Background

The High Level Committee on Management submitted to the Board for its endorsement a position paper prepared by the Internal Audit Services of the United Nations System, in consultation with the Finance and Budget Network, the Panel of External Auditors and the Institute of Internal Auditors. 

The paper noted the difficulty of developing a “fit-for-all” disclosure policy, and proposed options for consideration by CEB.  Option 3 was recommended by the Internal Audit Services as potentially offering the most appropriate solution. It was further recommended that executive heads approach their respective governing bodies on this matter.

Discussion

The Board expressed support for the recommendation of the Internal Audit Services; stressed the importance of any disclosure policy incorporating adequate criteria to ensure that the human and legal rights of the staff were respected.  Concerns were expressed that the disclosure of internal audit reports could change the nature of the internal audit function, diluting its value as a vital management tool. The need to distinguish between internal and external audit and their separate functions, with a view to maintaining the overall balance in the organizations’ control systems, was also stressed.

Action

The Board endorsed the recommendation of the disclosure of internal audit reports, which provides for disclosure to Member States, respecting the management prerogatives of executive heads and subject to conditions and criteria to be defined within the context of an organization policy that should not be applied retroactively .  The Board encouraged organizations already in a position to present options to their governing bodies to do so, taking into account the recommendation that option 3 offered the most appropriate solution to the issue of disclosure of internal audit reports.