The University of Western Ontario
Internal Audit Charter
The mission of Internal Audit is to support Western’s leaders to achieve their goals by providing independent, objective and value-added assurance and advisory services that focus on risk management, internal control and governance processes as they relate to promoting ethics and ensuring effective performance management and accountability.
Internal Audit conducts reviews of University records and operations and reports the results of these reviews to management and the Audit Committee of the Board of Governors. Internal Audit helps the University accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes.
Internal Audit ensures that other compliance functions report on a timely basis to the Audit Committee.
Internal Audit’s coverage extends to all University units, operations and services.
The extent and frequency of internal audits will depend upon varying circumstances such as results of previous audits, relative risk associated with activities, materiality, the adequacy of the system of internal control, and resources available to Internal Audit.
The scope of the work of other assurance functions within the University, and audits by the external auditors and other regulators or external agencies, will be considered for the purpose of providing optimal (efficient and economic) audit coverage.
Internal Audit does not evaluate the content and quality of teaching and/or research.
Internal Audit’s intent is to evaluate and contribute to the improvement of the University’s risk management, control and governance processes by:
- Identifying and evaluating significant exposures to risk and ensuring the risk is mitigated to a level that is acceptable to the University.
- Identifying improvements to the overall University process of risk management (identification, assessment, mitigation, monitoring and reporting).
- Examining and assessing practices, systems and control processes to assess whether programs, plans and objectives are achieved.
- Evaluating the extent to which resources are acquired economically, used efficiently and adequately safeguarded.
- Assessing whether significant financial, managerial and operational information is accurate, reliable and timely.
- Evaluating processes relating to organizational performance management and accountability.
- Assessing compliance with those policies, plans, procedures, laws and regulations which could have a significant impact on operations.
- Ensuring timely reports that present areas of significant risk and risk management processes are received by the Audit Committee or another governing committee, as appropriate.
- Promoting ethics and values within the University.
- Investigating suspected or known violations of policies and procedures, financial irregularities, fraud or misuse of University assets and rules and regulations covering research and other grants, including liaison with law enforcement bodies when appropriate.
- Conducting special investigations or reviews at the request of management or the Audit Committee or as considered essential by the Director of Internal Audit.
- Serving as an advisory resource on issues relating to risk, internal control and governance.
Objectivity and independence are essential to internal auditing; therefore, Internal Auditors shall be independent of the activities audited and shall assert no direct responsibility or authority over activities reviewed. Internal Auditors do not relieve persons of any responsibilities assigned to them; and, as such, do not develop and install procedures, prepare records, or engage in activities which would normally be reviewed by Internal Auditors.
To ensure the independence of Internal Audit, the Director of Internal Audit reports administratively to the Vice President (Resources & Operations) and functionally to the Audit Committee of the Board of Governors.
Administrative reporting facilitates the operations of Internal Audit which includes approving resource allocations (human and financial), completing performance evaluations, providing an effective flow of communications and information and ensuring that Internal Audit accomplishes its mission within the context of the University.
Functional reporting provides the source of independence. The Audit Committee approves the Internal Audit charter and annual work plan, oversees the appointment, replacement or dismissal of the head of Internal Audit, and ensures the internal audit function has direct access to the Audit Committee.
In carrying out their duties and responsibilities, members of the Internal Audit Department will have full, free and unrestricted access to all University records, information, facilities, and personnel relating to the performance of an audit. Documents and information shared with Internal Audit will be handled in the same prudent and confidential manner as by those personnel normally accountable for them.
Internal Audit staff members will adhere to the standards of their professional designations and be guided by the Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing.
Charter Review and Approval:
This Charter shall be reviewed and approved as circumstances require and at least every three years by the Audit Committee of the Board of Governors.