Council announces head of audit, risk

The Dunedin City Council has named the independent chairwoman of its new audit and risk subcommittee, tasked with ensuring risk is being managed appropriately within the organisation.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said in a statement Susie Johnstone, of Balclutha, had been appointed.

The council adopted a new committee structure at its inaugural meeting last year, and last week approved the new audit and risk subcommittee's operational scope.

The subcommittee will be responsible for risk management, internal control, business continuity and will have oversight of governance policies in areas such as sensitive expenditure, fraud, conflict of interest and protected disclosures.

It will also oversee insurance, procurement, risk, and health and safety and include oversight of the annual report.

The subcommittee has an advisory role and its recommendations will be made directly to the council.

The subcommittee is made up of deputy mayor Cr Chris Staynes and Crs Richard Thomson and Hilary Calvert.

Mrs Johnstone is managing partner of accounting firm Shand Thomson, the Otago Polytechnic Council's deputy chairwoman and a director of REANNZ (Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand Ltd).

She is also a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, and a member of its governance committee, and has also served on the boards of Tourism New Zealand, the Southland, Otago and Southern District Health Boards, the New Zealand Blood Service and the New Zealand Hockey Federation.

Mr Cull said the council was ''very fortunate'' to have recruited someone of Mrs Johnstone's calibre to the subcommittee.

''Her skills, attributes and knowledge will be of huge benefit to the subcommittee's work.''

Mrs Johnstone said in a statement she was looking forward to her new role, and supported the ''increasing focus'' on the governance aspects of audit and risk.

''These matters tend to fly below the radar until something doesn't go so well, so the council is to be commended for taking the initiative in this area.''

A second independent member is to be confirmed and advertising for the role was due to begin shortly.

The council's full committee structure and operational scope were also under review, but the new subcommittee's operational scope was required in the meantime so it could begin work, a report to councillors from corporate services group manager Sandy Graham said.

The council's code of conduct and the process for resolving breaches were also under review.

The council approved an interim measure allowing any other standing committee chairman to become a member of the committee when a complaint was against any current member, i.e. the mayor or deputy mayor, and to allow a single independent member to sit alone to determine a code of conduct matter provided all parties agreed.

The ability to hear conduct matters in public was also added to the scope of the committee.

The full changes to the committee structure and operational scope manual, as well as some alterations to the operational scope of chief executive and those retained by council following legislative changes, will be presented to the council this month.

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