Internal audit service

Explains what the internal audit is, who audits the auditors and how the audit commission and internal audit differ.

What is internal audit and what does it do?

Internal audit is an objective assurance function, and its primary objective is to:

  • provide an independent and objective opinion to the council on the control environment comprising risk management, control, and governance by evaluating its effectiveness in achieving the councils' key priorities.

In addition, internal audit will:

  • contribute to the management aim of a well-managed authority and support the achievement of the councils' key priorities by recommending improvements in control, performance, and productivity
  • support the Head of Finance in the discharge of their statutory duties as the Chief Finance Officer
  • lead investigations in allegations of fraud, corruption, and irregularity in accordance with financial procedure rules, the counter-fraud policy, and the fraud response plan
  • and provide advice and support to ensure sound systems of control throughout the council.

Internal audit is provided by SWAP Internal Audit Services. Please visit the SWAP website for full details on the service:

SWAP (external website)

Who audits the auditors?

The effectiveness of the internal audit function is reviewed internally each year and reported to the audit committee alongside the annual accounts and the annual governance statement.

The council's external auditor places reliance on internal audit work to support their coverage in review and approval of the council's accounts.

You can view the latest annual audit letters below:

Annual audit letter 2017-18 (pdf 390kb)

Annual audit letter 2016-17 (pdf 226kb)

Annual audit letter 2015-16 (pdf 186kb)

Annual audit letter 2014-15 (pdf 203kb)

Annual audit letter 2013-14 (pdf 459kb)

Annual audit letter 2012-13 (pdf 625kb)

Annual audit letter 2011-12 (pdf 20kb)

Annual audit letter 2010-11 (pdf 425kb)

Annual audit letter 2009-10 (pdf 249kb)

How do the external auditors and internal audit differ?

External audit

The principal role of the external auditor is to verify that the statutory accounts of the council are accurate, legal and corporate governance arrangements are adequate, grants received from central government have been spent properly and that the councils' performance in delivering local services is effective.

Internal audit

Internal audit also has its basis in statute. It is a service created alongside but operated independently of the other services and resources deployed by the council. Internal audit looks at the key risks facing the council and evaluates what is being done to manage those risks effectively. This requires a high degree of independence of the services under review and this is preserved by the reporting structure internal audit has within the council. Internal and external audit work closely and regularly undertaken audits jointly in order to ensure that resources are managed effectively.

You can download the internal audit terms of reference document below:

Internal Audit Terms of Reference (pdf 114kb)

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