first UK public sector wide internal audit standards aim to strengthen public financial management


Effective governance and management of risk in the public sector will be significantly strengthened when a new unified set of internal audit standards is implemented across the UK on the 1st of April this year.

The new Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS) are based on the existing International Standards for Internal Audit, which are set by the Global Institute of internal Auditors (IIA), to which the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors is affiliated. Additional requirements and interpretations have been inserted for the UK public sector. They have been developed by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), and the other Relevant Internal Audit Standard Setters working in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (CIIA).

The new standards have been subject to review by the newly formed Internal Audit Standards Advisory Board and have been ratified following a UK wide consultation process. They come hard on the heels of a National Audit Office report last summer, which highlighted the need for better use of internal audit to support the process of change and deficit reduction underway across government. Their adoption will set higher expectations for the role and scope of internal audit and provide a better framework for the delivery of internal audit services across the UK public sector. The new guidance also creates a clearer basis for assessing the performance and development needs of internal audit teams.

Internal auditors evaluate the management of all types of risks, including strategic, financial, operational and reputational risks facing their organisation, and provide those charged with governance - accounting officers, boards and audit committees - with an independent and objective report on their findings.

The agreement between the Relevant Internal Audit Standard Setters to develop PSIAS was a result of the collaboration between CIPFA and CIIA.  The professional membership bodies have also now produced two new training programmes for public sector finance and internal audit practitioners, to support the drive to raise standards and consistency of internal audit practice across the public sector.

Dr Ian Peters, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors said, “The new public sector internal audit standards set clearer expectations for the practice of internal audit for all those who utilise its services: accounting officers and executive management; boards and audit committees. The new guidance points the way in building the capabilities of internal audit and harnessing its full value to effective corporate governance in the public sector.”

CIPFA’s chief executive, Steve Freer said, “As the public sector adapts to sustained reductions in funding and continues to roll out major reform programmes over the coming years, effective internal audit is more crucial than ever in ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of risk and internal control.”


CIPFA Contact: 

CIPFA Press Office

T: 020 7543 5600


IIA Contact: Phil Gray

T 020 7819 1942


Notes to Editors:

The new training programmes resulting from the collaboration between CIPFA and the CIIA are:

  1. IIA/CIPFA Award in governance and risk management
  2. IIA/CIPFA Award in audit and assurance in a changing environment

These training programmes are aimed at public finance and internal audit specialists looking to broaden their knowledge of the role and tools of internal audit. 

About the IIA

The Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors, which has been leading the profession of internal audit in the UK and Ireland since 1948, is the only professional body focused exclusively on internal auditing. It is part of a global network of institutes of internal audit, whose International Standards and Code of Ethics bind a global community of over 181,000 internal auditors in 190 countries, including over 8,000 members in the UK and Ireland, working in major organisations across all key sectors of the economy.

The Institute offers a postgraduate level professional qualification in two stages, leading initially to the PIIA (practitioner) designation and subsequently to the designation "CMIIA" (Chartered Internal Auditor), with an ongoing requirement for professional development and adherence to professional standards. The qualification assesses a combination of knowledge, understanding and professional competence.