Audit and Risk Committee

​​The Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) was established in August 2003 to assist the secretary of the Department in fulfilling their oversight and governance responsibilities an​d obligations under the Financial Management Act 1994.

Overview​​

The standing directions of the Minister for Finance under the Financial Management Act 1994 (section 3.2) requires 'each public sector agency to appoint an audit committee to oversee and advise the public sector agency on matters of accountability and internal control affecting the operations of the agency'.

Unlike other executive committees, ARC is responsible directly to the secretary, to oversee and provide advice on governance, risk management, audit and control assurance activities.

The current ARC includes four independent members and two internal members (departmental executives). In addition to committee members, the chief finance officer and chief audit executive attend all committee meetings.

For further information, see:​

Audit and Risk Committee members

​​The committee comprises four independent members and two internal members.

Independent members

Helen Thornton - Chair

Helen Thornton

Appointed: 1 March 2017
Current term concludes: 31 December 2023

Helen Thornton is an experienced non-executive director and is currently on the boards of Treasury Corporation Victoria, ISPT Pty Ltd, Ansvar Insurance Pty Ltd, Yarra Valley Water, Austin Health and Legal Practitioners Liability Committee.

Helen is also the independent Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee for the Department of Health.

She is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in finance, risk management, governance and both internal and external auditing. Helen was the Vice President Risk Management at BlueScope Steel Ltd and has held senior positions at BHP Billiton Ltd, KPMG and Deloitte.

Helen is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Economics (Monash)
  • Chartered Accountant (CA) – Institute of Chartered Accountants (Australia)
  • Graduate - Australian Institute of Company Directors

Stuart Alford, Deputy Chair

Stuart Alford

Appointed: 9 July 2015
Current term concludes: 31 July 2021

Stuart Alford is a non-executive director with extensive board, governance and risk management experience. His past and present roles include significant experience as an independent member of public sector audit committees in Commonwealth and Victorian State environments. He has also had a long career in professional practice with Ernst & Young, including 27 years as a partner. 

Stuart currently serves on the boards of Eastern Health Foundation, and AMES Australia (Adult Multicultural Education Services). He also has audit, risk and finance committee roles with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, the Office of the Australian Accounting Standards Board and the Office of the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. Stuart is also the independent chair of the Network Audit Review Panel for Pitcher Partners. 

Stuart is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and an Associate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Economics (Hons)
  • Monash University
  • FCA, MAICD

Andrew Nicolaou

Anrew NicolaouAppointed: 1 January 2020
Current term concludes: 31 December 2022

Andrew is an experienced non-executive director with extensive skills and expertise in assurance, risk management, governance, financial management and performance consulting. He has had 38 years in professional practice with PwC including 24 years as a Partner. In that time, his role included leading PricewaterhouseCoopers Government Practice in Victoria, interacting with senior executives, Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentarians and boards. 

Andrew currently serves as Chair of audit, risk, and governance committees for the Department of Transport, Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water, Fire Rescue Victoria, and the Victorian Parliament. Andrew is a Director and Audit Committee member of the Victorian Funds Management Corporation. 

Andrew specialised in advising financial institutions in banking, insurance, funds management and treasury in both the private and government sectors. Andrew is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Economics - Monash
  • Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA) - Institute of Chartered Accountants (Australia)
  • Graduate - Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Fellow Institute of Public Administration Australia (FIPAA)

Natalie Foeng

Natalie FoengAppointed: 1 June 2021
Current term concludes: 31 May 2024

Natalie Foeng has diverse and extensive experience across professional services, ASX listed entities, finance, risk, governance and the public sector. Her current and previous senior executive roles have been in corporate finance, global shared services, supply chain and enterprise risk.

Natalie is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Yarra Valley Water. She brings to the Committee, best practice financial oversight, strategy and risk management, audit and assurance, corporate governance, and business improvement. Her extensive career includes professional services at Telstra Corporation Limited, Pacific Brands Limited and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Natalie is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Australia and New Zealand) and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

Education:

  • Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) – (University of Adelaide)
  • Chartered Accountant (Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand)
  • Graduate - Australian Institute of Company Directors

Executive members

Kate Rattigan, Deputy Secretary, People and Executive Services

Appointed: 8 December 2015
Current term concludes: 31 December 2021

Kate Rattigan is the Deputy Secretary of the People and Executive Services group which directly supports the Department's central offices, regional offices and all government schools. This includes providing services and advice in the areas of human resources, people and culture, communications and media, legal, parliamentary and ministerial support, operational policy reform, school engagement and compliance, occupational health and safety, integrity reform and audit.

Kate is currently the Chairperson of the Department's Procurement and Probity Committee and is the Department's representative on the Public Sector Administration Committee, the Public Sector OHS Interdepartmental Committee, the Sexual Harassment Interdepartmental Committee, the Deputy Secretary Disability Champion Round Tables, the Disability Royal Commission Interdepartmental Committee and the Northern Metropolitan Partnerships.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Laws (Honours) / Bachelor of Arts – University of Melbourne
  • Masters in Employment and Labour Relations Law – University of Melbourne

Chris Thompson, Regional Director, South Western Victoria Region

Appointed: 1 March 2020
Current term concludes: 28 February 2023

Chris Thompson commenced as Regional Director of the South Western Victoria Region of the Department of Education and Training in June 2021. The South Western Victoria Region stretches from the Melbourne CBD, through the western suburbs of metropolitan Melbourne to the regional centres of Ballarat, Geelong, Warrnambool and Horsham to the South Australian border.  The Region is responsible for approximately 450 schools and 700 early childhood services.

Prior to his current role, Chris was the Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Schools and Regional Services Group in the Department of Education and Training. The position was responsible for supporting the strategy and operations of Victoria's government school system – including the Department's four regions – and security and emergency management.  Chris led the Department's COVID response from January 2020 to June 2021.

Chris has previously held executive roles in the Department's North-Western Victoria Region, and the Department's central office, including roles responsible for education policy relating to languages, sport and multicultural, Koorie and rural students. Chris has previously worked in the Victorian Departments of Premier and Cabinet, Planning and Community Development and Human Services.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours)/Bachelor of Laws – Monash University
  • Executive Master of Public Administration – University of Melbourne/Australia and New Zealand School of Government