Chapter 1: Good Practice Principles for Audit and Assurance Committees
Principle 1: Membership, independence, objectivity and understanding
The committee should be independent and objective; in addition, each member should have a good understanding of the objectives and priorities of the organisation and of their role as a committee member.
Principle 2: Skills
The committee should corporately own an appropriate skills mix to allow it to carry out its overall function.
Principle 3: Role and Scope
The committee should support the Accountable Officer and Board by reviewing the comprehensiveness and reliability of assurances on governance, risk management, the control environment and the integrity of financial statements and the annual report.
The scope of the committee's work should be defined in its terms of reference and should encompass all the assurance needs of the Accountable Officer and Board. Within this, the committee should have particular engagement with the work of Internal Audit, risk management, the External Auditor, and financial management and reporting issues.
Principle 4: Communication and Reporting
The committee should ensure that it has effective communication with all key stakeholders, for example, the Board, the Head of Internal Audit, the External Auditor and other relevant assurance providers e.g. Risk Manager. In addition, the role of the Chair and provision of appropriate secretariat support are important elements in achieving committee effectiveness. Good practice guidance on these roles is provided, respectively, in Annex A and Annex B.
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