In accordance with section 53 of the Local Government Act Kingston has an Audit and Risk Committee which acts as an independent advisory Committee to Council.
The Audit and Risk Committee’s role is to facilitate:
- the enhancement of the credibility and objectivity of internal and external financial reporting
- effective management of Council’s strategic risks, including Business Continuity and Recovery
- the protection control of Council assets
- monitoring and review of the standard of the internal control environment;
- the efficiency, effectiveness and compliance of significant Council programs
- Council’s governance practice, including compliance with its policies and legislative and regulatory requirements as well as the use of best practice guidelines.
The Audit and Risk Committee consists of five members: three independent members, the current Mayor and one other Councillor nominated by Council. External members are appointed by Council by public advertisement for a maximum of three years.
The Chairperson of the Committee is appointed from the external members by Council on the recommendation of the Chief Executive Officer.
The Audit and Risk Committee meets at least five times per year.
The current membership of the Audit and Risk Committee is:
- Ms Claire Filson LLB; MBA (Current Chair)
- Mr Bruce Potgieter FCA, ICA (South Africa)
- Mr Geoff Harry B Econ ICA; CPA
- Cr Steve Staikos
- Cr Georgina Oxley
Due to the nature of the work of the Audit and Risk Committee and the potential sensitivity of the material being considered, the meetings of the Audit and Risk Committee are closed to the public.
The Chief Executive Officer and Internal Auditor attend all meetings except where the Audit and Risk Committee believes the matter should be discussed privately.
Other members of Council can attend the Audit and Risk Committee. Council staff may be invited to attend at the discretion of the Chief Executive Officer and / or the Chairperson of the Committee to advise and provide information when required. Representatives of the external auditor are invited to attend all meetings and must attend meetings considering the draft annual financial statements and results of the external audit.
Council’s current Internal Auditors, Pitcher Partners, commenced contract in July 2013.
This contract has recently been reappointed to 2022. The Internal Audit Strategic Plan, which is reviewed by Internal Audit and Management is adopted by the Audit Committee annually. The Internal Audit program that the Committee oversees is in place to help Council and Management achieve sound control over all Council activities. Internal Audit is not involved in day to day internal transaction checking but provides an independent and objective assurance that the appropriate processes are in place. The Audit Committee also formally reviews the performance of the Internal Auditor each year. Before accepting each report submitted by the Internal Auditor, the Committee examines the recommendations made in each report and management’s comments. These reviews give the Audit Committee and Council a level of assurance on the systems, processes and procedures employed by Council in the governance and control of its daily operations. To enable the Committee to closely monitor the implementation of Management’s agreed actions to address the recommendations contained in the Internal Auditor’s reports a progress report from Management is provided to each meeting.
Council’s current External Auditor is the Victorian Auditor-General. The Auditor-General elected to contract this activity for 2019/20 to Mr Gordon Robertson of Crowe Horwath. Mr Robertson is responsible for providing a recommendation to the Auditor-General that the Annual Financial Statements of Council present fairly and in accordance with applicable Accounting Standards. It is normal practice for the External Auditor to review the Internal Audit program to better understand the internal control framework that exists at Council.
The Audit Committee operates within a Charter. The most recent review of the Charter was undertaken in August 2020 to comply with sections 53 and 54 of the Local Government Act 2020.
The following are the responsibilities of the Audit and Risk Committee with full details in the Audit and Risk Committee Charter.
- Financial Reporting
- Internal Control
- Risk Management
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
- Internal Audit
- External Audit and
- Annually review the scope of its authority including the Audit and Risk Committee Charter
- Prepare an audit and risk report to Council through the Chief Executive Officer on the Committee’s activities, findings and recommendations twice per annum. The reports will advise Council how the Committee has discharged its responsibilities as set out in the Charter for the previous year
- Critically analyse and follow up any internal or external audit report that raises significant issues relating to risk management, internal control, financial reporting and other accountability or governance issues, and any other matters relevant under the Committee’s terms of reference
- Review management’s response to, and actions taken as a result of the issues raised Monitor the progress of any major lawsuits facing the Council
- Address issues brought to the attention of the Committee, including responding to requests from Council for advice that is within the parameters of the Committee’s Terms of Reference