Minutes of the Audit and Risk Committee – February 2023

First published

18 May 2023

Last updated

18 May 2023

COPFS and KLTR Audit and Risk Committee



  • Vanessa Davies (Chair) Non-Executive Director
  • David Watt Non-Executive Director

In attendance

  • John Logue Crown Agent (interim)
  • Robert Sandeman - KLTR Accountable Officer
  • Keith Dargie - COPFS Chief Digital Officer and Head of Business Services
  • Marlene Anderson - COPFS Director of Finance and Procurement
  • Jim Montgomery - Audit Manager, SG Internal Audit Directorate
  • William Wilkie - Senior Auditor, SG Internal Audit Directorate
  • Zahra Mahmood - Senior Audit Manager, Audit Scotland
  • Ishbel Christie -COPFS Head of Financial Accounting and Systems


  • Ian Palmer - COPFS Finance and Procurement Division


  • Annie Gunner Logan - Non-Executive Director
  • Brian Howarth - Audit Director, Audit Scotland
  • Maggie Bruce - Senior Audit Manager, Audit Scotland
  • Sharon Davies - COPFS Head of Management Accounting and Planning

Welcome / Declarations of interest and feedback on pre-meetings

VD (Chair) welcomed everyone.

This is the first meeting of the Committee attended by Ishbel Christie since joining COPFS
on 1 February 2023.

DW reported that a previously reported interest at the University of Glasgow has now
concluded. An updated Register of Interests has been provided to the Director of Finance
and Procurement and the Crown Agent’s office.

ARC members had held a brief discussion prior to the start of the meeting in relation to
agenda management.

Minutes of the previous meeting(s)

The minutes of the meetings of ARC held on 23 November 2022 were approved.

Secretariat will arrange for the approved minutes to be published on COPFS website.

ARC action tracker

ARC Paper 3 (2023) (ARC Action Tracker) was noted and agreed.

Secretariat will update tracker accordingly.

Matters arising

Keith Dargie presented ARC Paper 3A (2023) which was a requested update to the IT Assurance Mapping section of ARC Paper 45 (2022) presented in November 2022.

The Committee noted the update and said although it contained more detail, it still lacked
sufficient clarity to enable them to provide the required level of assurance, as activity did not
seem to be allocated to the correct lines of defence (see also Item 12 below).


KD to review and resubmit ARC Paper 3 A (2023)

Audit trackers

Internal Audit Tracker

ARC Paper 4A (2023) was noted.

Implementation of Case Management in Court (CMiC) for Summary Cases

It was observed that the target for completion has been extended to October 2023. It was suggested that the next update could wait to the ARC Meeting in November rather than May 2023.

The Committee were of the view that as the original target date had been September 2021
they would still require an indicative progress report at the May 2023 meeting.


KD to provide a progress update on Implementation of Case Management in Court
(CMiC) for Summary Cases at the ARC meeting in May 2023

External Audit Tracker

ARC Paper 4B (2023) was presented

The Committee noted the update in relation to Toxicology and COPFS Procurement of Mortuary, Pathology and Post-Mortem Services.

It was agreed that these issues can now be removed from the tracker and that ARC will be
provided with any necessary updates as they arise including a lessons learned top level

It was agreed that the external Audit tracker item could now be removed as the action is


LM/SS to provide a lessons learned summary to the Committee at the next meeting.

KLTR update and risk register

BS gave an overview of ARC Paper 5 A (2023)

The Committee commended BS for his comprehensive and helpful report and welcomed the direction of travel it outlined.

DW queried whether it was still appropriate that the KLTR accounts were prepared on a
cash accounting basis.

ARC Paper 5 B (2023) KLTR Risk Register was noted.


BS to include consideration of the basis of accounting in the Governance Review being undertaken.

COPFS update

JL(CA) gave a general update. This included details of a proposed senior management
restructure to address current business priorities and expand capacity for internal assurance. 

Covid court recovery work continues, and the focus will shift from summary courts to solemn
trial courts in April 2023.

Litigation update

JL (CA) provided a general update on the litigation position and a discussion followed
regarding the future reports on litigation to the Committee.

Action – JL (CA) to arrange for a summary table of litigation to be prepared for ARC .

