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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria (a) his Department and (b) its public bodies use when deciding whether and when to hold an internal audit; and if he will make a statement.
The Department's internal audit plan, developed in line with government internal audit standards, that outlines all proposed internal audit reviews is designed to align with departmental priorities and key risks. It is a 12-month plan which is revised and refreshed every quarter in line with Audit and Risk Committee meetings and updates to the Department's strategic risk register. This allows for the addition of new work to meet new priorities and emerging risks throughout the course of the year.
The proposed areas and broad timings for the reviews are discussed with the Permanent Secretary, presented to the senior executive team for their input and then subsequently to the Audit and Risk Committee (which then reports to the Department Board) for comment and agreement.
The Department's arm's length bodies maintain similar arrangements, in line with government internal audit standards, to develop a programme of internal audit intended to provide assurance to their board that adequate systems of internal control are in place and operating satisfactorily. Programmes of internal audit are authorised by their Audit and Risk Committee, or equivalent, and will consist of a range of reviews. Some audits will be routine work required to provide assurance to their external auditors, others will be based on risk assessments, typically involving the internal auditors, management and the Audit and Risk Committee, or designed to cover specific risks around fraud and corruption.