Status of the Commissioner (COSICA)
COSICA is a Non-Departmental Public Body established by the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Act 2019. This means that the Commissioner has freedom to determine their own priorities and activities, and should be subject to as few constraints as possible in deciding how to carry out their business within their statutory remit as set out in the Act.
COSICA is a legal entity in its own right, employing its own staff and operating ‘at arm’s-length’ from the sponsor Department, the Executive Office (TEO).
COSICA has an established Corporate Governance Framework which includes proportionate internal control and risk management arrangements. An account of this will be included in COSICA’s annual Governance Statement, together with the Commissioner’s assessment of compliance with the Corporate Governance Code of Good Practice (NI), available on the Department of Finance’s website. Any departure from the Corporate Governance Code must be explained in the Governance Statement.
COSICA is required to follow the principles, rules, guidance and advice in ‘Managing Public Money Northern Ireland’. Good governance includes positive stakeholder engagement, the building of positive relationships and a listening and learning culture.
The Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Act 2019 requires the Northern Ireland First Minister and deputy First Minister every five years, to commission an independent review the operation of COSICA, and to report on the findings of this review. The review can be commissioned at any time other than this. The report must include an assessment of the need for a Commissioner and the First Minister and deputy First Minister will jointly make a decision on whether the office of Commissioner should continue.