Assurance and institutional risk guidance

We and other organisations provide a broad range of best-practice guidance to universities and colleges. Mostly this aims to help improve risk management, control governance arrangements as well as management and administrative processes. 
  • Audit-related guidance is usually designed to help institutions meet their public accountability obligations more visibly and effectively or to perform more efficiently, economically or effectively. It is directed at external audit providers to the higher education (HE) sector, providers of internal audit and audit committee members.
  • Guidance on risk management is principally for the internal audit function and audit committees.
  • Guidance on governance and strategic management, are directed towards governors and senior managers.
  • We develop financial guidance with sector professional bodies. This is aimed at Finance Directors and members of finance and audit committees.
  • We include guidance on estates and space management as part of our work to promote excellence in leadership, governance and management.

Our approach to using guidance

We now publish less guidance ourselves; instead we encourage the use of best practice guidance from elsewhere and facilitate the development of sector-led guidance where appropriate. It is for universities and colleges to determine which guidance to follow and in most cases is not intended to be prescriptive.

However we do expect universities and colleges to deliver 'value for money', so we expect them to adopt good practices where appropriate. This means that universities and colleges should at least consider relevant guidance and use it as they see fit.

If an institution does not adopt recognised good practice we expect that they will be able to justify why this is the case, if asked to do so. In the same way, we expect that universities and colleges will 'scan the horizon' for the existence of new guidance (from whatever source).

Page last updated 22 July 2011

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