Governance Framework. in the. Property Registration Authority

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1 Governance Framework in the Property Registration Authority

2 Foreword This Governance Framework has been prepared in line with the principles and requirements set out in the Corporate Governance Standard for the Civil Service taking into account the particular context of the Property Registration Authority. The effective operation of these procedures and governance practices is essential for proper management and control within the Authority. It builds credibility with stakeholders such as the Dáil, the taxpayer, clients, the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the Comptroller and Auditor General and other groups. In addition the adherence to well documented procedures and controls puts staff in the Authority in a position to perform their duties in an open and transparent manner. The framework document is intended to act as a supplement to, and has drawn upon material from other official material which sets a wide range of governance requirements; Public Financial Procedures, Various Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform circulars, and, of course, a range of internal practices, procedures and controls. Good governance is not the sole concern of designated senior managers, but must be pervasive throughout an organisation. The document therefore seeks to provide a key support to the management and staff of the Property Registration Authority in pursuit of best practice in relation to good corporate governance. I welcome its publication and indeed the opportunity it provides to review and, where necessary, update our governance arrangements. Frank Treacy Chief Executive Officer 28 April 2016

3 Contents 1. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE IN THE PRA AN OVERVIEW Purpose Introduction Mission Values Standards, Behaviours and Ethics Code of Standards and Behaviour for civil servants Ethics and Statements of Interests Protected Disclosures Organisational Governance Structure Strategic Planning, Decision Making & Performance Management Strategic Planning Process Business Planning Process Workforce Planning ICT Strategy Learning and Development Strategy Annual Report Performance Management and Development System Stakeholder Engagement Internal Communications Strategy Engagement with External Stakeholders Engagement with the Customer and other Stakeholders Engagement with Other Government Bodies Engagement with International Bodies MINISTERIAL, PARENT DEPARTMENT, AUTHORITY AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT ROLES & ASSIGNMENT OF RESPONSIBILITIES Parent Department and Minister... 26

4 Contents Role of the Minister Departmental Oversight Performance Agreement with Department of Justice and Equality Authority Meetings of the Authority Appointments to the Authority Subcommittees of the Authority Matters specifically reserved for the Authority Authorisations Rules Committee The Chief Executive and Accounting Officer Role Accounting Officer Role The Accounting Officer and the Public Account Committee Principles and Conventions Assignment of Management Roles and Responsibilities Leadership and Organisational Capacity Leadership Organisational Capacity MANAGEMENT BOARD & OTHER GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES Management Board Terms of Reference Membership/composition Meetings Shared Participation Roles Matters Appropriate for the consideration of Management Board Relationship with the Chairman and Members of the Property Registration Authority Relationship with the Parent Department Committees Performance and Evaluation AUDIT, ASSURANCE AND COMPLIANCE ARRANGEMENTS Introduction... 49

5 Contents 4.2 State Guarantee: Compensation Scheme Internal Control Framework Internal Financial Control Appropriation Account Statement of Internal Financial Control Procurement Internal Audit Role of Internal Audit Delivery of Internal Audit Function Charter for Internal Audit Internal Audit Methodology Audit Committee Audit Committee Arrangements in PRA Relationship between Audit Committee and Internal Audit Function Risk Management Risk Management Programme Risk Management Responsibility Risk Register Review of Risk Management Practices... 60

6 List of Appendices Appendix 1 - Appendix 2 - Governance Principles Overview of Compliance Framework: Annual Governance Events Cycle Ongoing Governance Activity Appendix 3 - Current PRA Authorisations under Registration of Deeds and Title Act 2006 Appendix 4 - Appendix 5 - Key Reference Documents PRA Annual Assessment of Management Board effectiveness: sample questionnaire

7 Governance Principles 1. Corporate Governance in the PRA an Overview The purpose of Chapter 1 is to provide an introduction to the central role of good governance and to provide an overview of the mission and values of the Property Registration Authority. In addition, the key role of standards and ethics are highlighted and an overview of the strategic and business planning process is provided. 1.1 Purpose The purpose of this document is to set out the framework of Corporate Governance within the Property Registration Authority (PRA), as required under the Corporate Governance Standard for the Civil Service. Underpinning this document are the high level principles outlined in Appendix 1 which are representative of international best practice for civil service organisations. 1 This Governance Framework is a living document which will evolve in line with best practice and prevailing circumstances. An Action Plan to be overseen by the PRA Management Board has now been devised encompassing any issues identified together with associated actions, key performance indicators and responsible senior managers to ensure its ongoing effectiveness and completeness. 1.2 Introduction Good governance facilitates clear lines of accountability, responsibility and reporting and is central to the successful operation of all Government Departments and Offices. It is vitally important for the effective discharge of their statutory and policy obligations. Good governance ensures that a framework of structures, policies and 1 International Framework: Good Governance in the Public Sector (IFAC, CIFPA2014) 1

8 Governance Principles processes are in place to deliver on these obligations and it allows for an objective assessment of management and corporate performance. Corporate governance measures in the PRA are applied within an established framework of constitutional and statutory provisions, policies and authoritative guidance. In this regard a list of relevant reference documentation is provided in Appendix 4. The ongoing development and implementation of the Property Registration Authority s Governance Frameworks is a priority at both Management Board and Authority level. This process is reflective of both adherence to the overall common approach to certain core governance issues which must exist and a pragmatic approach in terms of the organisation s own responsibilities and particular circumstances. 1.3 Mission The Authority s mission is to safeguard property rights and facilitate property transactions by maintaining and extending a comprehensive system of registration of title in Ireland and promoting its use. 1.4 Values The values most commonly associated with the Civil Service have been enumerated as follows: honesty, impartiality, respect for the law, and respect for persons, diligence, responsiveness and accountability. 2 The Property Registration Authority is fully committed to these values as further expounded in The Civil Service Renewal Plan 3 which describes the values of the Civil Service as encompassing: A deep-rooted public service ethos of independence, integrity, impartiality, equality, fairness and respect; A culture of accountability, efficiency and value for money; 2 Introduction to the Irish Civil Service (Government of Ireland 2008) available at 3 DPER (2014) The Civil service Renewal Plan : A Vision and Three Year Action Plan for the Civil Service available at 2

9 Governance Principles The highest standards of professionalism, leadership and rigour. The Values developed and set out by the Authority in its Statement of Strategy, which underpin all its actions, are as follows: Service to customers The Authority is committed to providing its customers with an excellent service which is readily accessible through a variety of channels. Public interest The Authority is committed to carrying out its functions in the public interest in an open and transparent manner. Commitment to staff The Authority values the dedication of its staff and is committed to supporting them in delivering a high quality service to its customers and in developing fulfilling careers within the organisation. Good governance and value for money The Authority is committed to compliance with high standards of governance and probity, and to conducting its business in a cost-effective manner. Consultation The Authority is committed to consultation with its stakeholders in the ongoing development and delivery of its services. Dynamism The Authority is committed to embracing and managing change, including the development and application of technological advances and working practices, aimed at improving efficiency, effectiveness and the customer experience. Through adherence to this Governance Framework and other mechanisms, including the Performance Management and Development System, and its induction training for new recruits and ongoing learning and development strategies, the PRA endeavours to ensure that its espoused values become in reality the lived-in values of the organisation. 3

10 Governance Principles 1.5 Standards, Behaviours and Ethics Code of Standards and Behaviour for civil servants The Standards in Public Office Commission (www.sipo.gov.ie) produces the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour 4, which sets out the standards required of all Civil Servants in the discharge of their duties and forms part of their conditions of employment. A summary of the code s main requirements is set out below, together with the relevant section of the guidelines. Civil servants must be impartial in the performance of their duties. [Section 4] Civil servants must respect the constraints of the law. [Section 6] Under the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 to 2014, members of the public have a legal right to information held by Government Departments and other public bodies. However, the requirement under the Official Secrets Act 1963 that civil servants avoid improper disclosure of information gained in the course of their work still applies. [Section 7] Civil servants must maintain high standards of service in all of their dealings with the public. [Section 8] Civil servants who are convicted of criminal offences, or given the benefit of the Probation Act when tried for a criminal offence, must report that fact to their Personnel Officer. [Section 9] Civil servants are required to attend at work as required and comply with the terms of sick leave regulations. [Section 10] Civil servants are required to have due regard for State resources to ensure proper, effective and efficient use of public money. [Section 11] Civil servants should show due respect to their colleagues including their beliefs and values. [Section 12] The use of their official positions by civil servants to benefit themselves or others with whom they have personal or business ties is not allowed. Civil servants are also forbidden to seek to influence decisions on matters pertaining to their official positions other than through established procedures. [Section 13] 4 4

11 Governance Principles Civil servants may not engage in outside business or activity which would in any way conflict with the interests of their Departments/Offices. [Section 14] Civil servants who occupy designated positions for the purposes of the Ethics Acts have certain statutory obligations in relation to disclosure of interests. These obligations are additional to any obligations imposed by the Code. [Section 15] Civil servants should not receive benefits of any kind from a third party which might reasonably be seen to compromise their personal judgement or integrity. Departments are required to apply the rules contained in the Code on the receipt of gifts or to make local rules deriving from them. [Section 16] The same principle applies to any acceptance of hospitality. Within the general framework of guidelines set out in the Code, every care must be taken to ensure that (a) any acceptance of hospitality does not influence, or be seen to influence, the discharging of official functions [Section 17] and (b) that there are clear and appropriate standards in place which have been notified to all staff in relation to payment for work on behalf of outside bodies. [Section 18] Civil servants must not seek contracts with Government Departments or Offices for supply of goods or services whether for their own benefit or for the benefit of any company with which they may have an involvement in a private capacity. [Section 19] Civil servants shall not within twelve months of resigning or retiring from the Civil Service, accept an appointment, or particular consultancy project, where the nature and terms of such appointment could lead to a conflict of interest or the perception of such, without first obtaining the approval of the Outside Appointments Board or the Secretary General or Head of Office as appropriate. Additionally, civil servants who hold positions which are designated positions for the purposes of the Ethics Acts must, within twelve months of resigning or retiring, obtain the approval of the Outside Appointments Board or the Secretary General or Head of Office as appropriate before taking up any outside appointment. [Sections 20 and 21] This Code is published on the PRA s intranet and is provided to all new recruits. In addition attention is drawn to the Code s provisions in staff training sessions. 5

