NI Civil Service must review Audit procedures

This blog post clearly did not convey the intended message with anything like sufficient clarity, so I will simply let the two comments below stand (as they do a much better job of making the point I was trying to make!)

There is no reason anyone would have been negatively affected by it, but sincere apologies for any misunderstanding, the responsibility for which (as ever in my publications) is entirely mine. 

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5 thoughts on “NI Civil Service must review Audit procedures

  1. will Haire says:

    Ian, I think you might want to check this out. I am not sure you are absolutely right about the career structure of the NIAO.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. martyntodd says:

    In my experience most auditing in the NI civil service is carried out by people below Grade 7 (Principal Officer in old money) on systems that are being managed by people of Grade 7 and below. There is negligible conflict of interest here as the people being audited will almost never have a say in the future career prospects of the auditor. I believe the auditing works well at this level and genuinely improves the overall governance of systems and people in the middle ranks of the civil service.

    The problems arise (both in perception and reality) where an overall government department or a non-departmental public body or agency is being audited. In this case the accounting officer’s reputation is on the line and the auditor knows that their future promotion prospects could depend on this accounting officer (either a Permanent Secretary or the next level down). If, in the case of a serious failure or weakness, the Permanent Secretary fights back hard, refusing to accept the draft audit recommendations, it can and does happen that the report is watered down before it is accepted by the accounting officer.

    My suggestion would be that all audits of NI Government Departments and NDPBs would be carried out by auditors from the administrations of Scotland or Wales.

  3. excellent research as usual conflict of interest is at the heart of the problem NI audit office should be seperate from civil service.

  4. Anonymous says:

    NI Audit Office are independent & their staff aren’t impacted by the damage to an accounting officer’s reputation.
    Internal audit reports aren’t published externally and are for internal monitoring purposes so wouldn’t impact the reputation & as a result have little, if any, conflict?

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