Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Questions (95)

Clare Daly

Question:

95. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach the way in which members of the audit committee of the Central Statistics Office, CSO, are chosen for the role; and if expertise in statistics is a prerequisite for membership. [20383/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

Audit committees are an integral part of the control environment across central government. The function of audit committees is to provide independent advice to Accounting Officers regarding the adequacy and effectiveness of the internal control systems and procedures of their organisations.

As stipulated in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Audit Committee Guidelines (September 2014), “the Accounting Officer should ensure that the Audit Committee has the capacity to understand the financial, cultural, strategic and political environment in which the organisation operates. The Audit Committee should also be satisfied that at least one of its members has recent and relevant financial experience. Other suggested skills include ICT expertise, and corporate and ICT governance experience.”

The membership of the CSO’s Audit Committee has been appointed by the Director General in compliance with these guidelines, to include external and internal membership covering the range of skills and experience, including statistical, which are needed.

The conditions of membership for the CSO Audit Committee are set out in the Audit Committee Charter and these include:

- The Audit Committee shall comprise of a Chairperson and not less than three and not more than five other members appointed by the Director General.

- At least two members of the Audit Committee shall be external members. One of these members will have appropriate financial expertise.

- The internal members should be from senior management grades of staff (Senior Statistician or Principal Officer level) and representative of different functions within the Office.

At present there are six members of the Audit Committee, three external (including the Chair) and three internal members comprising two Senior Statisticians, who provide the relevant statistical experience, and one Principal Officer.