12 Governance Principles Ethics and Statements of Interests The Standards in Public Office Commission publishes guidelines under the Ethics in Public Office Acts, 1995 and 2001 (the Ethics Acts) for prescribed public servants as well as office holders (i.e., Ministers, Ministers of State, etc.). These guidelines provide information on the disclosure of interests and on the steps that public servants need to take in order to comply with the requirements of the legislation. Public servants may seek advice from the Standards Commission concerning any provision of the legislation, or the application of any such provision, in any particular case. A person who occupies a prescribed position under the Ethics Acts must complete and furnish a statement of interests, i.e. of any interest held by the person, or by his or her spouse or civil partner, child or child of spouse, which could materially influence the person in, or in relation to, the performance of his or her official functions. If they have no interests to declare, they must furnish a Nil Statement. All officers who are serving at Principal Officer (or equivalent) and upwards in the Property Registration Authority are required to complete a statement of interests annually. All such statements must be submitted to the Secretary General, Department of Justice and Equality, by 31st January each year. 1.6 Protected Disclosures The Authority is committed to compliance with high standards of governance, accountability and probity, and to conducting its business impartially, transparently and in accordance with best practice. Wrongdoing such as theft, fraud, corruption or malpractice, or their concealment, can have a devastating effect on the professional reputations of the Authority and its staff, and on working relationships and morale. Any perception that such wrongdoing is not dealt with appropriately could ultimately impact on the integrity of the registers with grave and far reaching consequences. Staff, who may become aware or concerned about illegal activity, or inappropriate or improper behaviour or practices, may be reluctant or apprehensive in regard to reporting their concerns. There may be real and genuine fears of appearing disloyal to colleagues or to the organisation, or that they may be subsequently victimised. 6

13 Governance Principles The Protected Disclosures Act 2014, which commenced on the 15th July 2014, provides for the protection of persons from the taking of action against them in respect of the making of certain disclosures in the public interest and for connected purposes. In accordance with Section 21 (1) of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 the PRA has its own policy in place with regard to the making of protected disclosures by workers who are or were employed by it and for dealing with such disclosures. This policy is to be reviewed by the Management Board within 12 months of implementation and every two years thereafter. 1.7 Organisational Governance Structure The organisational governance structure, which is subject to change and adaptation as required over time, in response to changing circumstances and priorities, is shown in figure 1. It reflects current assignments and responsibilities and provides clear lines of accountability, responsibility and reporting 5. 5 Public Service Management Act

14 Governance Principles Figure 1 - PRA Governance Structure and Functional Overview Minister for Justice and Equality Property Registration Authority Rules Committee Internal Audit Committee CEO and Accounting Officer Deputy Registrar Deputy Registrar Deputy Registrar Deputy Registrar Legal Corporate Affairs Legal Legal Also CEO Interim and Accounting Officer Human Resources CEO and Authority Secretariat ICT Finance, Procurement and Statistics Spatial Data /Mapping Function Corporate Services Casework Operations and Productivity (Dublin and Roscommon Offices) Registry of Deeds Ground Rents Quality Assurance and Process Assurance Mapping Standards: legal aspects Authority led registration initiatives Rules interpretation and drafting Casework Operations and Productivity (Waterford Office) Compensation Scheme Legal advice on o Data Protection o FOI o RE-use of PSI Fraud Prevention Legislation Review Rules Committee Secretary Court Procedures econveyancing and eregistration Legal Aspects Appropriation Accounts Rules Committee Secretary Corporate Governance International Stakeholder Engagement Lobbying Act responsibilities 8

15 Governance Principles The structures can be summarised as follows: The Minister for Justice and Equality is accountable to the Oireachtas for the performance of the Property Registration Authority The Property Registration Authority (the Authority) is a statutory body whose members, appointed by the Minister, are representative of the main users and consumers of property registration services. In accordance with the Registration of Deeds and Titles Act, 2006, the functions of the Authority include the management and control of the Land Registry and Registry of Deeds. The CEO / Accounting Officer is responsible for implementing the decisions of the Authority. In accordance with the Registration of Deeds and Titles Act, 2006, the functions of the CEO include managing and controlling generally the staff, administration and business of the PRA. Under the Public Service Management Act 1997 the CEO must prepare an outline of how specific responsibilities are to be assigned. The CEO is also the Accounting Officer for the Property Registration Authority (Vote 23) and in this regard has responsibility for safeguarding the funds under the control of the PRA and for ensuring economy and efficiency in the running of the PRA. The Rules Committee performs certain statutory functions and, with the agreement of the Minister, has the power to make general rules. The committee reports to the Minister for Justice and Equality on the amendments it considers should be made to the existing Land Registration Rules. The key role of the Audit Committee, as part of the ongoing systematic development of the control environment and governance procedures within the PRA, is to act as a source of independent advice to the Chief Executive, as Accounting Officer and members of the PRA, on matters relating to financial management and control The Deputy Registrars Legal report directly to the CEO. The CEO assigns responsibility to the Deputy Registrars Legal who are responsible for, inter alia, overall casework operations, review of rules and legislation, proposals to the Rules Committee, administration of the compensation scheme, legal standards and procedures, the provision of legal advice on Data Protection, Freedom of Information and Re-use of Public Sector information, and the legal elements of eregistration and econveyancing. 9

16 Governance Principles The Deputy Registrar Corporate Affairs reports directly to the CEO. The Deputy Registrar Corporate Affairs responsibilities include Human Resources, Information and Communications Technology, Corporate Affairs, Finance, Spatial Data and Mapping, together with the secretariat of the CEO and Authority. The heads of these functions report directly to this Deputy Registrar. The CEO is Chairperson of, and is assisted in the management of the PRA, by the Management Board. The Management Board is a key element of the PRA s governance and facilitates shared leadership and responsibility for delivery of outcomes related to the PRA s mandate. 1.8 Strategic Planning, Decision Making & Performance Management The Authority s Strategic Planning process is carried out pursuant to the Public Services Management Act, 1997, according to which each Department and Office must publish a strategy statement every three years or within six months of the appointment of a new Minister. This document sets out key objectives, outputs and strategies to be achieved. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform issued guidelines on the preparation of such statements in In accordance with the Registration of Deeds and Title Act, 2006, Section 18, (the Act) the Authority, on a three year basis, prepares a Strategic Plan which is approved by the Minister and laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas. In accordance with the Act, each Strategic Plan shall: a) set out the key objectives, outputs and related strategies of the Authority, including its use of resources, b) comply with any directions issued from time to time by the Minister in relation to the form and manner of the plan s preparation, and c) have regard to the need to ensure the most beneficial and efficient use of the Authority s resources. 6 Guidelines for Ministers on the preparation of Strategy Statements, DPER,

17 Governance Principles Strategic Planning Process The Strategy Statement is the Authority s current Strategy Statement. Detailed work on the plan was completed by a Sub Committee of the Authority appointed by the Chairman, with input from representatives of the Management Board. The current Statement of Strategy reflects the following key objectives adopted by the Authority: i. Completion of the Irish Land Register, ii. Maintenance of a reliable and accurate system of land registration, iii. Meeting the Needs of the customer, iv. Delivering the Goals in a reformed public service, v. Optimise use and value of the Register Business Planning Process The Management Board is responsible for the annual Business Planning Process within the Authority. This process is the basis by which the strategic goals set out in the Statement of Strategy are reflected in the annual Corporate Business Plan which in turn consists of the various Divisional Business Plans. Divisional Business Plans, which are generally the responsibility of Divisional Managers, detail work in each Division and Unit, including those of the support functions including HR, ICT, Corporate Services and Finance, are the core element of the Authority's Planning Framework. Divisional Business Plans are reviewed against actual performance on a quarterly basis throughout the year. The Management Board oversees a series of annual business planning meetings attended by divisional and line managers who report on previous year s results and the setting of operational targets for the following year. This provides an opportunity for Management Board members not only to monitor progress, but also to reinforce organisational priorities and values

18 Governance Principles Workforce Planning Following transition of transactional HR matters to PeoplePoint the HR function has been reoriented to a more strategic basis. Workforce planning is key to this process and essential in developing a business partner role in the PRA. All three iterations requested by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to date were completed and submitted. An evidence basis is used in identifying and deciding to fill knowledge and skills gaps. Workforce segmentation facilitates prioritisation and clarifies actual requirements. The data gathered has facilitated the emergence of a greater emphasis in the HR function on staff mobility, talent management and succession planning ICT Strategy The PRA ICT strategy can be traced back to the ICT strategy of 1990 which has had periodic updates to reflect emerging trends and technologies. At that point in time there was limited technological development in the PRA so the ICT Strategy concentrated on two matters: Identify a series of projects (32 in all) that would bring the PRA (then the Land Registry) forward technologically with applications and systems that would support the day to day operation of the Registries and the services that it provided, and The design of an ICT organisational structure that would facilitate the design and development of these services, including project management. The current strategy document is ICT Strategy This strategy is based on consolidating the ICT infrastructure and applications delivered by the previous strategies and setting a new agenda for the now enlarged ICT function taking into consideration the changing technological environment and the national economic climate in which the organisation operates. There have been significant technological changes over the last 10 years which will influence the strategy for the future and with these changes have come new opportunities for improved and innovative services and business process improvements resulting in savings in operations to be realised. 12

