Refocusing the audit committee

One of the audit committees was facing the following challenge:

  • an existing audit and risk committee;
  • a new executive team;
  • a chief executive who wanted to refocus the committee (the existing focus was financial and reactive);
  • significant change occurring in the entity; and
  • a lack of understanding at some levels about the role of a risk committee.

The committee took this five-stage approach to change:

  • change the risk and audit committee composition;
  • draft and agree a committee charter;
  • reduce the level of involvement of audit, and outline how the balance of time should be spent in the meeting;
  • expand the scope of focus on the organisational change; and
  • involve the executive team.

The result:

  • a well-defined and agreed audit and risk charter;
  • a committee that was much more focused on managing risk within the entity and its function in the public sector;
  • the senior team using the committee for challenge and understanding aspects of risk; and
  • keeping the financial focus as important but limited.