Publication - Guidance

Audit and Assurance committee handbook

Published: 3 Apr 2018
Directorate:
Internal Audit Directorate
Part of:
Public sector
ISBN:
9781788517553

Guidance on the principles and best practise for the organisation of Audit and Assurance committees.

51 page PDF

457.8 kB

51 page PDF

457.8 kB

Contents
Audit and Assurance committee handbook
Annex H: Self-assessment checklist

51 page PDF

457.8 kB

Annex H: Self-assessment checklist

Role and remit

YES/NO/ NA

Comments/Action

Does the committee have written terms of reference?

Do the terms of reference cover the core functions as identified in the SG Audit and Assurance Committee Handbook?

Are the terms of reference approved by the Audit and Assurance Committee and reviewed periodically?

Has the committee been provided with sufficient membership, authority and resources to perform its role effectively and independently?

Does the body's governance statement mention the committee's establishment and its broad purpose?

Does the committee periodically assess its own effectiveness?

Membership, induction and training

YES/NO/ NA

Comments/Action

Has the membership of the committee been formally agreed by the management board and or Accountable Officer and a quorum set?

Are members appointed for a fixed term?

Does at least one of the committee members have a financial background?

Are all members, including the Chair, independent of the Executive function?

Are new committee members provided with an appropriate induction?

Has each member formally declared his or her business interests?

Are members sufficiently independent of the other key committees of the Board?

Has the committee considered the arrangements for assessing the attendance and performance of each member?

Meetings

YES/NO/ NA

Comments/Action

Does the committee meet regularly, at least four times a year?

Do the terms of reference set out the frequency and broad timing of meetings?

Does the committee calendar meet the body's business and governance needs, as well as the requirements of the financial reporting calendar?

Are members attending meetings on a regular basis and if not, is appropriate action taken?

Does the Accountable Officer attend all meetings and, if not, is he/she provided with a record of discussions?

Does the committee have the benefit of attendance of appropriate officials at its meetings, including representatives from internal audit, external audit and finance?

Internal control

YES/NO/ NA

Comments/Action

Does the committee consider the findings of annual reviews by internal audit and others, on the effectiveness of the arrangements for risk management, control and governance?

Does the committee consider the findings of reviews on the effectiveness of the system of internal control?

Does the committee have responsibility for review of the draft governance statement and does it consider it separately from the accounts?

Does the committee consider how accurate and meaningful the governance statement is?

Does the committee satisfy itself that the arrangements for risk management, control and governance have operated effectively throughout the reporting period?

Has the committee considered how it should coordinate with other committees that may have responsibility for risk management and corporate governance?

Has the committee satisfied itself that the body has adopted appropriate arrangements to counter and deal with fraud?

Has the committee been made aware of the role of risk management in the preparation of the internal audit plan?

Does the committee's terms of reference include oversight of the risk management process?

Does the committee consider assurances provided by senior staff?

Does the committee receive and consider stewardship reports from senior staff in key business areas such as Finance, HR and ICT?

Financial reporting and regulatory matters

YES/NO/ NA

Comments/Action

Is the committee's role in the consideration of the annual accounts clearly defined?

Does the committee consider, as appropriate:

  • the suitability of accounting policies and treatments
  • major judgements made
  • large write-offs
  • changes in accounting treatment
  • the reasonableness of accounting estimates
  • the narrative aspects of reporting?

Is an committee meeting scheduled to receive the external auditor's report to those charged with governance including a discussion of proposed adjustments to the accounts and other issues arising from the audit?

Does the committee review management's letter of representation?

Does the committee gain an understanding of management's procedures for preparing the body's annual accounts?

Does the committee have a mechanism to keep it aware of topical legal and regulatory issues?

Internal audit

YES/NO/ NA

Comments/Action

Does the Head of Internal Audit attend meetings of the committee?

Does the committee consider, annually and in detail, the internal audit plan including consideration of whether the scope of internal audit work addresses the body's significant risks?

Does internal audit have a direct reporting line, if required, to the committee?

As well as an annual report from the Head of Internal Audit, does the committee receive progress reports from internal audit?

Are outputs from follow-up audits by internal audit monitored by the committee and does the committee consider the adequacy of implementation of recommendations?

If considered necessary, is the committee chair able to hold private discussions with the Head of Internal Audit?

Is there appropriate co-operation between the internal and external auditors?

Does the committee review the adequacy of internal audit staffing and other resources?

Are internal audit performance measures monitored by the committee?

Has the committee considered the information it wishes to receive from internal audit?

Has the committee considered formal terms of reference defining internal audit's objectives, responsibilities, authority and reporting lines?

External audit

YES/NO/ NA

Comments/Action

Does the external audit representative attend meetings of the committee?

Do the external auditors present and discuss their audit plans and strategy with the committee (recognising the statutory duties of external audit)?

Does the committee chair hold periodic private discussions with the external auditor?

Does the committee review the external auditor's annual report to those charged with governance?

Does the committee ensure that officials are monitoring action taken to implement external audit recommendations?

Are reports on the work of external audit presented to the Audit and Assurance Committee?

Does the committee assess the performance of external audit?

Does the committee consider the external audit fee?

Administration

YES/NO/ NA

Comments/Action

Does the committee have a designated secretariat?

Are agenda papers circulated in advance of meetings to allow adequate preparation by committee members and attendees?

Do reports to the committee communicate relevant information at the right frequency, time, and in a format that is effective?

Does the committee issue guidelines and/or a pro forma concerning the format and content of the papers to be presented?

Are minutes prepared and circulated promptly to the appropriate people, including all members of the Board?

Is a report on matters arising presented or does the Chair raise them at the committee's next meeting?

Do action points indicate who is to perform what and by when?

Does the committee provide an effective annual report on its own activities?

Overall

YES/NO/ NA

Comments/Action

Does the committee effectively contribute to the overall control environment of the organisation?

Are there any areas where the committee could improve upon its current level of effectiveness?

Does the committee seek feedback on its performance from the Board and Accountable Officer?


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