NERC Assurance Board


NERC Assurance Board terms of reference


The purpose of the NERC Assurance Board (NAB) is to provide assurance and challenge to the Executive Chair that NERC: :

  • is not exposed to unacceptable or currently unidentified risk
  • is operating in line with its legal obligations
  • is operating in line with obligations which flow from Managing Public Money
  • is operating within its delegated powers
  • is financially stable, in effect able to meet its obligations over time, within the resources available, or likely to be available
  • has in place proper processes of allocation and evaluation for all funding streams
  • has a satisfactory internal control framework
  • is able to meet any other assurance requirements of either the Executive Chair or UKRI

It will also provide UKRI with assurance that NERC has robust assurance processes and procedures that they can rely on.


Given the purpose, the scope covers the entire remit of NERC activities.

The scope includes review and challenge of:

  • NERC assurance returns to UKRI
  • Head Office assurance reports;
  • NERC research centres assurance reports
  • NERC’s top risk register, risk management arrangements, reputational risk management and risk and associated control environment
  • quarterly health and safety reporting to UKRI
  • UKRI internal audit reports impacting NERC and centres
  • UKRI funding assurance reports in relation to NERC research centres
  • NERC’s capital project delivery assurance returns to UKRI
  • NERC’s staff survey and people action plan
  • oversight of implementation on NERC’s responsibility framework (including sustainability)
  • deep dive reviews as identified by NAB

The board will receive feedback from the workings of the NERC-Centre Strategic Relationship and Assurance Meetings (SRAMs), Head Office assurance arrangements and from the board observers. The structure and the content of the feedback will be agreed with the Chair and will include a summary of outcomes and conclusions.

Membership and ways of working

The NAB will be chaired by the NERC Council Senior Independent Member (SIM).

Membership will comprise of the Chair and NERC’s non-executive directors.

The NERC Executive Chair and the NERC Corporate Directors will attend.  Additional NERC officers will be invited to attend as required.

NAB meetings will be held at least bi-annually and will take place after the SRAMs and Head Office Assurance meetings.

A minimum of two members will be present for the meeting to be deemed quorate.

Conflicts of interest will be declared, according to NERC practice, although the nature of NAB business is unlikely to require members to leave the room.

All decisions and recommendations made by the board should consider the commitments outlined in the UKRI environmental sustainability strategy and NERC responsible business statement.

NAB will report via the Chair to NERC Council.

NAB will be subject to an effectiveness review on a regular basis.

NAB will be supported by a secretariat.

Papers will be circulated one week before the meeting.

The NAB Chair will be responsible for agreeing the agendas and minutes of the meeting.

Last updated: 5 March 2024

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