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Practice Guide: Unique Aspects of Internal Auditing in the Public Sector

Based on professional guidance from the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing and practical insights from global internal audit professionals, this new guidance helps CAEs and internal auditors navigate the unique aspects of internal auditing in a public sector context. The guide describes the characteristics that distinguish public sector organizations from those in the private sector and explores how those unique aspects affect the internal audit activity, from establishing the internal audit charter and plan to performing engagements and reporting the results. The guide aims to close the gap in guidance specific to internal auditing in the public sector, supporting the education and training of internal auditors who work in the sector. Additionally, the guide will help internal auditors and consultants that have worked primarily in the private sector to understand the public sector operating context so they are better able to add value and avoid missteps.

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Public sector organizations are expected to serve the public good, uphold the principles of ethical governance, and comply with myriad laws and regulations. Yet the nature of politics may put pressure on, or conflict with, ethical governance principles.

The guidance explains how the internal audit activity may be affected by the purpose and governance structures of public sector organizations as well as the legal and regulatory compliance and public scrutiny and accountability to which those organizations are subject.

Topics include:

  • Understanding the definition of public sector and the types of public sector organizations.

  • Recognizing public sector governance roles and how they may affect internal audit principles such as organizational independence and unrestricted access.

  • Incorporating any additional standards specific to the public sector.

  • Assessing the organization’s commitment to ethical governance principles.

  • Identifying the types of engagements performed in the public sector and how to plan them.

Item Number: 10.1320.dl

Public sector organizations are expected to serve the public good, uphold the principles of ethical governance, and comply with myriad laws and regulations. Yet the nature of politics may put pressure on, or conflict with, ethical governance principles.

The guidance explains how the internal audit activity may be affected by the purpose and governance structures of public sector organizations as well as the legal and regulatory compliance and public scrutiny and accountability to which those organizations are subject.

Topics include:

  • Understanding the definition of public sector and the types of public sector organizations.

  • Recognizing public sector governance roles and how they may affect internal audit principles such as organizational independence and unrestricted access.

  • Incorporating any additional standards specific to the public sector.

  • Assessing the organization’s commitment to ethical governance principles.

  • Identifying the types of engagements performed in the public sector and how to plan them.

Item Number: 10.1320.dl