As part of a major audit and consulting firm’s services offering, we have supported a number of internal audit teams – including from DWP, DfES and the University of Central Lancashire – to understand and refine the audit environment and sources of assurance in their own organisation and those suppliers and recipients of funding from whom they were responsible for obtaining assurance on behalf of their Accountable Officer.
We do this through an innovative approach we invented and which we own called “Assurance Mapping”. This uses a web-based visual analysis tool to create a database of all sources of assurance and then map the interlinkages between them – across the entirety of the audit chain from Permanent Secretary or Vice Chancellor, through senior management and high-level Audit, Finance and Governance Committees, to ground level service deliverers or sites of operation.
This approach enables the auditors and Board to
- identify gaps or weaknesses in the end-to-end assurance chain and
- demonstrate to external auditors, regulators and stakeholders the extent of their understanding, complete with analysis and prima facie evidence.
In doing so, it also allows senior management in these organisations to identify weaknesses in their service delivery and performance, which can then be addressed through their Improvement Plans.
Our work also enables the audit teams to provide maximum confidence to Audit Committees and the Accounting Officer in approving the Annual Statement of Internal Control.
We also supported the National Audit Office through an exercise to design an Integrated Audit approach to managing the portfolio of external audit work carried out for Government Departments across a number of NAO disciplines, including audit, assurance, internal control and risk management.