the Annual Report and Accounts was a thorough and accurate account of the achievements and challenges faced by the Commission over the year and congratulated the teams involved in its production. They also welcomed inclusion of the revised governance structure in the Governance Statement.

4.5     In response to specific questions from the Committee, officials agreed to consider setting tolerance levels for some of the KPI targets and to revise the description of achieving emissions targets. 


Meeting: 05/02/2018 - Senedd Commission Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (Item 12)

Discuss issues in preparation for the Committee's annual report

Supporting documents:

  • Restricted enclosure 24


ACARAC (01-18) Paper 11 – Annual Report 2016-17

9.1        The 2016-17 annual report was included for information. The Chair asked Committee members to pass any thoughts on the structure, format and content of the next annual report to the Clerking team outside of this meeting. 


-      Committee members to advise the Clerking team of suggested changes to the structure and format as well as content for the next annual report. 


Meeting: 19/06/2017 - Senedd Commission Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (Item 8)

Draft Annual Report and Accounts, including the Governance Statement - hard copies available at meeting

Supporting documents:

  • Restricted enclosure 27


8.1     Recent correspondence between the Chair of the Assembly’s Finance Committee and Suzy Davies, Commissioner had been circulated in advance of the meeting.  The Committee discussed ways in which the Commissioners and the Finance Committee could be briefed on decisions around major areas of spend and prioritisation in a way that would demonstrate due diligence and rigorous decision-making and provide further transparency during the year.

8.2     Ann-Marie Harkin also advised of a request made by the Chair of the Assembly’s Finance Committee to the Auditor General for Wales for a comparison to be made with other organisations around committee responsibilities for scrutinising or approving major spending decisions.


-         Manon to brief ACARAC following attendance at Finance Committee meeting.

ACARAC (03-17) Paper 12 – Draft Annual Report and Statement of Accounts 2016-17 – cover paper

ACARAC (03-17) Paper 12 – Annex A Draft Annual Report and Statement of Accounts 2016-17


9.1        Manon and Nia thanked the Committee for comments already received to the draft Annual Report and Statement of Accounts.   

9.2        The Committee thanked Manon, Nia and their teams for early sight of the report and urged them to ensure that statistics within the report were consistent with the key performance indicators. 

9.3        A final version of the report would be presented at the July meeting. 

Meeting: 11/07/2016 - Senedd Commission Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (Item 3)

Annual Report and Accounts

Meeting: 13/06/2016 - Senedd Commission Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (Item 6)

Annual Accounts


ACARAC (03-16) Paper 6 – Draft Annual Report and Statement of Accounts 2015-16

6.1     Committee members congratulated Commission staff, particularly Nia and Chris Warner, on the quality and timeliness of the draft Annual Report and Accounts and asked for this to be passed on to the teams.  Members agreed that it reflected a positive, mature, professional and progressive organisation.  The combined document had been circulated two weeks in advance of the meeting and the Committee welcomed the opportunity to fully digest and scrutinise the information being presented. 

6.2     The report reflected the revised structural changes that had been recommended by recent HM Treasury guidance and Chris stressed his objective of avoiding unnecessary duplication.    

6.3     Along with the typographical errors that Nia had already informed the Committee about, and points of clarification suggested at the meeting which would be taken on board, she welcomed any further comments to be sent to her via email. 

6.4     Claire also commented that she was pleased and impressed with the process of collating the report and thanked her team for their efforts. 

6.5     The Chair welcomed the review meeting that took place after publication of last year’s Annual Report and Accounts to capture any lesson learnt and assumed that the same would happen this year.  Overall he was pleased with the process and the quality of the report and thanked Ian Summers for his additional assurance. 


Meeting: 25/04/2016 - Senedd Commission Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (Item 9)

Draft Annual Report

Supporting documents:

  • Restricted enclosure 34


ACARAC (32) Paper 11 – Draft Annual Report 2016

9.1        The Chair appreciated the comments he had received on the draft annual report.  The Committee approved the document presented and the clerking team agreed to arrange translation before formal submission to the Assembly Commission secretariat. 


Meeting: 09/02/2015 - Senedd Commission Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (Item 6)

Audit Outline for 2014-15 Financial Statements

Supporting documents:

  • Restricted enclosure 37


6.1        Eric, Gareth, Nicola and the new representatives from the WAO, Ann-Marie Harkin and Matthew Coe, had met in January and would continue to meet regularly.  It was agreed that in future the draft Audit Outline would be considered earlier, at November meetings.  They would also consider the interim accounts review timetable at a future meeting.          

6.2        Ann-Marie set out their plans for undertaking this year’s audit work which would include an additional test of Assembly Members’ expenses.  The proposed fee for 2015 remained unchanged and any variance in the amount of time taken to complete work would result in adjustments to the fee.

6.3        Nicola confirmed that following receipt of the 2014-15 audit plan she was producing a detailed timetable to ensure that staff within her team worked to deliver the audit plan to the key dates.