Audit Panel Remit

REMIT FOR AUDIT PANEL
Ian D Pearce Posted on the website 20 May 2009

1 What’s the purpose of the Audit Panel?

The past work of the group has shown that its strengths lie in the ability of its members to work cooperatively, and to choose and pursue tasks that suit their interests, abilities and experience. Progress and coordination has been managed by a short weekly meeting of all participants, rather than having a formal project management system. This lack of formality has been popular, and its effectiveness has been demonstrated by the group’s ability to produce and sell the book Roseberry Topping.

If there is a snag with the informal approach, it is that the group’s energies can easily be diverted from agreed project objectives. This has not been a problem with the two LHI-funded projects, where the agreed outputs represented only a relatively small part of the group’s work over the five year period to date. The proposed project on the development of Great Ayton is a much larger undertaking. With a number of individuals and small teams working semi-autonomously on specific topics, it is felt that some more formality will be needed to ensure the objectives are achieved within agreed costs and dates. This should be compatible with the existing ethos and methods of working of the group.

Accordingly we propose appointing an independent Audit Panel to check progress against the project objectives in terms of content, cost, and time.

2 Who will be on the Audit Panel?

The Panel should have two or, at most, three members. Collectively the Panel’s members should have experience of managing projects and assessing progress, and of historical research and dissemination of results. The officers of the group will consider approaching individuals that fit these criteria, and discuss with them their views on the auditing process and their interest in accepting this role.

Members of Audit Panel:
Barry Hallam JP, Great Broughton, Chairman
Linda Polley, Teesside University History Dpartment
Shirley Hetherington, Great Ayton

3 What will the audit process be?

Auditing will be against the criteria laid down in the project definition agreed with the Heritage Lottery Fund. During the course of the project, the Audit Panel will monitor progress twice yearly. The group’s secretary will, after consultation with all those involved in the project research, produce a brief progress report at six-monthly intervals. This will summarise work done, progress towards agreed outputs and project timetable, and costs compared with budget. This report will be sent to members of the Audit Panel in advance of a meeting with the project management team. This report will include:

3.1 A review of developing research work, topic by topic, with a summary of results and conclusions as the work progresses.

3.2 Identification of any additional topics that have arisen. As the project develops some new lines of enquiry and topics of relevance will open up. This is quite permissible provided the achievement of the original objectives are not jeopardised in any way (see additional comments below).

3.3 Overall project progress against the timetable included in the project submission.

3.4 Progress towards the specific outputs agreed with the Heritage Lottery Fund.

3.5 Expenditure against budget. This will include the record of volunteers’ time spent on the project.

3.6 Review of progress on digital recording.

3.7 An opportunity to interview people involved in the project.

If the group finds that the project, as originally defined, is not achieving results, or of significant but as yet unknown information comes to light, the project definition may need revision. Any such change would be fully discussed with the Audit Panel before being submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Audit Panel will not be asked to act as a peer review on any work to be published, but will be given the opportunity to see any such material and to comment on its effectiveness in meeting the projects aims.

4 How much time will this take?

We expect that there will be seven of the six-monthly meetings over the life of the project. Providing that a suitable reporting format is established, each meeting should take approximately half a day. Meetings will be held at Great Ayton.

5 Reimbursement of Audit Panel members

Audit panel members have kindly agreed to give their services free of charge.

Robert deWardt and Ian Pearce
Last revised 20 May 2009

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