19 Governance Principles Learning and Development Strategy The PRA Learning and Development Strategy has, as its overarching objective, to ensure the necessary skills and competencies are in place to fulfil the organisation s strategic objectives. This strategy sets out the learning and development (L&D) interventions being implemented by the Property Registration Authority and is part of the strategic planning process. Its purpose is to link learning and development activities systematically with business needs and to establish priorities and plans for activities and resources whilst ensuring value for money. It supports the achievement of the goals set out in the Strategic Plan and is in line with the objectives contained in the HR Strategy and Staff Mobility Policy. It has been developed following consultation with staff representatives and the Authority and agreed by the members of the Management Board. The rresponsibility for implementing this Learning and Development Strategy lies with the HR Manager, with assistance from the L&D Oversight Committee and the L&D Unit. The strategy is subject to 6 monthly reviews by the L&D Oversight Committee, which in turn reports to the Management Board. The purpose and function of the L&D Unit is to ensure that the PRA s learning and development function operates in accordance with best practice, maximises in-house learning capability and supports value for money approaches which contribute to the achievement of business aims Annual Report In accordance with Section 19 of the 2006 Act 8, the Authority, not later than 30 June in each year, must make a report to the Minister on the performance of its functions and on its activities during the preceding year. The Annual Report and outlines the main achievements and developments during the year to advance the Authority s objectives, as set out in its Statement of Strategy. Material for the Annual Report is provided by each division in the Authority. The preparation of the Annual Report is managed by the Corporate Services Unit and overseen by a Publications Working Group. It is translated into Irish and published in both Irish and English on the PRA s website. 8 Registration of Deeds and Title Act

20 Governance Principles Performance Management and Development System Another key element of the Governance Framework within the PRA is the management and continuous improvement of staff performance through the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS). Active management of performance is an ongoing process which happens throughout the year. The key elements of PMDS, i.e. setting goals, selecting competencies, learning goals and formal reviews of performance and upward feedback, are all fundamental aspects of managing performance. PMDS encompasses the following core principles: Creating a clear understanding of what is expected of staff and managers through effective planning and goal setting Enhancing understanding of the strategic objectives of the organisation and individual contribution to achieving these Regular review periods to ensure common understanding of progress towards achieving goals Fostering career progression through continuous learning and development Goal Setting under PMDS is aligned with the Business Planning process. It is the responsibility of each and every member of staff to ensure that their goal setting form is current and complete. epmds has been designed to enable all Employees and Managers to complete, revise and submit their PMDS forms online. Managers at all levels are responsible for ensuring full adherence to the PMDS process. The Human Resources Unit pro-actively monitors and reports to DPER on participation rates in PMDS in the PRA. It is the responsibility of the HR to audit goals set for individual staff members and to ensure compliance with requirements. Requests for training received by line managers through upward feedback from staff are forwarded to the Learning and Development Unit for assessment and implementation. 14

21 Governance Principles The Management Board collectively, and its members individually, are responsible for ensuring the effective operation of performance management across the Authority as a whole. Underperformance issues are dealt with under the guidelines published by DPER Stakeholder Engagement In common with all public sector bodies the PRA has a multi-stakeholder base. Stakeholders in both the internal and external authorising environment of the PRA may be categorised under a range of headings. Figure 2 shows one such segmentation. Constitutional, governance and statutory stakeholders are dealt with throughout this Governance Standard. The following section will deal with issues relating specifically to core stakeholders both internal and external Internal Communications Strategy While there is not, as yet, a fully documented Internal Communications Strategy, there are a number of arrangements in place to facilitate effective internal communications within the Property Registration Authority. 9 Underperformance Guidelines, DPER available at 15

22 Governance Principles Figure 2 - PRA Stakeholder Groupings Oireachtas PAC C&AG Courts Ombudsman Data Commissioner CPSA DPER Constitutional Statutory Minister for Justice & Equality Authority Members LR Rules Commitee Internal Audit Committee Merger Project Groups Governance Core PRA staff Cutomer base incluingpublic Sector bodies General Public Interested bodies International Affiliations Management fora The Management Board recognises the importance of communicating effectively and cascading information to staff at all levels. An emphasis is placed on the critical role of team meetings as an integral part of the responsibility of the Management Board to communicate effectively with staff at all levels. To that end, the divisional managers' forum receives briefings on Authority and Management Board meetings and other key developments that need to be brought to their attention and ultimately communicated to all staff. Briefing notes relating to all meetings of the divisional management forum are published on the intranet and accessible to all staff. There are also fora relating to legal and mapping functions within the PRA. The Chief Examiner of Titles and Examiner of Titles forum provides legally qualified staff with an opportunity to discuss all developments pertaining to legal practice, while the Senior Mapping Managers Network provides a similar forum for all mapping managers. In addition to the fora at management level, there are a number of active Working Groups with staff representation within the Authority. 16

23 Governance Principles Working Together Forum The Working Together forum comprises representatives of Staff, Unions and Management. The overarching aim of this Forum is to foster staff engagement and promote collaborative and participative approaches to problem solving in the PRA. Underpinning this aim is an acknowledgement that as civil servants, we all share the responsibility to ensure that renewal, and the actions to achieve it, are implemented. The main objectives of Working Together outlined in its Statement of Intent are: To build effective internal communications that keep all staff fully informed of organisational developments, including those relating to the merger To facilitate meaningful voice for forum partners and opportunity for open constructive feedback To enhance organisational capability to respond to employee views To foster trust and inculcate mutual respect among all forum partners, irrespective of pay stream or function To support workforce well-being and morale by reflecting on, learning from and acting on engagement initiatives To reinforce the purpose of the organisation and improve the customer experience To assist in developing greater organisational agility, responsiveness and value for money To participate effectively in civil service renewal Industrial relations matters are dealt with in other forums, including Departmental Council. Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme: Departmental Council The purpose the scheme of conciliation and arbitration is to provide means, acceptable both to the State and to its employees, for dealing with claims and proposals relating to the conditions of service of civil servants and to secure the fullest co-operation between the State, as employer, and civil servants, as employees, for the better discharge of public business. In line with the scheme a 17

24 Governance Principles Departmental Council, consisting of representatives of Staff, Management and unions meets on quarterly basis. 10 Intranet There is an internal Intranet page, which is updated on an ongoing basis and is an information rich resource for staff. This facility displays details of key news items that may impact on staff and also contains links to key reference points for staff in the completion of their duties, including inter alia policy documents, Practice Directions, Office Notices and relevant DPER circulars and publications Engagement with External Stakeholders Engagement with the Customer and other Stakeholders The PRA carries out some 3 million online transactions each year and has a varied and significant customer base. This customer base for PRA services is shown in Figure 3. Figure 3 - PRA Customer Base Surevyors Architects Engineers Auctioneers General public Financial Imstitutions Re-users of PSI Solicitors Law Searchers PRA Local Authorities Government Depts.,State Agencies, utilities The Property Registration Authority is fully committed to providing a professional, efficient and courteous service to all its customers in accordance with the 12 Principles of Quality Customer Service 11, as originally agreed in The Operation of Department Councils, Letter dated 19 July 2012, issued by DPER

25 Governance Principles A Customer Charter, Complaints Procedure and associated Policy on dealing with Unreasonable Complaints are all published on the PRAI.ie website. The Customer Charter sets out the standard of service the PRA aims to provide including service delivery targets for its main services. In addition, the Authority complies with the Official Languages Act 2003 and can accommodate persons who wish to conduct their business through the medium of Irish. Details of its Irish language scheme are also available online. From time to time customers are consulted by way of online surveys. The Authority engages with external stakeholders through a further range of activities which include: Customer Information Unit The Information Unit, located in Waterford, provides a first point of contact for Customers who contact the office by telephone. The staff in the Unit have been trained to provide, in so far as is possible, a responsive and direct service for our customers who have queries without the need to further transfer the calls to other staff in the PRA. Obviously, some queries, which might be more complex or case specific, will have to be transferred to other staff with more specialist skills or experience in specific casework, but in excess of 75% of the calls are dealt with directly by the Information Unit. This Unit also manages an online mailbox to deal with general queries. Freedom of Information Requirements The Freedom of Information Act 2014 seeks to enable members of the public to obtain access to the greatest extent possible, consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy, to information in the possession of public bodies. Under this legislation the PRA may refuse to grant a request for a record that is available for inspection or a copy of which is available either for a fee or free of charge e.g. copy folios maps of the Register. In addition the PRA shall refuse to grant an FOI request where non-disclosure is authorised by any enactment in certain circumstances e.g. access to instruments under Rule 159 of LR Rules [Section 41(1)(b) of the 2014 Act] 19

26 Governance Principles All other PRA records are open to requests under the Act.. The PRA is compliant with Section 8 of the Act and has made its FOI Publication Scheme readily accessible and prominently published in the FOI part of its website. It is the policy of the PRA to proactively publish as wide a range of information as possible. A records management review is also underway internally. Data Protection: Internal PRA Policy Data protection is the means by which the privacy rights of individuals are safeguarded in relation to the processing of their personal data. The Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 confer rights on individuals as well as placing responsibilities on those persons processing personal data. The PRA as a data controller has certain key responsibilities in relation to the information which it processes. Any use or disclosure of information must be necessary for the purpose(s) or compatible with the purpose(s) for which the PRA collects and keeps the data. The test is whether the data subject would be surprised to learn that a particular use of or disclosure of their data is taking place. A key test of compatibility is whether the data is used only in ways consistent with the purpose(s) for which they are kept and disclosed only in ways consistent with that purpose(s) The PRA fully respects the right to privacy of its customers in their interactions with its websites. A privacy statement appears on the website relating to the collection and use of personal information specifically in respect of its websites and only. A series of Office notices have been published setting out the Data Protection policy of the PRA. To ensure compliance with the law the PRA makes its staff aware of their responsibilities through its data protection policy and appropriate induction training with refresher training as necessary. 20

