Magazine article Public Finance

Healthy Auditing

Magazine article Public Finance

Healthy Auditing

Article excerpt

Public sector organisations can feel like they are being over assured. Having your performance reviewed sometimes several times and from multiple perspectives can be fatiguing. Yet it is vital that key internal and external stakeholders have some sense of how an organisation is doing and what needs to change.

Squaring the circle of assurance is something South West Audit Partnership, a shared service that has been operating across Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset for the past 12 years, has managed successfully. The organisation scooped the innovation in internal audit prize at this year's Public Finance Innovation Awards for its Healthy Organisation model.

This is something Swap describes as a "health check rather than a heart check". Structured around eight themes, from financial management to corporate governance to commissioning and procurement, the model provides council audit committees with a clear view of assurance arrangements and the health of corporate processes, with each areas given a red, amber or green rating.

It also informs annual audit planning by highlighting the areas exposed to greatest risk and therefore in need of greater assurance from the internal audit function.

Successful implementation for the healthy organisation model required buy-in from senior management and support from the audit committee. To raise awareness among members and officers, a series of training sessions were held to introduce them to the concept and "sell" the idea of doing more for less - introducing more assurance while tackling the problem of assurance fatigue. …

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