The Commission established a Corporate Governance Project Team in February 2016 to assess governance at both Commission and staff levels, to audit work which was already complete, or in progress, and to identify any gaps in corporate governance requirements. A general update is provided below, in line with the Corporate Governance Standard of the Civil Service.
The Commission’s mission statement is complete and is available online. The values, behaviour and culture of the civil service renewal plan are reflected in those of the Commission, also available online. Additionally, a set of internal operational values have been agreed by the staff.
The Commission has described the process undertaken in the development of its Strategy and the Strategy has been published online. A description of the business planning process, including monitoring, is underway. The Strategy will be reviewed and monitoring indicators for both the Strategy and the Business Plan are in development.
Provision is made for engagement with external stakeholders in the development of policy, with further definition to follow.
Good structures are in place for the review of effectiveness of governance arrangements, with further definition in development. The Audit and Risk Committee has been established, with an external chair and agreed terms of reference. The Risk Register has also been completed. Internal auditors have been appointed and procedures are under development. An organisation chart is in place but has not been published on the website, pending additional recruitment.
A number of subcommittees of the Commission have been established, with established Terms of Reference for each one. The Secretariat to the Commission is the Corporate Services team.
The role and responsibilities of the Commission, the Chief Commissioner and the Director of the Commission are established under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 (the ‘2014 Act’). Further definition is being undertaken, particularly in the development of a Commission Handbook. The Accounting Officer role is assigned to the Director of the Commission, as prescribed under the 2014 Act.
The responsibilities of all staff are outlined in the Employee Handbook which is at an advanced stage of development, following a full equality and human rights proofing exercise and robust staff consultation. Strong and regular internal communication will ensure that all staff are aware of the Commission’s governance arrangements.
On completion, the Commission’s Governance Framework will provide a clear statement on financial accountability relationships and organisational assurance together with audit and scrutiny functions, which are currently being developed. To accompany the Commission’s Governance Framework, the Commission is developing a compliance framework, which will be monitored and kept under review.
Training on Freedom of Information requirements has been undertaken by all staff, as a key compliance requirement.