27 Governance Principles Personal data contained in the register and registry maps is public information and therefore exempt from the data protection acts 12. Any person may obtain a copy folio/map on payment of the appropriate fee. The PRA is obliged by statute to put the public on notice that a dealing (i.e. an application for registration) is pending on a folio. However, the deeds, documents and correspondence lodged in pending dealings are not public records and are therefore subject to the Data Protection Acts as they may comprise the personal data of the applicants etc. Staff are trained not to inadvertently disclose personal data of customers contained in dealings. Rule 188 of the Land Registry Rules defines the categories of persons who are entitled to inspect specific types of instruments (documents related to completed dealings) and also apply for copies 13. Staff may apply for Instruments for official purposes only. The PRA endeavours to ensure full compliance with data protection legislation through its internal policy by appropriate supervision, regular review and audit. Customer Focus Group This forum meets on at least an annual basis. Meetings of this group, representative of the PRA s main stakeholders (legal practitioners, financial institutions, local authorities, law searchers), provide a continuing opportunity for consultation on a range of issues and the dissemination of information on any changes planned or being introduced. Project Engagement In the context of the reform and modernisation agenda, the PRA have successfully implemented a wide range of initiatives since it commenced its modernisation program in Throughout this time there has always been a strong emphasis on customer involvement. All change implementations are overseen by an appropriate 12 (Section 1(4) (b) of the DP Acts). 13 See also Practice Direction entitled Inspection of Documents (published 1 December 2009), under Legal & Professional Customers on the website 21

28 Governance Principles steering group which includes significant representation from external stakeholders including the legal and banking professions. Outreach programme A growing area of activity in recent years has been the involvement of staff from the PRA in organising seminars, conferences and training courses for key stakeholder groups. PRA officials regularly participate in, and make presentations on, a range of topics at a number of seminars and training courses for solicitors, bar associations and other customers. There is also a programme of engagement with third level institutions, in particular Waterford Institute of Technology and Dublin Institute of Technology. In addition, the PRA maintains a presence, where appropriate, at trade events including the National Ploughing Championships and the Ideal Home Show to increase its profile and raise public awareness of its services Engagement with Other Government Bodies The PRA engages with a wide spectrum of public sector bodies with the objective of using this organisation s resources to provide assistance and support in the timely delivery of major infrastructural projects. The use of Spatial Data has allowed the PRA to assist Government Departments, Local Authorities and State Agencies in the identification of the registered owners of properties affected by proposed initiatives and project management of property folio updates and first registrations. We have also been able to assist other Government Departments in compliance with statutory functions and in relation to the identification and regularisation of titles of State owned properties Engagement with International Bodies In addition to engagement with other Government bodies, the PRA is also fully committed to participating in a number of relevant international bodies to ensure that the organisation s policies and priorities are represented on important issues which have an impact on land registration and land administration generally. Participation also provides the opportunity to keep up to date with international developments and trends in land administration. Dialogue and communication with relevant international 22

29 Governance Principles bodies also provides an important platform for sharing ideas and understanding progress achieved both within the EU and the wider international community. World Bank Doing Business Rankings 14 The aim of these rankings is to provide an objective basis for understanding and improving the regulatory environment for business globally. Property registration is one of the criteria benchmarked across 189 economies. The methodology used entails measuring the time, cost and number of procedures to transfer property in a capital city between two companies. In addition the quality of land administration is measured using four dimensions: reliability of land administration, transparency of information; geographic coverage and land dispute resolution. As well as quantitative data, feedback provided by government officials, academics, practitioners (Solicitors) and reviewers is also used for assessment. In April annually relevant data must be provided by the PRA in response to the World Bank questionnaire on property registration. The Management Board and the Authority members are mindful of and share Government concerns regarding external perceptions of Ireland and the role of the public sector, as a whole, in progressing economic development and job creation. A particular priority, therefore, is given to ensuring that the number of days taken to register simple sales is minimised. European Land Information Services (EULIS) The development of world class ICT systems in recent years has enabled the PRA to participate in international developments, such as EULIS which is an initiative by various land registration authorities across Europe to provide cross-border access to their respective online databases and electronic services (www.eulis.eu). The EULIS service provides land registry professional customers such as banks, other lenders, solicitors, estate agents, law searchers and public authorities with reliable, direct and easy access to land and property information in member European countries. Irish customers can access EULIS through their landdirect.ie account

30 Governance Principles European Land Registry Association (ELRA) The primary aim of the ELRA is the development and understanding of the role of land registration in real property and capital markets in EU member states. ELRA seeks to promote the mutual knowledge of the different land registry systems in member states and provides a very useful forum for discussion and information exchange on developments in land registry systems across Europe. It also has a significant role in keeping members informed on relevant developments at EU level. Since its creation in 2004, ELRA has grown rapidly, and currently its membership is made up of 24 associations representing the land registries of 20 EU member states. The PRA is an active participant of this Association, engaging as part of the ELRA network in various projects funded by the European Commission to encourage efficiencies in cross border registration and provide legal and potential IT solutions for future access to standardised registry information through the ejustice portal. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) - Working Party on Land Administration (WPLA) The Property Registration Authority is an active participant in the UNECE s Working Party on Land Administration. The Working Party was established in 1999 with the aim of promoting land administration through security of tenure, developing real estate markets and modernising land registration systems in countries in transition. The WPLA has developed into an effective network of land administration officials in Europe and North America. It operates by sending independent experts to the ECE countries to provide policy advice and recommendations in relation to national programmes on land market development and real estate registration. Five Registers The Five Registers Forum, comprising Registrars and Chief Executives of the Land Registries of England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland and the Isle of Man, meets twice a year. Issues of common interest are discussed and information exchanged on a wide range of matters pertinent to property registration. INSPIRE The INSPIRE Directive of the European Parliament which seeks to establish an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) was transposed into Irish law through Statutory Instrument No. 382 of This directive 24

31 Governance Principles aims to create an EU-wide Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) based on member states SDIs which can enable the sharing of environmental spatial information among public sector organisations, improved environmental policy making and better public access to spatial information across Europe. The Land Registry (Property Registration Authority) is the Legally Mandated Organisation (LMO) in Ireland for the Annex 1 Cadastral Parcels Theme and, as such, is obliged to provide discovery, view and download services through INSPIRE and Irish Spatial Data Infrastructure (ISDI) geoportals. Cadastral Parcels are lands that are registered in the Land Registry, excluding multi-storey registrations. 25

32 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities 2. Ministerial, Parent Department, Authority and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of senior management governance roles and responsibilities, including those relating to the Minister, Parent Department, Authority members and Chief Executive. 2.1 Parent Department and Minister The Property Registration Authority is a public body operating under the aegis of the Department of Justice and Equality. Subject to the Registration of Deeds and Title Act (the Act) the Authority is independent in the performance of its duties and has its own legal, operational, internal management and governance structures. It is categorised, under the Governance Standard for Justice and Equality Sector Bodies, as a statutory body part of the Justice Sector. The Minister for Justice and Equality (the Minister) is accountable to the Oireachtas for the performance of bodies under the aegis of his/her Department, including the PRA. The Minister is responsible for bringing matters requiring action to the attention of Government. The Minister also has responsibility to provide leadership through setting the strategic direction and the policy framework, within which each of the Justice & Equality Bodies operate Role of the Minister The role of the Minister, as set out in the Act, includes the following provisions: 15 Registration of Deeds and Title Act, 2006; No. 12 0f

33 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities It is the role of the Authority to keep the Minister informed of progress in relation to the registration of ownership of land and to assist him/her in the development of policy in relation to such registration [Section 10]. It is the role of the Minister to appoint the members of the Property Registration Authority and to designate one of the members as Chairperson. One of the members appointed shall be a representative of the Minister [Section 11]. Subject to the approval of the Minister, the Authority may, from time to time, appoint such and so many advisory committees and such and so many consultants or advisers, as it may consider necessary, to assist it in the performance of its functions [Section 17]. The Minister shall be furnished with a Strategic Plan every three years. On approval by the Minister, the Strategic Plan is laid before each house of the Oireachtas. A report on progress against this plan is presented to the Minister on an annual basis [Sections 18-19]. The Minister may, from time to time, as occasion requires, issue to the Authority such general directives in writing in relation to policy concerning registration of deeds or ownership of land, or any other function of the Authority, as he/she considers necessary However, it should be noted that nothing in the Act is to be construed as enabling the Minister to exercise any power or control in relation to any particular case with which the authority is or may be concerned [Section 20]. It is the role of the Minister to fix the fees to be charged by the PRA for registration and other services [Section 21] Departmental Oversight As the parent Department, the Department of Justice and Equality is responsible for oversight of the Property Registration Authority. The Department allows appropriate distance and autonomy to the PRA to manage its operational business, whilst and holding it to account. The role and responsibilities of both the Department and the PRA are set out in more detail in the Governance Standard for Justice and Equality 27

34 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities Bodies 16. This standard classifies Justice & Equality Bodies into the 4 main categories as set out in Figure 4. Categories are based on certain structural and operational characteristics in place for each body (e.g. own Votes, own Accounting Officer, own board etc.) which affect the level of governance/oversight/responsibility already in situ within the body. Categorising the bodies provides for a minimum level of governance activities for each category based on their individual characteristics. Figure 4 - Department of Justice and Equality Governance Model As a statutory body with its own Vote and Accounting Officer, the PRA falls into category 1, Public Bodies of the Justice Sector. As such, the following governance arrangements are in place: Department of Justice and Equality has a Responsible Officer to liaise with the PRA 16 Governance Standard for Justice and Equality Bodies, Department of Justice and Equality

