Resource Subcommittee terms of reference

1. Constitution

The sub-committee shall be a committee of the Council of Assembly established by the Council.

2. Objectives

The primary objective of the sub-committee is to assist the Council of Assembly in discharging its responsibilities relative to financial management and reporting, stewardship of the Church’s resources, and risk management.

The secondary objective of the sub-committee is to advise the Assembly Executive Secretary (AES) in the implementation of Council policy, to review policy proposals from the AES or from task groups the Council or the AES have appointed, and to assist in implementation when it feels appropriate on invitation by the AES.

3. Membership

Members of the sub-committee shall comprise members appointed by the Council on the recommendation of the Nominating Committee.

Members shall be appointed because of their knowledge and governance skill relating to the responsibilities, with consideration being given to a breadth of perspective. Normally members shall be within reasonable driving distance of the location designated for the sub-committee. Up to two members may be appointed from beyond the region.

The number of members of the sub-committee shall be not less than six and not more than eight.

The Council shall appoint a sub-committee convener and a deputy convener to serve for two years.

The term of membership shall be two years after which members may be reappointed for further terms, total service not to exceed six years.

A representative of the Church Property Trustees, the Assembly Executive Secretary and Finance Manager shall be associates.

4. Administration and meetings

The sub-committee shall appoint a secretary.

A quorum of members shall be four.

As well as members and associates, the sub-committee may have in attendance and/or consult such members of the Service Team (in agreement with the AES) and such other persons, as it considers necessary.

Reasonable notice of meetings and the business to be conducted shall be given to the members of the sub-committee, all other members of the Council (not the agenda papers), the Finance Manager, and the Assembly Executive Secretary.

Meetings shall be held not less than four times a year having regard to the Council’s meeting times and the financial reporting cycle.

Minutes of the meetings shall be kept.

5. Responsibilities

The sub-committee shall:

a. Advise Council of Assembly regarding Assembly financial management and information, risk management, and use of resources and report to the Council of Assembly. This responsibility includes:

  • Strategic overview of Assembly income and expenditure, use of property and other resources;
  • Oversight of financial management capability;
  • Oversight of management of Assembly property and investments;
  • Assessment of the performance of financial management;
  • Review of interim financial information;
  • Review of Assembly accounts and audit;
  • Consider and advise Council of Assembly regarding Assembly budget;
  • Regularly review form of collection of Assembly income;
  • Review of accounting policies;
  • Oversight of compliance with Book of Order and statutory responsibilities (including Charities Act and Financial Reporting Act) financial and other requirements;
  • Assessment of internal and external reporting with recommendations to Council of Assembly;

In relation to risk management:

  • Monitor implementation of Assembly risk assessment policies;

Note: The Council of Assembly and the Church Property Trustees have a joint audit committee to which the sub-committee may further delegate functions. Council representation on the Audit Committee shall be appointed by the Resource sub-committee and shall report to it and the Council.

b. Advise the Assembly Executive Secretary regarding financial management and information, risk management, and use of resources at its own instigation or at the request of the AES. In the event of the AES declining to take advice the matter may be referred to the Council of Assembly..

c. Consider policy advice referred by the Assembly Executive Secretary or any Task Groups she/he appoints in the sub-committee’s area of responsibility and advise AES and/or Council as appropriate regarding proposals, and as appropriate recommend any policy or policy change to the Council.

d. Assist the Assembly Executive Secretary in implementing Council and/or AES decisions at the invitation of the AES and as it considers appropriate.

e. Make decisions on behalf of the Council of Assembly where there are specific delegations to the sub-committee, and report to the Council. These include:

The sub-committee shall

  • have unlimited discretion to write off parish unpaid Assembly levies in circumstances where a parish in unable to pay the amount outstanding, taking into account the current and likely level of parish asset and liabilities
  • otherwise have authority to write off up to $10,000 of parish and non-parish unpaid assembly levies
  • report to Council any unpaid assembly levies written-off in excess of $5,000.

The sub-committee shall have

  • unlimited discretion to vary parish Assembly Assessment in circumstances where anomalies arise in the interpretation of what is assessable income for any parish or where the burden of payment is excessive because of externally imposed expenditure commitments.
  • unlimited discretion to vary parish Assembly Assessment where the variation is part of a presbytery initiative that is revenue neutral for assembly assessment when taking the presbytery as a whole.
  • unlimited discretion to defer payment to a particular date in circumstances where the parish is unable to pay currently, and where the Resource sub-committee believes payment is likely to be received at the deferred date.
  • unlimited discretion to vary the terms of payment to provide incentives to improve cash flow.

The sub-committee shall have

  • within the limits of the total level of expenditure approved by Council discretion to authorise any substantial reallocation of expenditure, if recommended by the AES, and provided the expenditures are to meet the overall purposes of the budget
  • authorise increased expenditure in excess of the total expenditure level approved by Council, if recommended by the AES, and where revenues have been projected to exceed budget estimates.

f. Communicate with the wider Church and other appropriate bodies on behalf of and as requested by the Council of Assembly regarding financial management and information.

g. Assist the Council and the Assembly Executive Secretary to assist presbyteries/udcs, sessions/parish councils in stewardship of finance and property resources.

  • Assist Council to promote good stewardship of the Presbyterian Church’s financial and property resources locally and regionally and across the country;
  • Gather information and raise strategic issues for the wider Church about use of parish and presbytery finance and property;
  • Identify criteria and priorities for focussing resources and working with presbyteries in doing so.

h. Report to the Council of Assembly annually, regarding the work of related Groups including the Church Architecture Reference Group, the Presbyterian Foundation, and Book of Order and Judicial Reference Group.

6. Service Team

The AES and the Finance Manager shall provide reports to the sub-committee in relation to its responsibilities.

The AES and the Finance Manager and other staff are responsible to the Council. The AES shall determine priorities as between the sub-committee’s requirements and other activities, under the general oversight of the Council of Assembly.

7. Authority

The sub-committeee is authorised by Council to obtain outside professional advice and to arrange for the attendance at meetings of outside parties with relevant experience and expertise if it considers this necessary, within budget.

8. Review of the Sub-committee and the terms of reference

The Sub-committee shall undertake an annual self-review of its objectives, outcomes, responsibilities and of its terms of reference. Such objectives, responsibilities, oiutcomes, and terms of reference shall also be reviewed by the Council as appropriate.

9. Reporting Procedures

The sub-committee shall maintain direct lines of communication with the AES, the Finance Manager, and the Church Property Trustees.

The AES and the Finance Manager shall be responsible for drawing to the sub-committee’s immediate attention any material matter that relates to the financial position of the Church, any material breakdown in internal controls, and any material event of fraud.

After each sub-committee meeting the convener shall report the sub-committee’s work, findings, and recommendations to the Council. The provision of minutes may be sufficient to meet this requirement, at the judgement of the sub-committee convener.

The minutes of all sub-committee meetings shall be circulated to members of the Council, the AES, the Finance Manager and to such other persons as the Council directs.

The convener shall present a report to each general Council meeting summarising the sub-committee’s activities during the preceding period and any significant results, findings and recommendations.

The Council of Assembly will report to the General Assembly. There will be a sub-report from the sub-committee endorsed by the Council of Assembly.