FCO SERVICES AUDIT COMMITTEE
Terms of Reference
The Audit Committee (AC) exists to support the FCO Services Board and the Accounting Officer in
their respective responsibilities for issues of risk, control and governance and associated assurance.
The Audit Committee will advise on matters pertaining to:
? The strategic processes for control and governance;
? FCO Services accounting policies and financial accounts, including the process for their review
prior to submission for audit and the levels of error identified;
? Anti-Fraud policies, Whistle-blowing processes and arrangements for Special Investigations;
? The planned activity and results of both internal and external audit;
? The adequacy of management response to issues identified by audit activity, including the NAO
? Assurances relating to the corporate governance requirements of the FCO Services;
? Proposals for tendering for Internal Audit services or for purchase of non-audit services from
contractors who provide audit services;
? The adequacy and effectiveness of the overall arrangements put in place by management to
? The annual Statement on Internal Control;
? The operation and resourcing of Internal Audit.
All Internal Audit, Financial Compliance Unit and NAO activity falls within the scope of the committee,
including NAO value for money reports. The committee will also consider assurances and information
relating to other areas of risk (e.g. security, business continuity, environmental audit and health & safety)
as requested by the Accounting Officer.
The Audit Committee will:
Receive regular progress reports from:
? Internal Audit summarising:
- work performed (and a comparison with work planned)
- key issues emerging from Internal Audit work
- management response to recommendations
- changes to the Internal Audit Plan
- any resource issues affecting the delivery of Internal Audit objectives
? External Audit representative summarising work done and emerging findings.
The Audit Committee will also be provided, as appropriate, with:
? proposals for changes to the Terms of Reference of Internal Audit; ? the Internal Audit Strategy;
? the Head of Internal Audit’s Annual Opinion and Report;
? quality assurance reports on the Internal Audit function; ? the draft financial Accounts;
? the draft Statement on Internal Control (SIC);
? a report on any changes to accounting policies;
? external Audit’s Management Letter;
? a report on any proposals to tender for internal audit functions; ? a report on co-operation between Internal and External Audit; ? the FCO Services Risk Management Policy.
The Chair of the Audit Committee will be provided with copies of all individual reports that fall within the terms of reference of the committee. Copies will be provided to other AC members on request.
4. Meetings The Audit Committee shall meet at least four times a year. The Chief Executive (as Accounting Officer) may attend any scheduled meeting and may convene additional meetings in order to discuss particular issues on which the Committee’s advice is sought. The Audit Committee Chair may also convene
The Head of Internal Audit and the representative of External Audit (NAO) will have free and confidential access to the Chair of the Audit Committee.
The Audit Committee will have access to funding fulfil its role:
? sufficient to meet remuneration and expenses of members: ? training needs of members; and
? specialist external advice if required.
Requests for funding should be made to the Head of the Secretariat.
The Audit Committee may:
? co-opt additional members for a period not exceeding a year to provide specialist skills, knowledge
? procure specialist ad-hoc advice at the expense of the organisation, subject to budgets agreed by the
7. Reporting The Chair of the Audit Committee will report back to the Chief Executive, as Accounting Officer, and FCO Services Board after each meeting, on which occasion a summary of the AC meeting will be circulated as a Board agenda item.
The membership will consist of:
? Chair – a Non-Executive Director, FCO Services Board
? A minimum of one further Non-Executive Director
? Finance Director, FCO
A minimum of two members of the Audit Committee will be present for the meeting to be deemed quorate.
The following are invited to attend each meeting by standing invitation: ? Chief Executive, FCO Services
? The Chair, FCO Services Board
? Finance Director, FCO Services
? Corporate Services Director, FCO Services ? Representative from the FCO Services Internal Audit team ? Representative from NAO
The Secretariat will be provided by FCO Services
Last agreed September 2009 – To be reviewed again September 2010