Annex B: Committee support: good practice
B.1 The secretariat should be able to support the Chair in identifying business to be taken, and the relevant priorities of the business. For this reason, and as the Audit and Assurance Committee is a committee of the Board, the Committee's Secretariat function should be supervised by the Board Secretariat. The Chair of the committee and the Secretariat should agree procedures for commissioning briefing to accompany business items on the committee's agenda and timetables for the issue of meeting notices, agendas, and minutes. The Chair of the committee should always review and approve minutes of meetings before they are circulated.
B.2 The specific responsibilities of the Audit and Assurance Committee Secretariat should include:
- meeting with the Chair to prepare agendas for meetings;
- commissioning papers as necessary to support agenda items;
- circulating meeting documents in good time before each meeting;
- arranging for executives to be available as necessary to discuss specific agenda items with the committee during meetings;
- keeping a record of meetings and providing draft minutes for the Chair's approval;
- ensuring action points are being taken forward between meetings;
- support the Chair in the preparation of committee reports to the Accountable Officer and Board;
- arranging the Chair's bilateral meetings with the Accountable Officer, the Head of Internal Audit, the External Auditor, and, in ALBs, with the Chair of the Board etc;
- keeping the Chair and members in touch with developments and relevant background information about developments in the organisation;
- maintaining a record of when members' terms of appointment are due for renewal or termination;
- ensuring that appropriate appointment processes are initiated when required;
- ensuring that new members receive appropriate induction training, and that all members are supported in identifying and participating in ongoing training; and
- managing budgets allocated to the committee.
B.3 When the committee decides to meet privately, the Chair should decide whether the Secretariat members should also withdraw. If so, the Chair should ensure that an adequate note of proceedings is kept to support the committee's conclusions and advice.