Councils across Wales are currently looking to appoint Lay Persons to their Governance and Audit Committees.
These statutory committees are a key component of a council’s governance framework and improvement programme. The purpose of the Governance and Audit Committee is to provide independent assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of the risk management framework, internal control environment, performance assessment, complaints handling and the integrity of the financial reporting and governance processes. By overseeing both internal and external audit it makes an important contribution to ensuring that effective assurance arrangements are in place.
Many councils are considering using remote meetings for their Governance and Audit Committees moving forward. This makes Lay Person participation within Governance and Audit Committees easier.
Committees meet several times a year for which Lay Persons (Independent Members) receive financial remuneration.
Remuneration is paid in accordance with the rates determined by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales, see attached report here (section 9, pages 30-31).
A lay person means a person who:
- Is not a member or an officer of any council,
- Has not been at any time in the period of twelve months ending with the date of appointment been a member of an officer of any council, and
- Is not the spouse of civil partner of a member of an officer of any council.
In addition to satisfying this criteria, suitable applicants will need to be non-political with an understanding and commitment to the 7 Principles of Public Life (the Nolan Principles) and able to demonstrate the following qualities and characteristics:
- Interest and knowledge/experience of financial, risk and performance management, audit, accounting concepts and standards and the regulatory regime within Wales;
- Objective and independent of mind with an unbiased attitude and ability to apply discretion;
- Supportive of good governance principles and their practical application towards the achievement of organisational objectives;
- Strategic thinker with excellent communication skills;
- Ability to understand and weigh up evidence and challenge respectfully.
A detailed knowledge of local government is not necessary although it would be expected that potential candidates would be interested in matters relating to public life and services. From May 2022 Governance and Audit Committees will be chaired by a Lay Person, so a willingness and ability to fulfil this role is desirable.
So if you have an interest or experience in governance, audit, performance or risk and want to help a council ensure that its governed effectively why not apply?
The list below provides links to councils that are currently recruiting to their Governance and Audit Committees:
Note: you do not necessarily need a connection to the county to apply.