An audit and risk committee will be formed to ensure Otago
Regional Council is keeping up with law changes, is
accountable and its processes are robust.
Council chairman Stephen Woodhead proposed the new committee
at a meeting of the council this week, saying it was probably
something the council should have had in place already.
While the council put a strong focus on ensuring its
processes were robust and compliant, it was a challenging
task in a ''forever changing legal framework'', he said.
Audit committees have been strongly recommended for both
corporate and private organisations for many years. The
auditor-general said in 2008 such committees had a valuable
contribution to make in improving the governance, and thus
the performance and accountability, of public entities.
''An effective audit committee shows that an organisation is
committed to a culture of openness and continuous
Mr Woodhead said he had taken advice from chief executive
Peter Bodeker and from mayors and chairmen of other councils
before coming to the conclusion it was appropriate for the
council to set up an audit and risk committee.
''It will be responsible for working with a council's
auditors, having an overview to ensure our legal, financial
and performance monitoring processes are correct, efficient
It would also ensure the council complied with statutory
requirements and worked through investigations on aspects
such as health and safety and complaints processes, he said.
He believed it would be good to have a independent member on
the committee, alongside himself as chairman, deputy
chairwoman Gretchen Robertson and the finance and corporate
chairman David Shepherd.
It should be a stand-alone committee and how it would report
back to council would need to be discussed as some issues
''might need to be out of the public eye'', he said.
Cr Shepherd said the committee sounded very useful and they
were commonplace in the corporate world.
The council directed Mr Bodeker to investigate terms of
reference for the new committee to present at the council's
next meeting in February.