Podcast: Auditing in local government

Here, Ruth Lowry, Head of Internal Audit for Lancashire County Council explains how auditing in local government differs from other sectors – and even central government. She is joined by Liz Sandwith, our Chief Professional Practices Adviser.

There is a huge breath of activity undertaken by councils, quite literally everything from cradle to grave such as education, highway infrastructure and public health. All of which requires assurance as to how it is being managed; some of which is provided by external regulators such as Ofsted.

Internal audit activities in the public sector are required to provide an annual statement, Lowry says. “It is a tough judgement as to what and how we audit, not least because I personally have to give an overall opinion of the frameworks of governance, risk and internal control, obtaining the evidence to support that opinion is quite tough” she explains.

In a wide-ranging interview, Lowry talks about:

  • Using a risk-based approach
  • Assurance without a defined first and second line
  • Reporting lines
  • Independence of internal audit
  • Resourcing
  • Working within cost-constraints

This podcast will be of interest to audit leaders facing cost challenges as, at the time of recording in 2018, Lowry was dealing with significant cost constraints due to austerity pressures.…