35 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities A Performance Agreement (or Multi Year Governance Framework) between the Department and the PRA At least two structured Accountability and Performance meetings each year If considered appropriate, annual meetings with the Secretary General may be a requirement Compliance Statement is completed annually by CEO (or equivalent) Periodic effectiveness reviews of the Authority Performance Agreement with Department of Justice and Equality There is a fully documented Performance Agreement in place. The purpose of this agreement is to put in place a process where the expectations the Department has, in respect of the outcomes required from the PRA, can be measured and assessed. Equally the expectations that the PRA has, in relation to the support, guidance and information flow from the Department of Justice and Equality, which are vital in enabling the Authority to achieve its strategic and operational goals, are identified and delivered upon. Agreed Commitments The Performance Agreement sets out the commitments on the part of both the Authority and the Department. Both parties agree to proactive and timely communications, cooperation and information on service delivery. Both parties agree to consult and to keep each other fully appraised on all matters of mutual relevance Both parties agree on the effective realisation of this agreement and the agreed targets that will come about. In reciprocation the Department of Justice and Equality will provide the following supports to the PRA to enable it deliver on its objectives: Support the PRA, where necessary, in any sanction requests to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Assist the PRA in the annual estimates campaign 29

36 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities Inform and involve the PRA in any activities related to the role that the PRA play within the Department Work with the PRA in the regular reporting processes under public sector reform Work with the PRA in providing information under the various national and international measurement processes. 2.2 Authority The Property Registration Authority (PRA) was established on 4 November 2006 under the provisions of the Registration of Deeds and Title Act As a statutory body its members, are appointed by the Minister and are representative of the main users and consumers of property registration services. The PRA replaced the Registrar of Deeds and Titles as the registering authority in relation to property registration in Ireland. Whilst operationally independent, the PRA is accountable to the Minister, who is ultimately responsible to the Oireachtas for the actions and performance of the PRA. The functions of the Authority as set out in Section 10 of the Act are as follows: (a) to manage and control the Registry of Deeds and the Land Registry, (b) to promote and extend the registration of ownership of land, (c) to deal with applications under Part III of the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) (No. 2) Act 1978, (d) to undertake or commission, or collaborate or assist in, research projects and activities relating to the registration of ownership of land, including the compilation of statistical data needed for the proper planning, development and provision of services related to such registration, (e) to perform any additional functions conferred on it (f) to keep the Minister informed of progress in relation to the registration of ownership of land and to assist him or her in the development of policy in relation to such registration. In carrying out its functions the Authority shall have regard to: 30

37 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities the resources of the Property Registration Authority for the purposes of such performance and the need to secure the most beneficial, effective and efficient use of such resources; any policy or objective of the Government insofar as it may affect or relate to a function of the Authority; and any direction by the Minister Meetings of the Authority The members of Authority meet not less than once in each three month period, retain full and effective control over the Property Registration Authority and monitor the executive management and performance by reference to the Strategic Plan of the Authority Appointments to the Authority Arrangements for appointment to the Authority, similar to that of all State Boards, (commercial and non-commercial) are set out in the 'Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards' (2014). According to the Guidelines, all vacancies (subject to limited and specified exceptions including the role of the Chair) are advertised openly on the State Boards portal (www.stateboards.ie), operated by the Public Appointments Service (PAS). Applications are then processed by way of a transparent assessment system designed and implemented by the PAS to support the Minister in making appointments to State Boards under his/her remit. Appointments meet specific and detailed criteria determined in consultation with key stakeholders (such as the current Chair of the State Board concerned and the Public Appointments Service) as necessary for the effective performance of the relevant role(s) Subcommittees of the Authority Subject to the approval of the Minister, the Authority may from time to time appoint such and so many advisory committees and such and so many consultants or advisers as it may consider necessary to assist it in the performance of its functions. 31

38 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities Matters specifically reserved for the Authority The Authority has a formal schedule of matters specifically reserved to it for decision to ensure that the direction and control of the Property Registration Authority is undertaken by it in accordance with its statutory remit Authorisations In accordance with Section 26 of the Act, the functions of the Authority may be performed by any member or members of staff who is or are authorised to do so. All authorisations pursuant to this provision must be formally adopted by the Authority. A list of current authorisations of the PRA pursuant to the provisions of the Registration of Deeds and Title Act is given in Appendix Rules Committee The Registration of Deeds and Title Rules Committee performs certain statutory functions and with the agreement of the Minister has the power to make general rules [Sections 126 and 74 of the 1964 Act]. Membership of the Committee comprises: 1) Chairperson: A High court Judge assigned by the President of the High Court 2) Secretary: Chief Executive of the Authority 3) Chairperson of the Authority 4) A practising Barrister nominated by the Bar Council 5) A practising solicitor nominated by the Law Society The Secretary of the Committee must summon a meeting at least once a year to consider practice, procedure and administration under the Acts of 1964 and 2006 and the operation and effect of those acts. The Committee reports to the Minister for Justice and Equality on the amendments it considers should be made to the existing Land Registration Rules. 32

39 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities 2.4 The Chief Executive and Accounting Officer Role In accordance with Section 22 of the 2006 Act, the Chief Executive is responsible for implementing the decisions of the Authority and for managing and controlling its staff, administration and business. Furthermore in accordance with Section 23 of the Act, the Chief Executive is the Accounting Officer for the Property Registration Authority and, as such, carries all of the responsibilities of that role. The Chief Executive reports to the Authority in relation to the performance of these functions Accounting Officer Role The Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act, defined the term Accounting Officer in legislation for the first time. The Accounting Officer is described in this Act as the "Officer referred to in Section 22 of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act, 1866 to whom the duty of preparing the Appropriation Accounts of a Department is assigned " The constitution provides that Dáil Éireann votes funds annually for Government Departments and certain offices, including the Property Registration Authority, to spend on the provision of public services. After the end of the year, the PRA must prepare an account of its expenditure and receipts under its Vote, called the Appropriation Account. This Account must be signed by the Accounting Officer who is responsible for having it prepared and presented for audit to the Comptroller and Auditor General before 1 April of the year following that to which it relates. 18 The key feature of the Accounting Officer role is the personal responsibility of the most senior official for the regularity and propriety of the transactions in the accounts for which s/he is answerable; the control of assets held by the Authority; economy and efficiency in the use of the Authority s resources and for systems, practices and procedures used to evaluate the effectiveness of its operations. 17 No 8 of Articles 11, 21, 28 and 33 Bunreacht ha héireann 33

40 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities Accounting Officers cannot be familiar with every financial transaction on the accounts and for that reason there is a particular responsibility to ensure that the financial management and control systems in place in the Authority are adequate to enable the discharge of this accountability. Such systems are outlined in detail in Chapter The Accounting Officer and the Public Account Committee Accountability is exercised by means of rigorous examination of the manner in which Accounting Officers have discharged their responsibilities by means of independent audit and examinations by the C&AG and of scrutiny by the Dáil Committee of Public Accounts (PAC). In appearing before the PAC the Accounting Officer appears in his/ her own right rather than as a representative of the Minister as part of the Minister s constitutional responsibility. The duties of the Accounting Officer before the PAC are thus outside the normal system of civil service delegation where, in general, civil servants act in the name of the Minister. Under section 19 of the 1993 Act Accounting Officers are required to give evidence to the PAC of a) the regularity and propriety of the transactions recorded or required to be recorded in any account subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General which s/he or the Department concerned is required by or under statute to prepare, b) the economy and efficiency of the Department in the use of its resources, c) the systems, procedures and practices employed by the Department for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of its operations, and d) any matter affecting the Department/office referred to in a special report of the Comptroller and Auditor General under Section 11(2) or in any other report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (in so far as it relates to a matter specified in paragraph (a), (b) or (c)) that is laid before Dáil Éireann. The 1993 Act broadened the statutory duties of Accounting Officers to cover economy and efficiency in the use of resources and the systems, practices and procedures to evaluate effectiveness of the operations of Departments and Offices. 34

41 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities Since the introduction of the Act the Office of the C&AG, therefore, has been devoting considerable resources to carrying out Value for Money examinations which result in stand- alone reports dealing with these issues. The 1993 Act also provides a statutory basis for the accepted convention that Accounting Officers should not express an opinion on the merits of any policy when giving evidence to the PAC. This provision is the same as that imposed on civil servants generally in appearing before Oireachtas Committees. Likewise, under its Standing Orders the PAC may not enquire into the merits of a policy or policies of the Government or a member of the Government or the merits of the objectives of such policies Principles and Conventions Apart from the statutory provisions, Accounting Officers operate within established principles and conventions that are derived mainly from the Constitution and from the institutional and financial relationships that have been developed between the Oireachtas and the Government over the years. The reports and recommendations of the PAC are one of the main sources of these principles. They are set out in the guide "Public Financial Procedures" 19. The responsibilities of Accounting Officers are set down in Section A5 of Public Financial Procedures which is brought to the attention of each Accounting Officer on appointment. In addition to the preparation of the Appropriation Accounts the main responsibilities of Accounting Officers as laid down in this guide are as follows: The safeguarding of public funds and property under his or her control. Ensuring that all relevant financial considerations are taken into account and, where necessary, brought to the attention of the Minister where they concern the preparation and implementation of policy proposals relating to expenditure or income for which s/he is Accounting Officer. Economy and efficiency in the administration of the Department/Office. This includes ensuring that there are adequate financial management systems in place to support the proper administration of the Department/Office in an economic and efficient way

