The internal audit function provides independent and objective assurance and advisory services designed to add value and improve the operations of UNICEF.
The OIAI internal audit function helps UNICEF accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of governance, risk management and control processes.
OIAI’s annual work plan covers a wide range of UNICEF’s activities. OIAI uses a risk-based approach to select areas and offices for audit. The work plan is flexible and can be adapted to address emerging trends and issues within UNICEF.
Scope of Work
OIAI assesses whether UNICEF’s governance, risk management and control processes provide reasonable assurance that:
- resources are acquired economically and used efficiently;
- assets are safeguarded;
- activities comply with regulations, rules, policies, procedures, directives, administrative instructions and contracts;
- financial, managerial and operating information is accurate, reliable and timely; and
- programmes, plans and business objectives are achieved (excluding evaluation activities that fall within the scope of the UNICEF Evaluation Office).
Types of Internal Audits
OIAI conducts a range of different audits, including audits of country offices, regional offices, headquarters divisions and thematic areas. OIAI may also issue summary reports highlighting cross-cutting issues identified from different country office audits.
The nature and scope of OIAI advisory services are agreed with management. Such services may involve advice and analyses to promote improvements in governance, risk management and control processes, with OIAI taking care to ensure that its independence and objectivity are not compromised.
External Audit and the Single Audit Principle
UNICEF is subject to external audit exclusively by the United Nations Board of Auditors (UNBoA) in accordance with the UNICEF Financial Regulations, established by the UNICEF Executive Board. The UNBoA undertakes its audits of UNICEF in accordance with its own risk model and audit plan.
In accordance with the Single Audit Principle, UNICEF is not in a position to entertain requests for audits by individual Member States or others and is not in a position to offer the services of the UNBoA or OIAI to conduct specific audits outside either entity’s audit plan. Reports of audits by the UNBoA are public documents, available on the UNBoA website, as are OIAI's internal audit reports, available on this website.
Internal audit work is conducted in accordance with the guidance for the practice of internal auditing in the International Professional Practices Framework as promulgated by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).
The IIA standards were adopted for use by the United Nations Representatives of Internal Audit Services (UN-RIAS), in June 2002. OIAI also follows the reporting standards of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI).
Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement
The Office maintains a quality assurance and improvement programme that covers all aspects of internal audit activities and lifecycles. This includes internal quality assessments that involve ongoing performance monitoring and periodic reviews, and external quality assessments that are usually conducted every five years by a qualified external independent reviewer or review team.
An External Quality Assessment (EQA) review of our internal audit function was done in 2019. The assessment concluded that “Internal Audit generally conforms with the Standards and the IIA Code of Ethics. This level of conformance is the top rating and demonstrates a clear intent and commitment to achieving the Core Principles for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (“Core Principles”) and the Definition of Internal Auditing.”