Liverpool City Council has appointed two independent advisers to strengthen the scrutiny of its auditing and governance procedures.
As part of the response to the recent Best Value Inspection, the local authority has secured the services of two people with top-level experience in auditing and finance to sit on the Audit Committee as co-opted independent technical advisers.
The Committee provides an independent and high-level focus on the council’s audit, assurance and reporting arrangements.
It also reviews of the council’s governance, risk management and control frameworks, and oversees the financial reporting and annual governance processes and develops, maintains and monitors the codes of conduct for councillors and co-opted members.
Stephen Gregory graduated in Economics from the University of Liverpool and later attended Harvard Business School. He was a partner at Ernst & Young from 1995 until 2016 and led the financial services risk practice across Europe for eight years.
Ramone Johnson is a civil engineer by trade and previously worked for Arup as a senior project manager on schemes including the remediation of Liverpool Festival Gardens and the Manchester Clean Air Zone. He is currently a senior consultant and project manager at a global built environment consultancy firm.
The independent advisers will receive expenses but no allowance or remuneration.
Councillor Kris Brown, Chair of the Audit Committee, said: “These roles are a key part of making the council’s scrutiny procedures as strong as they possibly can be and I am delighted with the quality of the appointments we have made.
“We want the members of the Audit Committee to be getting the best possible advice, enriching their ability to scrutinise the organisation, and Stephen and Ramone will help us do that.
“They bring additional knowledge and expertise, reinforcing the committee’s political neutrality and independence.
“Providing constructive challenge, as part of the committee, supports the council’s ambition for open and transparent government in the wake of the recent Best Value Inspection.”
Stephen Gregory said: “I’ve spent my career advising large firms on corporate governance and business assurance and I feel that I’ve helped them improve their processes significantly.
“I’ve worked with audit committees and risk committees and I want to be able to do the same for the Council.”
Ramone Johnson said: “I applied for this role to further help Liverpool City Council with navigating through a tricky situation.
“I understand that at its core that it is a very good organisation and, by joining the committee, I hope to get it back on course.”