My Department has an Internal Audit function which is guided by the Institute of Internal Auditors’ Standards which the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform determined, in November 2012, should apply across all Departments and other Vote Holders. These Standards require that a quality assurance and improvement programme be developed for the function which involves both periodic internal assessments and external assessments being carried out every five years.
Guidance provided by the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform on meeting this particular requirement suggested that these assessments be undertaken in 2017. My Department's Internal Audit Unit, accordingly, completed an internal quality assurance assessment last year which concluded that it was operating in general conformance with the Standards. The assessment also suggested certain actions that could further strengthen compliance with the Standards and service delivery generally. The Unit is currently implementing these recommendations and plans to undertake an external quality assurance assessment later this year when the lessons learned from the internal assessment have been applied. This approach, which has been agreed with my Department’s Audit Committee, will ensure that optimal value is gained from the external review and that the Unit is positioned to continue to provide its invaluable service to the highest possible standards.