Case study: National Audit Office of Sri Lanka

In July 2018, a representative from the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), Priyanga Hettiarachi, contacted CIPFA to enquire about the possibility of CIPFA providing forensic investigation training for the National Audit Office of Sri Lanka.

As the supreme audit institution of Sri Lanka, the National Audit Office of Sri Lanka (NAO SL) audits all government entities and organisations. Since the National Audit Act was passed by Sri Lanka’s parliament in 2018, it has worked to enhance its capacity beyond financial and performance audit.

The WFD contacted CIPFA because the NAO SL had identified forensic auditing as an area that required significant improvement, and therefore expert training.

Download the case study

Case study 


CIPFA’s Head of Counter Fraud Training, Les Dobie, handled the WFD enquiry. "One of the pillars of democratic structures is to have transparent, accountable public bodies," he says, "like a number of supreme audit institutes across the globe, the NAO SL is tasked with investigating financial wrongdoing within public sector organisations."

With extensive experience of forensic investigation in the context of fraud and corruption, and delivery of training programmes for similar bodies across the world, Les Dobie submitted a training programme proposal to WFD and NAO SL for fraud investigation within an audit environment. This was based around the CIPFA International Certificate in Financial Crime Investigation.

The plan of action – a bespoke solution

The specially tailored programme proposed by CIPFA comprised:

  • A three-day foundation-level training course in forensic investigations to be delivered at NAO SL’s headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka to 20 NAO SL auditors, ranging in seniority from superintendents of audit to audit examiners.
  • A five-day certified programme – CIPFA’s International Certificate in Financial Crime Investigation – to be delivered at CIPFA’s headquarters in London, to seven individuals selected from the previous Colombo cohort.

The results of the programme

All seven of the NAO SL students that took part in the five-day training programme in London received the CIPFA International Certificate in Financial Crime Investigation.

And, as Les Dobie explains, the training rapidly had an impact within the organisation: “A month after the course was completed, one individual contacted me and told me that they had taken what they had learned from the CIPFA course, and it had enabled them to apply it to a case that they were dealing with. It was the first case that they’ve ever submitted to the Colombo magistrate for consideration for prosecution. And that is what it is all about: teaching people new skills and knowledge that really can be successfully applied in the workplace”.

The success of the training programme prompted WFD and NAO SL to request a repeat of this two-phase CIPFA course for a new cohort of NAO SL personnel in 2019/2020, extending CIPFA’s expertise further into the organisation.

Specialist training

CIPFA creates and delivers training programmes for finance, audit and counter fraud teams around the world. Depending on your organisation’s unique needs and context, we can work with you to devise bespoke programmes – our aim is to ensure learning objectives are met and staff return to their desks with innovative insights and practical solutions that are relevant to their job roles.

For more details on our approach please contact us:

T: +44 (0)20 7543 5600

E: InHouseTraining@cipfa.org