Head of internal audit opinion: key considerations for 2020/21

Lisa Robertson

24 February 2021

The accountable officer of each NHS organisation has the responsibility for maintaining a sound system of internal control and governance that supports the achievement of the organisation’s policies, aims and objectives, while safeguarding quality standards and public funds. Internal audit has a key role in providing assurance over these arrangements, which is reported in the annual head of internal audit (HoIA) opinion. 

The HoIA opinion is an integral piece of an organisation’s governance framework, providing assurance to inform the AGS, and identifying improvement opportunities. It is informed by internal audit work throughout the year, as set out in the risk-based audit plan.

Over recent years, the HoIA has needed to consider a number of significant changes, emerging risks and pressures. In 2021, the requirements placed on the NHS due to the Covid-19 pandemic have been unprecedented and will be a key feature of the considerations for the HoIA opinion.  

This paper looks at what the HoIA is; why it is important; the requirements for the HoIA; and key considerations for 2020/21. It will be of particular interest to internal auditors, finance directors and their teams, non-executive directors, lay members and directors of governance.

Head of internal audit opinion: key considerations for 2020/21

February 2021 (PDF 191KB)

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