Public sector audit committees - Independent assurance and advice for Chief Executives and Boards

Local government Economics Governance
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Audit Committees have an important role in the governance framework of entities by providing an independent source of assurance and advice to Chief Executives/Boards. A distinguishing feature of an Audit Committee within an entity’s governance framework is its independence and objectivity, as Audit Committees do not undertake management responsibilities and are not a substitute for entity management controls and accountabilities.

The aim of the Guide is to provide guidance on the operation of the Audit Committees of public sector entities operating under both the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997. The Guide updates and replaces the Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) 2005 Public Sector Audit Committees Better Practice Guide.

The Guide is intended as a reference document for Chief Executives, Boards, members of Audit Committees and senior managers with responsibility for Audit Committee activities, and complements the ANAO’s Better Practice Guide Public Sector Internal Audit issued in September 2007.

The ANAO has also supplied a number of checklists and templates which supplement this better practice guide. These can be used and modified to suit individual circumstances. They are contained in the zip file which is attached below.

In July 2012, the following correction was made to the online version published on 31 August 2011: page 18 of the PDF document, last paragraph; and section 3.2 of the HTML document, second last paragraph: amended to read 'In CAC entities that are governed by a Board, the Chair of the committee may be a non-executive director (other than the Chair of the entity) or an external appointee of the entity' to reflect the CAC Regulations Audit Committees for Commonwealth Authorities.


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