HSENI Board meeting minutes - 22 June 2023

Minutes of the 126th meeting of the Board of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland held on Thursday 27 April 2023 at the T&R Room, HSENI, 83 Ladas Drive at 12.00pm.


Board Members:

  • Mr D Martin - Chair
  • Mr H Sinclair
  • Mr T Wright
  • Mr S McDowell
  • Mrs C Irwin
  • Mr G Strong
  • Mr A Cooke
  • Dr P Hart

HSENI Officials:

  • Mr R Kidd - Chief Executive
  • Dr B Monson - Deputy Chief Executive
  • Mrs N Monson - Deputy Cheif Executive
  • Mr L Burns - Deputy Chief Executive
  • Mr K Neeson - Deputy Chief Executive
  • Mr M Ditchfield - HSENI
  • Ms L Nelson - Secretary
  • Ms U Dempster - HSENI Accountant
  • Mrs D Mullan - HSENI

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

1. Apologies

Mrs S Rooney.

2. Corporate health, safety and welfare

Nothing to report.

3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest(s)

None to report.

4. Annual Report and Accounts 2022/2023

The Chief Executive gave a brief overview of the Annual Report, highlighting the fact that the document reflects a very busy year. This was the first normal year after Covid and the report provides evidence that trends in HSENI’s activities are rising to pre Covid levels. The Chief Executive stated that the Board Members had the opportunity to review the document ahead of the meeting and thanked them for comments received on earlier drafts.

The Chief Executive thanked Mr Ditchfield, Mrs Dempster, Mr Burns and Mrs Mullan for their work to meet the deadlines for early closing. The Chief Executive also thanked all staff and the audit team.

Mr Wright reported that at the ARMC meeting, the Annual Report and Accounts had been discussed and approved and recommended to the Board for signing.

Mr Cooke asked if missing numbers were going to be included in the final report. Mrs Mullan stated that there were two pieces of information outstanding. One related to HSENI’s Freephone line where there had been a change of contract during the year. HSENI is trying to obtain figures for the first six months of the contract. If unsuccessful, the Chief Executive has suggested extrapolating the figures for the first half of the year based on those available for the second half and including a footnote to explain this.  The second piece of outstanding information relates to the NISRA sickness absence figures which will be released on Thursday 29 June at 9:00am. The report will be updated to include these figures as soon as they are published.

The Board noted the report provided a very comprehensive and in-depth account of the important and varied work carried out by HSENI staff. This, together with assurances from the ARMC Chair, provided the Board with sufficient assurance to allow the Accounts to be signed by the Chairman and Chief Executive. 

The Annual Report and Accounts were formally adopted and approved by the Board.  

5. Report to Those Charged With Governance year end 31 March 2023

The draft Report to Those Charged with Governance was noted by the Board. The report showed there was nothing significant to report and anticipated recommending that the C&AG certify an unqualified set of Accounts.

Mr Wright highlighted the following seven items from Status of the Audit that they need receipt of to allow the Accounting Officer to sign the Annual Report and the Letter of Representation:

  • solicitor letter from the Departmental Solicitor’s Office (DSO)
  • bank mandate from Danske Bank
  • the 2023-24 budget from DfE
  • correspondence from DSO confirming an accrual for legal fees for a judicial review case
  • supporting documentation for four accruals totalling £143,943
  • HR Connect report on Information Technology audit for year end 31 March 2023
  • assurances from 2022-23 IT Audits undertaken by NIAO on Account NI, IT Assist, NI Public Shared Network and Records NI

Mr Wright reported that there was one priority 2 recommendation in relation to the accrual for the pay uplift to 31 March 2023 of £102,329. This had been omitted in error from the accruals listing. HSENI’s Accountant uncovered this issue and reported it to the auditors. It is recommended that to ensure completeness of accruals, staff should review the postings on the admin trial balance and ensure that these are included in the accrual lead balance. Management accepted this recommendation. Mr Ditchfield confirmed that the £102,329 had now been included in the accounts and out of the seven outstanding items, the first five have been submitted. The remaining two in relation to the HR Connect report on Information Technology audit for year end 31 March 2023 and assurances from 2022-23 IT Audits undertaken by NIAO on Account NI, IT Assist, NI Public Shared Network and Records NI are not within HSENI’s control and need to be submitted by HR Connect and NIAO.

Mr Wright highlighted that there were two uncorrected misstatements. The first related to the omission of the pay uplift as mentioned above and the second related to the difference in the recalculation of revaluation of opening amortisation of £11k. Mr Wright reported that a full discussion took place at the ARMC meeting with NIAO staff and Mr Boyd from Ross Boyd Ltd and both agreed this was a trivial matter and will not impact upon the audit opinion. It was agreed that the uncorrected misstatement set out in Misstatement and Irregular Expenditure in relation to amortisation will stay as uncorrected. The Committee agreed as this was not a large amount of money there was no need to make amendments to the accounts and going forward the finance team will check calculation figures of amortisation before submission of the accounts.

The ARMC recommends that the Board accepts the RTTCWG and approve the Accounting Officer (Chief Executive) to sign the Letter of Representation. The Chief Executive stated that a final RTTCWG will be circulated to Board members once HSENI receives it.

The Chair, on behalf of the Board, thanked Mr Wright and the ARMC Committee.

Mr Wright stated that the Board is aware of the challenges presented to HSENI and the External Auditors to meet the consolidation of accounts and early closing. HSENI achieved early closing and he expressed his gratitude to all involved in the process.

The Chair thanked Mr Burns and Mrs Mullan for their work on the report. He also thanked Mr Ditchfield and Mrs Dempster for achieving a clean audit.  Mr Ditchfield stated that this was Mrs Dempster’s first year of the audit and expressed thanks to her for her work on it.

6. Any Other Business (AOB)

Mr Wright reported that Mr Marley has been replaced by Mr Devine representing the Department at the ARMC meetings. Mr Devine is looking forward to getting to know staff in HSENI. He stated that the Department holds HSENI in the highest regard.

The Chair thanked all for attending.

7. Date of next meeting

Thursday 27 October 2022 at 10.00am, T&R Room, HSENI, Ladas Drive, Belfast.

Board closed at 12:30pm

Board Minutes adopted and approved and signed by Derek Martin, HSENI Clairman on 27 July 2023.