Setting up, and getting the most out of, your Audit and Risk Committee

Trust in a public organisation is built on the organisation’s robust policies, processes, systems, and understanding and management of risks. This is where an Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) can add significant value.


Audit and Risk Committees can play an important role in public organisations, from advising on risk management and assurance, to playing more formal governance roles under a board. But while many organisations already have a Committee, it is just as important to think about how they can be made more effective.

Clarity of purpose, independence, competence, and respected and trusted relationships are the principles of an effective Audit and Risk Committee. Based on these principles, the Office’s guidance are designed to help you – as governors in central or local government – get the most out of your Committee.

The guides

Designed for chief executives of central government departments, our guide Getting the most out of your department's Audit and Risk Committee includes principles-based, practical advice on how to lift a Committee’s effectiveness in a central government context.

Setting up a council’s Audit and Risk Committee, which is targeted at practitioners and leaders in local councils, is a step-by-step guide on establishing a council’s Committee for success.


For your next meeting – or just helpful reading for a new Audit and Risk Committee member – you can find print-ready, PDF versions of both guides here (central government, local government).

Additional resources

For further reading, we have also put together a list of resources on Audit and Risk Committees that members of Audit and Risk Committees, and the secretariat, may find useful. These resources include information on the Three Lines Model and case studies of successful Audit and Risk Committees

Forums for Audit and Risk committee chairpersons

We host forums for Audit and Risk committee chairpersons to raise matters of mutual interest and discuss good practice. The sessions feature guest speakers who present on topics of interest to Audit and Risk committees. If you chair an Audit and Risk committee (or equivalent) in the public sector and would like to attend these sessions, we have more information here.