42 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities The adequacy of arrangements within the Department/Office to ensure the correctness of all payments under his/her control and the prompt and efficient recovery and bringing to account of all receipts connected with the Vote, or with any fund for which the Department is responsible. Ensuring that Department of Finance sanction for expenditure has been obtained and for the maintenance of a central record of both delegated and specific sanctions. Responsibilities for internal audit, including reviewing the internal audit function to ensure there is the desired quality of assurance on the adequacy, reliability and efficiency of the Department s/office s internal control system. 2.5 Assignment of Management Roles and Responsibilities The assignment of responsibility for the performance of functions by individual officers are made on the basis of the personal (or team) work objectives identified under or associated with the Statement of Strategy and Business Plans. The Chief Executive, as Head of the office, assigns specific responsibilities to managers at other levels, in line with the provisions of the Public Service Management Act, Assignments can be amended on an ongoing basis by the Chief Executive. Under Action 21 of the Civil Service Renewal Plan, all Government Departments and Offices are obliged to publish a Framework of Assignments. This Framework covers such assignments of responsibilities under the 1997 Act. This information in relation to the Property Registration Authority is located at 2.6 Leadership and Organisational Capacity According to the OECD, effective leadership is a critical component of good public governance. 20 In a recent study on leadership in the civil service the lowest scoring for all senior managers related to human capital development 21. A focus on staff development, therefore, can be seen as a leadership strength focusing on 20 OECD (2004) Public Governance and the Role of the State. Paris: OECD. 21 Mc Carthy, A, Grady, G. and Daly, G. (2011) Leadership in the Irish Civil Service: A Review of Management Capability available at 36

43 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities organisational capacity and ensures that the right talent will be in place to achieve the longer term strategic objectives of the organisation Leadership Each individual member of the Management Board has a responsibility to show leadership, to contribute to the management of the Authority as a whole and to actively support colleagues in meeting their objectives. Leadership and management must therefore set the tone for effective governance from the top while showing example to staff of good governance behaviours and demonstrating a commitment to achieving Government objectives through an accountable process Organisational Capacity The Management Board seeks to ensure that there is a strategy in place to achieve the goals established in the Statement of Strategy. To that end, there are a number of key operational strategies in place including a Workforce Action Plan, Staff Mobility Policy and a Learning and Development Strategy. Together these strategies support the development of new skills and behaviours, continuous professional development and ensure that staff can access the appropriate mix of training and development opportunities. Workforce planning is based on the premise that an organisation operates most effectively when the right people with the right knowledge, skills and competencies are deployed appropriately. It promotes organisation appropriate succession planning and talent management. Workforce planning in the Property Registration Authority is the primary responsibility of the HR Manager. In carrying out this role, the HR Manager works closely with the other members of the Management Board, together with Divisional Managers ICT Governance and Security The core business of the PRA is the maintenance and dissemination of information relating to the registration of property and deeds in Ireland. The PRA is a unique source for much of the information that it holds and its customer base, drawn mainly from the legal, law searching and financial services professions and public authorities is very heavily dependent on the availability, reliability and integrity of such 37

44 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities information. The land register itself, including the spatial component, exists only in electronic format which means ICT governance and security are of critical importance. ICT governance is informed by the ICT strategy documents, Arrangements for Digital and ICT-related Expenditure in the Civil and Public Service issued by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform 22 and various ICT usage policy documents signed by all staff. The alignment of ICT projects and operations to business requirements is ensured by the ICT Steering Committee and the ICT Manager who is also a member of the Management Board. In order to meet the expectations of its customers, and to fulfil its legal and statutory obligations, it is essential for the PRA to have a well-developed information security policy and access control regime in place which accords with best industry practice and which provides appropriate safeguards. Network and system security is not, of course, a static exercise. It is, by its nature a 'work in progress' and it is, therefore, equally essential that the security policies, measures, activities, services and products are kept constantly under review as new threats come to light. In recognition of this evolving landscape, the information security policy is underpinned with the following measures: Use of 'best-of-breed' security procedures and security technology. Deployment of technical staff, to a dedicated ICT security section within the ICT Unit, trained to the required level reporting to an Information Security Manager who, in turn, reports to the ICT Manager on security matters. External expertise is also engaged, where appropriate. An ongoing programme of training and development for technical staff on security and related issues, relevant to the PRA s technical and infrastructural environment. An ongoing programme of information and awareness for the staff of the PRA. 22 DPER Circular 02/16 Arrangements for Digital and ICT-related Expenditure in the Civil and Public Service 38

45 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities Records Management The Property Registration Authority has a print to file policy. There is a standard classification system for all administration files, and all new files are opened within this classification. Manual files are recorded and assigned a reference number on an electronic recording system based on category and sub-category. A records management review is currently underway with a view to developing a new electronic records management system to manage larger electronic files which are not amenable to printing Financial Management and Procurement The role of the Finance and Procurement Unit is to assist with the overall management of the financial and procurement affairs of the Authority. This includes - embedding a system of financial delegation; segregation of duties and accountability; monitoring, analysing and reporting on expenditure against agreed budgets; managing the receipt of fees collected on behalf of and paid over to the Exchequer on an ongoing basis; preparing accounts at the end of each financial year for audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General; ensuring that the Department s procurement policy, procedures, practices and templates comply with EU law and National Guidelines; providing support and advice as and when required to staff and to ensure procurement is compliant with EU law and National Guidelines. Fees Fees received in respect of Land Registry and Registry of Deeds services are remitted weekly to the Exchequer. Under section 21(2) of the Registration of Deeds and Title Act 2006 fees which are set by the Minister, shall not be fixed at a level calculated to produce an amount which is less than that sufficient to discharge the 39

46 Ministerial and Senior Management Roles & Assignment of Responsibilities salaries, remuneration and other expenses payable under and incidental to the working of the 2006 Act. 40

47 Management Board & Other Governance Structures 3. Management Board & other Governance Structures The purpose of this chapter is to set out the role, responsibilities of the Management Board. 3.1 Management Board Terms of Reference The Authority has adopted the following key objectives in its Statement of Strategy : Completion of the Irish Land Register, Maintenance of a reliable and accurate system of land registration, Meeting the Needs of the customer, Delivering the Goals in a reformed public service, Optimise use and value of the Register. The purpose of the Management Board of the Property Registration Authority is to provide for shared participation and responsibility for the operational success of the entire organisation in meeting these key objectives. This includes accountability for the effective management of the organisation and ensuring it has the capacity to fulfil this role by developing the capability of the leadership team, management and staff. The Terms of Reference for the Management Board are outlined over the course of this Chapter Membership/composition The Management Board is chaired by the Chief Executive Officer. The membership comprises those officers at Principal Officer and above who hold responsibility for the following functions in the Property Registration Authority: Deputy Registrar Corporate Affairs Deputy Registrars Legal Services (x 3) 23 Available at 41

48 Management Board & Other Governance Structures Corporate Services Human Resources Operations and Casework Management Information and Communications Technology Registration Mapping/spatial Data Financial Control Meetings The Management Board meets at regular intervals, as the Chief Executive deems necessary. In the absence of a Chief Executive convening of meetings will be agreed by MB members. To form a quorum, there must be at least half the members of the Board plus one in attendance at each meeting. Members of the Management Board may submit items for inclusion on the agenda prior to meetings. Prioritisation is decided by the Chief Executive. All members of the Management Board attend meetings. Other Officers of the PRA, or external experts, as deemed necessary by the Chief Executive, may attend for the full board meetings, or for particular agenda items Shared Participation The principle of shared participation and responsibility applies to decisions made by the Management Board. The role of members includes participating proactively on the Management Board using their experience to challenge and critically examine items under discussion. It is expected of members that in providing leadership and strategic direction, they do not focus solely on their own functions. 42

49 Management Board & Other Governance Structures Roles The role of the Chief Executive Officer in respect of Management Board comprises: a. Scheduling, convening and chairing regular meetings; b. Ensuring the Management Board considers any matters that threaten the propriety or value for money with which the Authority carries out its business; and c. Ensuring the Management Board considers any significant issues which may impact on the Authority s medium term capacity and capability or significant risks to delivery on its goals, together with details of mitigating actions proposed or taken. The role of chair is complementary to and does not conflict with the existing statutory roles of the Chief Executive or Accounting Officer. The role of all members of the Management Board encompasses both corporate and functional responsibilities and includes the following: a. Regular attendance and active participation at meetings; b. Specific responsibilities arising from their individual roles as Board members; c. Participating proactively in the management of the Board and not focusing only on their own functions in providing leadership and strategic direction, and driving and overseeing the implementation of strategies; d. Showing leadership, contributing to the management of the PRA, as a whole, and actively supporting colleagues in meeting organisational objectives; e. Using their experience to challenge and critically examine items under discussion by the Management Board; f. Notifying the Management Board of any matters that threaten the propriety or value for money with which the PRA carries out its business; and g. Notifying the Management Board of any significant issues which may impact on the Authority s medium term capacity and capability or significant risks to delivery of its goals, together with details of mitigating actions proposed or taken. 43

50 Management Board & Other Governance Structures Matters Appropriate for the consideration of Management Board Matters appropriate for consideration by the Management Board, include, but are not limited to: a. Implementation of Government Policy; b. Achievement of the goals as set out in the Statement of Strategy; c. Operational strategies, as appropriate, to best implement the goals d. Monitoring performance against targets; e. The Business Plans as agreed with all Divisional Managers; f. Risk management; g. Discussion of major strategic challenges confronting the PRA and strategies affecting the long term interests of the PRA (including technological developments, financial and Human Resource allocation, Human Resources strategies); h. Workforce Planning i. Ensuring the integrity of the Register is forefront; j. Ensuring that cross-cutting and longer term issues are fully accounted for in resource planning, policy formulation and advice; k. Developing services to meet customer demand; l. Developing future strategy in collaboration with the Authority; m. Budget allocation and performance; n. Ensuring effective communication throughout the organisation including dissemination of information on the role and decisions of the Management Board where appropriate, driving engagement with staff and communication with external stakeholders; o. Considering and debating major policy issues and wider external issues of significance; p. High-level consideration of significant management and investment decisions made; q. Ensuring Strategic Human Resources and Organisational Capacity and Capability Reviews are conducted periodically; r. Ensuring that all opportunities are examined that will exploit and embrace technology and innovation to transform how services are delivered; s. Appropriate Governance arrangements and clarity on roles and responsibilities t. Participation at national and international fora. 44

