Internal audit functions operated in all of the group’s principal business units in the period under review, reporting to local senior finance management with direct access to local audit committees. Under the newly implemented global internal audit structure the local and regional audit function has direct interface with the group internal audit function through the chief internal auditor. The internal audit activities are performed either by teams of appropriate, qualified and experienced employees, or through the engagement of external practitioners upon specified and agreed terms with equivalent access. These structures are reviewed annually for effectiveness, utilising periodic reviews by external consultants.
The Global Internal Audit Strategy was formally approved by the audit committee in May 2004, and implementation of a centrally co-ordinated internal audit function has been underway since June 2004. A new Global Internal Audit Methodology has been developed and rolled out across the internal audit function at the regional and country levels. A primary output from the methodology are reports on global internal audit activities for presentation to the audit committee on a periodic basis.
A formal review of the effectiveness of internal audit was conducted by the chief internal auditor and co-ordinated by the company secretary. This was conducted by using a standard questionnaire that was completed by head office and hub internal audit staff. On the basis of information received, the chief internal auditor prepared for the audit committee a summary of his assessment of the global internal audit function, status of the strategy and methodology of implementation, plus a snapshot of views regarding independence and objectivity.
The audit committee has satisfied itself that adequate, objective internal audit assurance standards and procedures exist within the group, and that formal initiatives are under way to provide for continuous improvements to the quality and objectivity of the global internal audit function.
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