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Good Governance for School Boards

Trustee Professional Development Program


Module 19 — Internal Audit and The Role of Audit Committees

Last updated in December 2019

Videos developed in 2015

Internal Audit and The Role of Audit Committees
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Module 19 is composed of 3 videos (Part A, B and C) in which trustees will explore:

  • The role and importance of school board auditors – internal and external
  • The internal audit function, including the role of regional audit teams
  • The role of school board audit committees in promoting transparent and accountable governance

Audit Committee

The Education Act requires that every district school board in the province establish an Audit Committee. The Audit Committee is composed of both trustees and non-trustee members appointed by the school board in accordance with its by-law on the selection process. School board staff are not permitted to be a member of the committee. The purpose of the Audit Committee is to provide oversight of the school board’s financial reporting, controls and risk management. Ontario Regulation 361/10: Audit Committees describes the composition, functions, powers, and duties of an audit committee.

Before reviewing Part A, please note these changes and considerations and their timing in the video:

  • Professional practices have been standardized province-wide with the introduction of the Internal Audit Manual, finalized in December 2018 (04:55-04:56). Audit Committees seeking additional information should contact their Regional Internal Audit Manager.
  • References to “Ontario’s goals for education” are no longer current (05:02). Boards should refer to the Education Act [Section 170] for the duties of boards.
Click here to obtain a transcript of the video.

Before reviewing Part B, please note these changes and considerations and their timing in the video:

  • Internal audits are chosen based on the results of the risk assessment and audit plan approved by a board’s Audit Committee. The areas of review listed are some examples but are not all encompassing (02:49-03:38).
  • Internal audit review of IT & Communications can include any topic about information technology including security, privacy, back-up, disaster and recovery (3:35).
Click here to obtain a transcript of the video.

Before reviewing Part C, please note these changes and considerations and their timing in the video:

  • Audit Committees’ focus may vary among school boards, however their responsibility is to “review the overall effectiveness of the Board’s internal controls” (14:42) and, enhance management capacity of school board (00:59), with can be enabled through a regular Risk Management monitoring process.
  • Not all Internal Audit Teams produce an annual report to assess control and risk management as these matters are thoroughly discussed through internal audit reports (15:16-15:24).
  • Internal Audit Teams use discretion in whether they prepare annual or multi-year internal audit plans, based on the individual boards, resources and emerging risks (15:47-15:53).
  • Internal Audit Team member performance reviews are carried out by Internal Audit Managers. Committee concerns about the performance of an Internal Audit Team member should be brought to the attention of the Internal Audit Manager (16:04-16:05).
  • The frequency of risk assessments will vary between regions and boards based on board size, resources and emerging risks. (16:11-16:15).
  • The process for risk identification and management will vary between Audit Committees (19:22-19:37).
  • Consulting services that may be provided are advisory in nature. The nature and scope of the consulting engagement are subject to agreement with the client.
Click here to obtain a transcript of the video.