Our auditor will take a supportive approach to help advice providers demonstrate compliance with the Standards. They do not set out to find fault when they perform an audit, but instead aim to confirm that an agency is meeting or exceeding the requirements of the Standards.
Auditors will take into account what they have told about the remit and structure of the advice service to help gauge whether evidence is appropriate and proportionate and may request additional supporting audit documents to be completed if required.
Where ‘gaps’ are identified in the process i.e. the procedure document is not being followed or the agency has not identified that there should be a policy or procedure in place, the auditor will work with the agency to find cost effective ways of addressing those issues.
The audits will follow a structured approach, which follows professional audit standards designed to keep the advice provider informed of what they plan to do, what they have done and finally what they find.
The auditor will examine records and files, looking for confirmation that a framework is in place to support accreditation and that systems are operating in accordance with the Standards. The auditor will, normally within two weeks of completion of their review, issue a draft audit report.
The advice provider will be asked to provide (if required) a written response to the points, setting out the actions that they will be taking, the person who will be responsible for the action and a date by which the action will be completed. The auditor will be happy to discuss the report and responses provided.
The audits will be carried out in line with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (applying the IIA International Standards to the UK Public Sector).
As part of the new model the Scottish Government has agreed to fund the first cycle of accreditation. This means that anyone applying within three years from the start of the new system will not have to pay a fee. After this initial three year period the ability to maintain funding on this basis will be reviewed.