Earlier this year Auckland Council commissioned PwC to carry out a piece of work on the conflict of interest policies and processes of Eke Panuku Development Auckland, with a focus on board practices.
“We asked PwC to report back to us on whether the policies and controls currently being used are fit for purpose and whether there was any evidence of direct conflicts of interest and individual benefits," says Emma Burke, General Manager Risk and Assurance.
“We have now received PwC’s report and are currently reviewing its findings.
“Importantly, an initial summary of the findings and look over the report shows PWC found no clear evidence of unmitigated conflicts of interest, or individual benefits arising from a conflict of interest.
“Significantly, it highlights ways to make controls more robust, as well as ensuring the right balance of professional expertise (on the board) is achieved.
“We welcome the report’s findings and look forward to implementing the recommendations,” says Ms Burke.
The report identified the following key points:
- No clear evidence of unmitigated conflicts, lack of integrity or direct personal benefit arising from conflicts of interest.
- The controls to identify and manage conflicts of interest can be made more robust to safeguard the interests of Eke Panuku and protect the board and staff.
- Eke Panuku and the council should consider the board appointment settings to ensure there is an appropriate balance between the necessary commercial expertise, while ensuring public trust. (It proposed ways to achieve this and identified where management controls are not solely sufficient to mitigate conflicts of interest risks.)
- Training and guidance can be improved to support effective management of conflicts of interest.
Once council officers have reviewed PwC’s report it will be reported, and recommendations will be made, to the Audit and Risk and Performance and Appointments committees. Until then, we have nothing further to add.
Read a full copy of the report here: Eke Panuku – Conflicts of Interest Controls Assessment.