Guidance on Monitoring of the Internal Audit Function by the Central Harmonization Unit

This document has been developed by the IACOP to capture the main findings of the first two meetings of the Central Harmonization Unit (CHU) Challenges Working Group.

The CHU is a unit within central government entity, usually Ministry of Finance, responsible for overseeing an effective public internal control (PIC) system that provides assurance to the government, parliament, and wider public. Its main roles are to develop and oversee policies on internal control (IC) and internal audit (IA) and to establish the necessary legal and methodological frameworks and monitor their implementation, updating as necessary. Regular reporting should present the key PIC data and identify any areas of concern.

CHU monitoring is a core and essential role of the CHU with two distinct perspectives: compliance with standards/regulations/methodology and quality/added value. Monitoring provides the basis for determining how well IA is functioning in the public sector and the results should be reported annually to the government.

Monitoring activities typically evolve in three stages. During an initial (creation) stage the CHU focuses on establishing the audit infrastructure and the legal framework. During a second (development) stage the CHU supports IA units with actions to improve capacity and skills. In a third (refinement) stage, the CHU focus is on continuous improvement and impact.

CHU monitoring should ideally include all decentralized IA units in central government and at the sub-national level (although the latter may be limited to sample monitoring due to capacity constraints). The two main approaches used are annual questionnaires/surveys of IA unit heads to collect and analyze data and periodic (every 3 to 5 years) on the spot reviews.