The full implementation of the Internal Audit Office will be September 2021.
This disclosure came today from Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, who said the Office will fall under the Ministry of Finance. He made the comments as he delivered the keynote address at the 20th Anniversary of the Institute of Internal Auditors Barbados Chapter Celebrations and Ethics Seminar, at Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados.
Mr. Straughn said the provision for the Internal Audit Office was included in the Public Finance Management Act, and explained that the department would have responsibility for conducting audits of public entities.
He told his audience: “The timeline with respect to the full implementation of the Internal Audit Office is September 2021.
“But we are working through a series of consultations to ensure we can build out the appropriate structures; have the appropriate recruitment and training in place such that when that time comes, that we are capable of delivering from day one. So, therefore, there is going to be accelerated level of engagement going forward with respect to this, and I ask that we commit ourselves to the process because it is important that we get this right…
“The establishment of the Internal Audit Office will be one of the key reforms that will bring the difference with respect to the way that Government operates over the next 20/30 years. But we have to be committed to that change and flexibility….”
He explained that the Office would be headed by a Director, who would report to an Internal Audit Committee. He pointed out that reporting to an Internal Audit Committee, and not management of the entity, would provide the level of independence required for it to function properly and meaningfully.
“There will be a formal introduction of the Audit Committee, the purpose of which is to evaluate the reports of the internal auditors of government, and to advise on complex financial matters. This concept, although not new to the private sector and a few state agencies, will be relatively new to most ministries and departments of government. This Committee will oversee the operations of the internal auditors in government to ensure that their work is in accordance with international standards,” he said.
Mr. Straughn pointed out that the Internal Audit Office would be in a position to provide assurance that government operations were being carried out economically, efficiently and effectively. He added that the functions of the Office would assist Government in achieving its strategic objectives.
The Minister stressed that the internal auditors’ skills set was critical to transforming how Barbados operates going forward.