Financial sustainability, a new funding model for Forsyth
Barr Stadium and detecting potential fraud might be its highest
priorities risks, Audit NZ has suggested to the Dunedin City
Council's new audit and risk subcommittee.
Complying with legislation was not such an issue for the
council, but it should work on putting all its management
policies and procedures into one document so there was broad
understanding of everything happening in that area, Audit NZ
audit director Ian Lothian said.
Mr Lothian made the comments to the subcommittee at its first
meeting yesterday, after being asked by chairwoman and
independent member Susie Johnstone, an accountant, what he
would prioritise given he had earlier in the meeting outlined
a substantial list of potential tasks for the new
The other members of the subcommittee, which was re-formed by
the council after a hiatus last term, are councillors Richard
Thomson, Chris Staynes and Hilary Calvert, and
Invercargill-based employment law specialist Janet Copeland.
Lee Vandervis also sat in and contributed to the meeting.
Although he is not a member of the committee, as a councillor
he is entitled to sit in and speak if he wishes, but not to
Mr Lothian emphasised the importance of strong and
appropriate governance and audit controls, particularly
Ratepayers needed to know the council was doing its work
effectively, wanted to be secure in the knowledge that when
they asked for information it was there to be acted on and to
know they were getting as good a service as any other
ratepayers would get from other councils, he said.
Financial stability was still a significant risk, although
the council had already done some good work in reviewing the
governance of its subsidiaries and having the chief financial
officer overseeing the companies' as well as the council's
Stadium finances were still clearly a risk for the council,
but it was doing the right thing in reviewing the stadium's
financial and operating models.
On fraud, it was ''sadly'' the case that organisations
sometimes thought it could not happen to them.
However, things could go awry, especially when cash was being
handled, he said.
It was better to avoid having any ''expectation gap'' in that
area and the most common way of finding any fraud was to have
strong internal controls.
''If I was a member of this committee, I'd want systems in
place and controls within the organisation improved.''
The subcommittee also considered its terms of reference and
agreed it would likely recommend to council they be
They also discussed meeting schedules and requested a paper
on the council's various health and safety policies and
Topics discussed at the first meeting were broad, Mrs
Johnstone said, but that was the nature of the first meeting
of a new entity, and members would consider matters more
specifically as they went along.