What is auditing?

Auditing is the process of checking the way a business or organisation operates. There are two types of auditing: internal audit and external audit.

Internal audit

Internal audits are concerned with assessing:

  • governance - the rules and procedures in place to ensure honesty and efficiency
  • risk management - how the organisation handles risks such as financial risk or new projects
  • internal control systems - what framework or procedures are in place to ensure any risks that are found can be managed.

By assessing these three important points, we can evaluate how healthy our organisation is. Internal auditing highlights how prepared we are to face not only day to day challenges but also external challenges such as a difficult national economy.

Our internal auditors also carry out a consultancy role. This means they can make recommendations or challenges about how things are managed or what processes are in place.

Who does an internal audit?

West Suffolk Council's internal audits are carried out by our own team of internal auditors. All internal auditors must be independent of the activities that they are checking and have no involvement in them whatsoever unless it is for the purpose of auditing.

Our team reports its findings to our Leadership Team and the Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee

The council has an Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Its role is to monitor how decisions are made and to ensure all our processes are open and honest. You can find out more about our Overview and Scrutiny Committee from our website:

In addition to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the council has a Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee. It has a more specific role which is to review and assess the day to day running of activities and how services are carried out. In order to make an accurate assessment, the Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee uses a variety of tools such as:

  • key performance indicators - ways in which levels of success are measured against a set of criteria
  • financial reports from external inspections
  • internal audit reports
  • the delivery of action plans.

You can find more information about the Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee and its members from our website:

External audit

The focus of an external audit is to give an independent opinion about the financial health and position of an organisation. External audits are carried out by an outside organisation.

We currently use Ernst and Young to carry out our external auditing who do this once a year for us. External auditors will make sure that we:

  • have provided a true and fair view of our financial position
  • have given accurate financial statements
  • have managed and prepared our financial documents according to the rules we need to follow
  • have proper procedures in place to make sure that we have secured the money we have and that it is used, invested and managed soundly to the best of our abilities.