Internal Audit is primarily an assurance function. Its purpose is to provide an independent and objective opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of the whole system of internal control that contributes to the achievement of the Council's business objectives. This includes controls established to manage working arrangements with partners or third parties.
In this context, the system of internal control includes the Council's governance framework which is described in the Local Code of Governance as:
- the principles and values by which the Council operates
- the key strategic business management process it applies in order to enable it to deliver the services required by its local community.
In discharging this role, the Local Code of Governance requires the Head of Internal Audit to produce a Terms of Reference and an Annual Strategy, which outlines how the service will be delivered. In producing the risk based Audit Plan which forms part of the Strategy, account should be taken of the Council's risk management and performance management arrangements and other sources of assurance available.
Internal Audit is required to do sufficient, evidenced work to form a supportable conclusion on each activity reviewed. The main findings and conclusions from this work should be summarised as should any specific concerns the Head of Internal Audit has. The aim of every audit report should be to give an opinion on the risk and controls of the area under review.
Internal Audit supports management by recommending improvements to the system of internal control that help protect the business and its assets and assists in the efficient and effective use of resources. In doing this, Internal Audit supports the delivery of all of the Council's aims and priorities.
The Head of Internal Audit is then required to produce an annual report that gives an opinion on the adequacy and effectiveness of the system of internal control for the year. The annual opinion is based on the cumulative impact of the work done on the Council's ability to deliver its key objectives.