Internal Auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization's operations. It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes.1
The Internal Auditing Group of the Office of the Inspector General determines whether the Organization's network of risk management, control and internal governance processes, as designed and represented by management, is adequate and functioning in a manner to ensure:
risks are appropriately identified and managed;
interaction with the various governance groups occurs as needed;
significant financial, managerial and operational information is accurate, reliable and timely;
employee actions comply with the legal and regulatory framework including applicable policies, standards and procedures;
the Organization acquires its resources economically, uses them efficiently, and protects them adequately;
programmes, plans and objectives are achieved;
quality and continuous improvement are fostered in the Organization’s control process; and
significant legislative or regulatory issues impacting the Organization are recognized and addressed properly.
The Internal Auditing Group plans its work on a biennial basis, using risk assessment planning methodology coupled with its institutional knowledge and current policy directions. It also responds to emerging needs such as requests from senior management for special reviews.
The Office conducts its work both at Headquarters and the Decentralized Office Network. Headquarters activities include audits, assurance and advisory work primarily relating to Organization-wide governance, financial, accounting and treasury functions, information technology, and overall management of FAO reform projects, and special assignments, such as performing routine reviews of the Director General’s Office expenses, the commissary, and large value Letters of Agreement.
Audits are conducted of the Decentralized Office Network at the Regional, Sub-regional, Country and Liaison Offices. These audits review key components in the administrative, financial and programme operations. Audit coverage in this area is a significant component of the Offices overall work programme because the Decentralized Office Network accounts for more than 65 percent of the expenditure outlays of the Organization, and are exposed to a larger number of risks. In addition, the Internal Auduting Group conducts broader thematic reviews of the network that assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization in implementing key programmes such as the EU Food facility and the Technical Cooperation Programme.
Audits are coordinated, as appropriate, with the work of the External Auditor, the FAO Legal Office and Office of Evaluation. to ensure that activities are complementary without wasteful overlaps. Upon completion of audits, the Office of the Inspector General makes recommendations based on the results that are meant to improve efficiency and effectiveness, enhance internal controls and raise fraud awareness among the staff as a whole.
Consulting and other special activities
In addition to its scheduled internal audits, the Inspector General staff take on special activities as they arise. For example, the Office plays a major role in supporting management in implementing key Organizational reform initiatives. Specifically, in partnership with an expert risk consultant, the Office developed a risk management framework which management accepted and is actively supporting the Office of Strategic Planning in implementing enterprise risk management in the Organization. Further, the Office facilitated a comprehensive risk assessment of the current Organizational reform programme (IPA) which will assist management to better manage key implementation risks, and is coordinating the development of a Business Continuity Framework for the Organization. In addition, the Office routinely provides management with comments on reform-related matters and routinely responds to requests for advice on financial, administrative and operational matters from various levels of management throughout the Organisation.