HMIPS Reviews - COPFS - Progress with implementing recommendations

ARC Paper 7 (A B C D) (2023) noted.

The Committee discussed the large volume and dated nature of a number of the documents
supplied. They reaffirmed the reasons that the ARC received HMIPS reports and the committee’s role in monitoring the implementation of recommendations. They discussed a proposed revised format for tracking this and noted that they also require sufficient supporting evidence where a recommendation has been reported as implemented.


JL CA) / DCA Specialist Casework to develop an ARC update tracker showing a summarised version of all required aspects of progress with HMIPS Reviews.

Finance update

MA gave an overview of ARC Paper 8A (2023)

Forecast for 2022-23 has been completed. Indicates a current underspend of £864k where
annual leave accrual is not yet factored into the forecasts.

Increased demand costs and inflation continue to impact on non – staff costs e.g. Post-Mortem and Pathology costs, electricity and security costs.

Finance Business Partners and Senior Business Management colleagues continue to liaise to identify efficiencies and counter-inflationary savings.

Staff Overtime working continues to be strictly controlled.

The budget for 2023-24 was announced on the 15th December. COPFS received an increase of £13m on Resource budget and £3m increase on Capital funding. Although welcomed this does not cover the full amount required for 2023-24 and COPFS continues to strive to deliver improvements against this background.

Liaison continues with Finance and Senior Business colleagues in relation to final internal
budget allocations.

Work on implementing Path to Balance and Strategic Approach to Budgeting is being

ARC Papers 8 (B C D) (2023) were noted.

Audit Scotland

ZM attended to give the Committee an update on behalf of Audit Scotland.

The Audit Scotland Annual Audit Plan has been slightly delayed and is now anticipated to be
ready by the end of March 2023.

The Chair said that line with the ARC terms of reference, the Committee are required to
approve the draft Audit Scotland Annual Audit Plan.


ZM (on behalf Audit Scotland) by end of March 2023 to submit a copy of the draft Audit Scotland Annual Audit Plan to ARC for approval at a separate meeting, to be arranged prior to commencement of the Audit.

ARC Paper 9 (A B C D) (2023) in relation to Annual Audit Fees for COPFS/KLTR was

After general discussion, the Committee approved the fees for 2022-23.


ARC Paper 10 A and B (2023) were presented.

WW stated for clarification Paper 10 B should read as “Annual Plan” and not “Annual Report” as shown on agenda.

Paper 10 A (Progress update) was noted, and general discussion followed.

Paper 10 B (Annual Audit Plan 2023-4) was noted. There was a discussion over the allocation of the audit timetable and the days allocated between COPFS and KLTR. Noting
the current resource constraints, the plan was accepted by the Committee.


DIAA to have further discussion with ARC, COPFS and KLTR in relation to resource planning.

Assurance mapping

ARC Paper 11 (2023) was presented.

4.1 HR

In relation to the “fourth line” control (External Recruitment) it is reported that the Civil Service Commission audit in July 2022 rated this element as “Fair”.

This control has been assessed by COPFS as “green”.

Given the CSC assessment, ARC questioned if COPFS had sufficient evidence to merit this
positive RAG assessment.

General discussion followed in relation to completion of the Assurance Mapping Template.

It was agreed that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the style of the template and the addition of the review date column last year has been useful and informative.

There are questions however over the consistency of how the template is being completed. It is acknowledged that certain stakeholders have changed over time and that perceptions of what is required would benefit from a refresh, so that all involved have a consistent understanding of the “four lines of defence” assurance model being used.

To that end it was suggested that an Assurance Mapping Template Workshop programme be explored.


VD (Chair) and MA (DFP) to discuss Assurance Mapping Workshop 

Risk Management

DW presented ARC Papers 12 (A B C) (2023) which were noted. It was noted that in light
of the new Strategic Plan the risk register would require realignment.

ARC Terms of Reference

VD (Chair) reported that the annual review of the ARC Terms of Reference is due.

To that end, she has been having meetings with various stakeholders and work is ongoing to finalise her report.


Secretariat to put ARC Terms of Reference on the agenda for May 2023 ARC.

WW to send VD (Chair) a link to the current version of the SG Audit Committee Handbook


No new items raised

Next meeting

3 May 2023 11 am

MS Teams or Room 1 Conference Room, Crown Office

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