51 Management Board & Other Governance Structures Relationship with the Chairman and Members of the Property Registration Authority The Management Board, through the Chief Executive reports formally to the meetings of the members of the Property Registration Authority. The Chief Executive s Report consists of the following standing items: Financial Situation Workflow Situation Information Technology Other Developments HR Updates Legislative Developments The Management Board, through the Chief Executive reports to the Chairman and the members of the Property Registration Authority on an ongoing basis as the need arises Relationship with the Parent Department A formal Service Level Agreement is in place between the PRA and the Department of Justice and Equality. The Management Board undertakes to return relevant and appropriately detailed performance information to allow for monitoring of this Service Level Agreement. This may include: Relevant and appropriately detailed performance information for inclusion in the Revised Estimates for Public Services volume; and Performance information in line with the set of such indicators, and in keeping with the timeframe, agreed with the Department of Justice and Equality. 45

52 Management Board & Other Governance Structures Committees The Chief Executive, when considered appropriate, may establish committees, whose role to examine key strategic issues facing the PRA and to make their findings known to the Management Board. Such Committees shall be comprised of selected members of the Management Board, together with other Officers of the PRA as considered appropriate. PRA standing committees include: Budgetary Committee ICT Steering Committee Learning and Development Oversight Committee Health and Safety Committees Project Boards Tailte Éireann Implementation Working Groups It is the role of the Management Board to ensure that each such committee has clear Terms of Reference which identify and set out the purpose, structure and formal reporting lines and reporting frequency. All ongoing governance activity, including committee meetings, is outlined in Appendix 2. Health and Safety Committee In accordance with Section 20 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, a Safety Statement outlining the policy of the Property Registration Authority has been prepared and is posted on the Intranet. Overall and final responsibility is that of the Property Registration Authority which delegates responsibilities as set out in the Safety Statement. The management of safety, health and welfare in each building is delegated to Divisional Managers and appointed persons. The Corporate Services Unit has responsibility for Chancery Street, in so far as it relates to building maintenance and carrying out safety inspections. Local Safety, Health and Welfare Committees consisting of management and staff have been set up in Dublin, Roscommon and Waterford. Meetings are held quarterly and act as a two-way exchange of information in relation to relevant issues. Staff use this mechanism to make representations to management while management keep staff informed of any developments regarding the arrangements for safety, health and welfare, taking account of representations. 46

53 Management Board & Other Governance Structures Performance and Evaluation A mechanism for performance evaluation annually of the Management Board will be decided in due course by the members. All PRA Management Board members are expected to be open to constructive feedback on their individual performance. One option for such evaluation is individual completion of a relevant questionnaire by all Management Board members to assess compliance with governance requirements and the general performance and effectiveness of the board. The Chair or an external facilitator could then collate the responses and lead discussion on the key issues arising from the responses. The main focus will be on key areas which require improvement and corrective action and relevant action items can be progressed as required. Another option is to complete such a questionnaire and /or hold a general discussion on management board performance every alternate year. In evaluating overall Management Board Performance priority will be given to the following issues incorporating both internal and external perspectives: PRA strategies and risk assessments Compliance with Governance standards Outcomes of previous Management Board evaluations Enhancing Management Board processes, quality of discussion, group dynamics, and relationships Potential Management Board development needs and improving individual and team effectiveness Highlighting best practice as it relates to Management Boards Views of stakeholders in the PRA s authorising environment, including the Authority and parent Department, on corporate governance performance Current and emerging factors in the external environment A sample questionnaire is provided in Appendix 5. This draws inter alia on certain recommendations of the Wright Report 24 and the Toland Report 25 on organisation 24 Strengthening the Capacity of the Department of the Department of Finance: Report of the Independent Review Panel December 2010 available at 47

54 Management Board & Other Governance Structures structures and embedding clear lines of ownership of issues, responsibility and accountability. It has been tailored, as appropriate for a civil service executive Management Board setting, from the Audit Committee Institute checklist 26 for assessment of non-executive boards generally. To make the process most effective the Management Board may opt to adapt any such questionnaire on a regular basis, as required. 25 Report of the Independent Review Group on the Department of Justice and Equality July 11 th, 2014 Available at ble.pdf 26 Audit Committee Institute available at 48

55 Audit, Assurance & Compliance Arrangements 4. Audit, Assurance and Compliance Arrangements This chapter contains an overview of audit and assurance arrangements together with a description of the key role of internal controls in the overall governance framework. 4.1 Introduction The Accounting Officer cannot, of course, be fully acquainted with every detail of the accounts for which they are responsible, so they must have a range of audit, assurance and compliance arrangements in place to assist them. These arrangements include: internal controls internal audit audit committee Risk management It is the purpose of this section to outline how these arrangements are in place and working within the PRA. 4.2 State Guarantee: Compensation Scheme The core business of the PRA involves examining legal documents and related maps submitted as applications for registration, interpreting the legal effect of such documents and recording their legal impact on the registers and maps. Since the Irish land register is a public record, any person may inspect the folios and maps, on payment of the prescribed fees. The title shown on the folio is guaranteed by the State.Compensation provisions may therefore apply where a person suffers loss as result of an error, fraud or forgery arising from an entry or omission in the register or map [Section 120 of the 1964 Act]. 49

56 Audit, Assurance & Compliance Arrangements In furtherance of the strategic objective to maintain a reliable and accurate system of land registration, there is in place a range of measures to safeguard the integrity of the register and its maps. These include inter alia strict adherence to Practice Directions and Office Notices, a comprehensive training regime, a Process Assurance Group and a Quality Assurance Unit. Collectively these arrangements represent the key internal controls governing casework operations. 4.3 Internal Control Framework A key element in any corporate governance framework is an effective system of internal control. Internal control has been defined by the Auditing Practices Authority as: The whole system of controls, financial and otherwise, established by management in order to carry on the business of the enterprise in an orderly and efficient manner, ensure adherence to management policies, safeguard the assets and secure, as far as possible, the completeness and accuracy of the records... it is the responsibility of management to decide the extent of the internal control system which is appropriate to the enterprise Internal Financial Control The following represents the key elements of internal financial control in operation within the Property Registration Authority - A system of delegation and accountability Proper authority for the making of payments (e.g. Department of Public Expenditure sanction) Segregation of duties, particularly where the processing of transactions is involved 27 quoted in Role and Responsibilities of Accounting Officers, published by the Department of Finance

57 Audit, Assurance & Compliance Arrangements Careful selection of officers with responsibility for money, including ensuring that they have the skills commensurate with their responsibilities and that they are appropriately monitored. Documentary and physical controls to safeguard assets. Information and reporting arrangements to Management Board, Authority, Parent Department and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Documented financial policies and procedures, including ensuring that they are available throughout the Department/Office. Systems to ensure budgetary control. Systems to review and evaluate controls, including Internal Audit and Audit Committee Appropriation Account After the end of the year the Accounting Officer must prepare an account of their expenditure and receipts (any moneys received as appropriations-in-aid during the year), known as the Appropriation Account. The Accounting Officer of the Property Registration Authority is responsible for having the Appropriation Account for Vote 23, for which he/she is responsible, prepared and presented for audit to the Comptroller and Auditor General (the C&AG) by 1 April of the year following that to which it relates. The C&AG then audits each Appropriation Account, testing whether the receipts and expenditure recorded are supported by documentation, whether the expenditure was applied for the purposes intended by the Oireachtas and whether the transactions recorded conform with the authority for them. The C&AG then lays the Account before the Dáil, together with his certificate that it properly records the receipts and expenditure of the Department or Office concerned (if he considers that the Account does not in fact do so: he may qualify his certificate.) and with such report as he considers appropriate on foot of his audit of the Account. The C&AG is precluded by law from expressing an opinion about policy in his report. 51

58 Audit, Assurance & Compliance Arrangements Statement of Internal Financial Control In the role as Accounting Officer, the CEO of the Property Registration Authority must also sign, on an annual basis, the Statement of Internal Financial Control. The Statement of Internal Financial Control, which is a preface to the Appropriation Account, is a written acknowledgement on the part of the Accounting Officer of the role he/she has in ensuring that an effective system of internal financial control is in place within the Office. The statement must contain confirmation that the control environment contains the following elements: Financial responsibilities have been assigned at management level with corresponding accountability Reporting arrangements have been established at all levels where responsibility for financial management has been assigned Formal procedures have been established for reporting significant control failures and ensuring appropriate corrective action There is an Audit Committee to advise him/her in discharging his/her responsibilities for the internal financial control system The Statement goes on to describe the arrangements in place in respect of, inter alia, administrative controls, management reporting and internal control. In addition, the Statement contains details of the Letters of Assurance provided to the Accounting Officer by the Accounting Officers of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Accounting Officer of the Department of Justice and Equality in respect of controls in place for shared services 28 supplied to the PRA Procurement A further key element of internal control is that of adherence with procurement guidelines. The Property Registration Authority must adhere to strict procurement guidelines in all matters pertaining to the purchase of goods and services. 28 (1) HR Shared Services Centre - PeoplePoint and (2) Payroll Shared Services Centre- PSSC 52

