Council appoints nationally recognised Independent Audit Committee chair

A nationally recognised governance and audit expert has been appointed as the first Independent Chair of Westmorland and Furness Council’s Audit Committee.

Fiona Daley has been selected for the role from a wide field after an open recruitment process.

Mrs Daley is a CIPFA qualified accountant who is currently Chair of the Northwest Region Police Pension Board and a member of the Social Mobility Commission’s Oversight and Risk Board. She was formerly chair of Cumbria Police Audit Committee.

In her new role she will provide oversight on the authority’s internal control and governance as it delivers on its Council Plan priorities.

The appointment was confirmed at this week’s Annual Council Meeting. A report to the meeting said Mrs Daley had significant relevant knowledge, and expertise and experience in advising and training audit committees on their roles and responsibilities.

It added she would bring a ‘fair and balanced challenge and support to both members and officers’.

Director of Resources Pam Duke said: “Fiona is very experienced both as an independent chair and as a subject matter expert and has national recognition. All of this will strengthen our governance and assurance framework and is a really positive step for the council.”

Mrs Daley, who runs a farm in Westmorland and Furness with her husband, said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as Westmorland and Furness Council’s first Independent Chair of the Audit Committee. 

“Westmorland and Furness Council are at the forefront of current recommended best practice in establishing this role. 

“I believe passionately in the importance of good governance in local government and the role that the Audit Committee can play in ensuring sound decision-making and effective financial control. My aim will be to help the Audit Committee ensure that there is appropriate oversight of systems and processes within the council.”

Mrs Daley becomes a co-opted member of the council for four years. The Independent Chair does not have voting rights.

At the council’s first AGM in 2023, Councillor Andy Coles was appointed Chair of the Audit Committee for one year until the appointment of an Independent Chair.

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