The Internal Audit and Compliance Division (IACD) within Statistics Sierra Leone (Stats SL) is perceived as an independent, objective assurance and consulting structure designed to add value and improve Stats SL’s operations. The Division helps Stats SL accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes across the organization as enshrined in the Statistics Act 2002, The Public Financial Management Act 2018, and other relevant regulations.
The key element of our restructuring and scaling up excellence strategy is to ensure that every Leones invested in our mission and vision is used effectively to achieve our ambitious targets. Therefore, Stats SL Council and Management has created this Division and put in place various governance, risk management and control processes to ensure we achieve our objectives as an organisation. The role of internal audit and compliance is to assist management and the Council by independently assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of these processes, and report back to them on any gaps identified, and actions being taken to close the gaps.
SCOPE AND FUNCTIONS
The scope of internal auditing and compliance in Stats SL covers, but is not restricted to, the examination and evaluation of the adequacy and effectiveness of Stats SL’s governance, risk management, and internal control processes in relation to the organisation's defined mission and objectives. Internal control objectives considered by internal audit and compliance include:
- Efficiency and effectiveness of operations;
- Safeguarding of assets;
- Compliance with laws, regulations, policies, procedures and contracts.
- Reliability and integrity of management and financial information processes, including the means to identify, measure, classify, and report such information.
Internal Audit and Compliance is responsible for evaluating all processes of the organisation including governance processes and risk management processes in all Stats SL offices including Head Quarters, regional, and district offices across Sierra Leone.
Internal audit and Compliance also perform consulting and advisory services related to governance, risk management and control as appropriate for the organisation. It will also evaluate specific operations at the request of the Council or management, as appropriate.
Based on its activity, Internal audit and Compliance Division is responsible for reporting significant risk exposures and control issues identified to the Council and to Senior Management, including fraud risks, governance issues, and other matters needed or requested by the Council.
The IAC Division is organised into two units and offices:
- The Director’s Office
- The IAC Office
- The Director is a member of the senior management team (SMT) of Statistics Sierra Leone (Stats SL) reporting directly to the Council of Statistics Sierra Leone. He fosters the institutional culture that promotes accountability, transparency, honesty, integrity and protection of the reputation of Statistics Sierra Leone.
- The Director is the Head of Stats SL Internal Audit and Compliance Division responsible for the daily management and organisation of the division towards the achievement of their deliverables.
- The other office holders within the IACD support the Director through their unique and collective responsibilities geared towards delivering on the Divisions mandate as required by Stats SL, regulations, and international best practices and Standards.
INDEPENDENCE AND OBJECTIVITY
Complying with National Regulations, International standards and our own Charter, IACD operates without interference from any component in Stats SL, including matters of audit selection, scope, procedures, frequency, timing, or report content to permit upkeep of a necessary independent and objective mental attitude.
IACD team has no direct operational responsibility or authority over any of the activities reviewed or audited. Similarly, IAC team neither implements internal controls, develop procedures, install systems, prepare records, nor engage in any other activity that may lead to the impairment of their judgment.
The IAC team are required to exhibit the highest level of professional objectivity in gathering, evaluating, and communicating information about the activity or process being examined. They must make a balanced assessment of all the relevant circumstances and not be unduly influenced by their own interests or by others in forming judgments.
The Director of Internal Audit and Compliance will confirm to the Council, at least annually, the organisational independence of the internal audit and compliance activity.
The IACD team do not perceive themselves as policemen, but are business partners and their role is to work with other functions and operations in ensuring risks to Stats SL mission are properly identified and managed. We therefore work closely with all Divisions, departments and stakeholders to understand their challenges and give them our independent perspective on the effectiveness of their processes, so they can improve them based on our recommendations.
INTERNAL AUDIT CYCLE
At least annually, the Director of IACD will submit to the Council/Audit Committee an internal audit plan for review and approval. The internal audit plan will include timing as well as budget and resource requirements for the next year.
The internal audit plan will be developed based on a prioritisation using a risk-based methodology, including input of senior management and the Council/Audit Committee. Any significant deviation from the approved internal audit plan will be communicated through the periodic activity reporting process.
The audit execution processes involve carrying out the specific audit steps on all areas in the scope of the audit and identifying areas requiring improvement. Following an audit review, all gaps, recommendations and proposed action plans are discussed with management and agreed before being included in an audit report.
Reporting & Follow Up
A written report will be issued by the Director of Internal Audit and Compliance or delegate following the conclusion of each internal audit engagement and will be directly reported to the Council and distributed as appropriate.
The internal audit report will include management's response and corrective action taken or to be taken in regard to the specific findings and recommendations. Management's responses include a timetable for anticipated completion of action to be taken and an explanation for any corrective action that will not be implemented.
Internal audit and Compliance, with the support of Senior Management, will be responsible for appropriate follow-up on engagement findings and recommendations. All significant findings will remain in an open issues file until cleared. Overdue audit findings are reported on regular bases to the Statistician General and the Council.