59 Audit, Assurance & Compliance Arrangements Implementation of these guidelines is the remit of the Procurement Manager and the Finance and Procurement Unit. Different procurement procedures apply depending on what is being procured and the value of a contract. Contracts must not be artificially split in order to avoid a formal compliant procurement process. Different EU thresholds apply depending on the nature of the contract being procured. These thresholds are revised every two years by the EU Commission. Summary procedures for each procurement threshold are set out in the table below, but before conducting any procurement, the full internal procedure document should be read and understood. Value of contract (excl. VAT) Up to 500 Over 500 and less than 5,000 Between 5,000 and 25,000 Over 25,000 to EU threshold 135,000 Over EU threshold 135,000 Procurement procedure Purchase directly Issue a Request for Quotation (RFQ) to one or more suppliers (check to see if the OGP can procure directly or have an existing suitable contract/framework agreement in place) Issue a RFQ to a minimum of three suppliers (check to see if the OGP can procure directly or have an existing suitable contract //framework agreement) In accordance with DPER Circular 10/14 issue a formal RFT on etenders (check to see if the OGP can procure directly or have an existing suitable /framework agreement). Issue a formal RFT pursuant to a Notice in the Official Journal of the EU via the website: 53

60 Audit, Assurance & Compliance Arrangements 4.4 Internal Audit Role of Internal Audit The primary role of the Internal Audit Function is to give assurance to the Chief Executive as Accounting Officer and to the Audit Committee on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Property Registration Authority s system of internal controls. The Internal Audit Function discharges this responsibility by critically and objectively examining on a risk focused basis - the adequacy and reliability of systems (including the relevant technology) and procedures the compliance with management controls the compliance with corporate objectives and strategies the compliance with laws and regulations the reliability and integrity of management information the arrangements for the acquisition, custody and disposal of assets and for verifying their existence and by identifying deficiencies or weaknesses in systems and making appropriate recommendations. Comprehensive records are maintained to demonstrate that audit work has been performed to best practice standards. Internal Audit is responsible for ensuring the confidentiality and safekeeping of all records and information accessed in the course of internal audit work. Should the internal audit function, during the course of its work, discover evidence of fraud it may bring this to the attention of the Chief Executive as Accounting Officer and the Audit Committee, without prior reference to local management. The internal audit function may also, at the request of Chief Executive as Accounting Officer and with the agreement of the Audit Committee, engage in specific fraud investigation work. 54

61 Audit, Assurance & Compliance Arrangements Delivery of Internal Audit Function The PRA relies upon an external delivery model for the provision of Internal Audit Services. Amongst the key areas which are regularly subject to internal audit reviews are: Financial Control Casework; compliance with procedures ICT Security Human Resources: compliance with legislation and DPER circulars Risk Management Charter for Internal Audit The internal audit function has a formal charter, including terms of reference, which has been approved by the Authority. The charter deals with inter alia the independence of the audit function, its reporting responsibilities, and proposed audit methodologies Internal Audit Methodology The Internal Audit Function carries out audit work in accordance with standards and guidelines issued by Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and has regard to best practice of organisations such as the Institute of Internal Auditors. In carrying out its duties, internal audit works constructively with management and staff. During the course of an audit, management and staff will be required to cooperate fully with internal audit team s requirements. Internal Audit will normally notify line management at least two weeks prior to the commencement of an audit. In the course of each audit, the audit team will discuss its findings with the line management concerned. Normally, an exit meeting will be held with the appropriate Head of Division. Draft internal audit reports will subsequently be issued to management for response. Management do not amend draft internal audit reports or cause them to be amended. Management are afforded an opportunity to address findings. Where Internal Audit 55

62 Audit, Assurance & Compliance Arrangements and management fail to reach agreement on issues/recommendations considered to be of material importance by Internal Audit, the final audit report will reflect the positions of both. The attention of the Chief Executive as Accounting Officer and the Audit Committee will be drawn specifically to these issues/recommendations, so that appropriate action may be taken by senior management. 4.5 Audit Committee The PRA has an Audit Committee in place. The role of the Audit Committee, as part of the ongoing systematic development of the control environment and governance procedures within the PRA is - To act as a source of independent advice to the Chief Executive, as Accounting Officer and members of the PRA, on matters relating to financial management and control; To oversee the internal audit function and advise the Chief Executive as accounting officer and the Authority in relation to the operation and development of that function To assess whether appropriate action is taken to deal with key issues identified by the internal audit unit and by external audit To examine and monitor the implementation of the Authority s risk management strategy To facilitate improvements in internal audit and internal control through the exchange of information Audit Committee Arrangements in PRA The Audit Committee - Operates under a written charter. Has significant external representation (at least 2 members), including, in the normal course, representatives from the private sector with appropriate expertise. Prepares an annual report to the Accounting Officer reviewing its operations. 56

63 Audit, Assurance & Compliance Arrangements Invites the Comptroller and Auditor General, or his nominee, to meet the Committee at least once a year Relationship between Audit Committee and Internal Audit Function There is a clearly defined relationship between the Audit Committee and the Internal Audit Function within the PRA. It is important to note that the Committee s role is advisory rather than supervisory. The Audit Committee is engaged on the following: Reviewing and advising on the programme of work for Internal Audit within the PRA Approving and periodically reviewing a charter for Internal Audit which clearly defines the purpose, authority, role, responsibility and reporting relationships of the Audit Committee, Internal Audit Unit and relevant management of the PRA Assessing the results of completed internal audit reports, evaluating the effectiveness of internal control and advising the Chief Executive as Accounting Officer and the Authority of its conclusions thereon Advising the Chief Executive, as Accounting Officer, and the members of the Property Registration Authority on the effectiveness of the internal audit function. Monitoring the implementation of the audit plan Requesting special reports from internal audit as considered appropriate Fostering the development of best practice in the internal audit function 4.6 Risk Management Risk may be defined as the possibility of the Authority failing to achieve its objectives, as set out in its Statement of Strategy, due to any internal or external event. The Property Registration Authority implements a Risk Management policy as recommended by Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. 57

64 Audit, Assurance & Compliance Arrangements Risk Management Programme Risk management is a process of clearly defined steps which support better decisionmaking by contributing a greater insight into risks and their impacts. Risk management within the PRA is not a stand-alone activity that requires special skills and resources that add to the administrative burden. Rather the focus is at all times on successfully managing risk rather than on the system of risk management. The key elements of the risk management programme within the Authority are Identification and assessment of the risks An evaluation of the likelihood of the risk occurring Ensuring that comprehensive controls are in place to prevent, detect and recover from any incidents Monitoring and reporting to the Authority Putting in place an effective communication, learning and awareness campaign to ensure that risk management is embedded in staff s everyday responsibilities Risk Management Responsibility The Authority of the Property Registration Authority has overall responsibility for ensuring that a risk management policy is defined and in operation within the organisation. The Chief Executive manages and directs the overall risk management process. A Risk Register is presented on a quarterly basis to the Management Board and put before the members of the Authority. Members of the Management Board are responsible for Implementing the Authority s risk management process in their Division; Identifying, evaluating and signing off on risks at Divisional level; Owning and managing the risks within the Division s organisational or functional remit on a day to day basis; Ensuring clear roles and responsibilities for risk identification, management and reporting are defined within their areas using PMDS and business planning; 58

65 Audit, Assurance & Compliance Arrangements Ensuring compliance with the formal risk reporting requirements on an ongoing basis; Ensuring risk management awareness throughout the Division. Staff: individual members of staff are responsible for Operating and monitoring the system of internal control; Proactively identifying risk issues and bringing these to the attention of management; Ensuring that all risks are identified and reported in a timely and effective manner. The Authority s Audit Committee reviews and advises upon the processes for managing risk in the Authority. The Audit Committee have a standing agenda item on risk at its meetings and receive feedback from the Authority s management on the implementation and performance of the risk management process. On a day to day basis, primary responsibility for risk management lies with line management within the Authority Risk Register The Authority maintains its own centralised records about its risks in a risk database or register. This register is the primary tool for risk tracking, containing the overall system of risks and the status of any risk mitigation actions. The details contained in the risk register pertaining to each individual risk include: A description of the risk Business area responsible for managing the risk The relevant strategy impacted The likelihood of the risk occurring The impact of the risk The control effectiveness The overall risk rating The consequences of the risk Measures to address the risk 59

66 Audit, Assurance & Compliance Arrangements Additional action necessary The Owner of the risk Review of Risk Management Practices In accordance with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform guidelines issued in February , the PRA will carry out a review of its risk management processes to ensure adherence to recent developments in the area of Risk Management. It is expected that this review will take place in Quarter 2, Risk Management Guidance for Government Departments and Offices DPER February 2016 available at 60

67 Appendices Appendix 1 Governance Principles 30 1 Good governance supports a culture and ethos which ensures behaviour with integrity, a strong commitment to ethical values, and respect for the rule of law. 2 Good governance helps to define priorities and outcomes in terms of sustainable economic and societal benefits and to determine the policies and interventions necessary to optimise the achievement of these priorities and outcomes. It means implementing good practices in transparency, reporting, communications, audit and scrutiny to deliver effective accountability. 3 Good Governance means developing the Department s capacity, including the capability of the leadership team, management and staff. 4 Good governance means managing risks and performance through robust internal control systems and effective performance management practice. 5 Good governance ensures openness, effective public consultation processes and comprehensive engagement with domestic and international stakeholders. 30 International Framework: Good Governance in the Public Sector (IFAC, CIFPA 2014) 61

68 Appendices Appendix 2 Overview of Compliance Framework Annual Governance Events Cycle January -PMDS Goal Setting -Statements of Interests to DJE -Evaluation of effectiveness of Management Board Dec -Annual Review of Governance Standard -Compliance Statement to DJE -PMDS annual Reviews -Annual Business Planning process -L&D Review -Management Board Performance Evaluation 31 March -Appropriation Accounts sign off by Accounting Officer and submitted to Comptroller and Auditer General June -Annual Report -PMDS Mid-year reviews -Compliance Statement to DJE -L&D REview April -World Bank submission 62

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