Day one focuses on the changing regulatory environment, its impact on organisations and the potential role of internal audit. As board and stakeholder expectations concerning the importance of effective governance, risk management and control have risen, how must the profession respond and what does that mean in practice?
The big debate
The first panel discussion will include Christopher Graham, the UK information commissioner; Judith Hackitt, chair of the Health and Safety Executive; and Rosemary Hilary, director and head of internal audit at the Financial Services Authority. They will provide an overview of key regulatory changes and challenges, drawing on their wealth of experience to give perspectives from their respective sectors.
“Data protection presents businesses with both opportunities and risks. Getting it right is of increasing importance from both the reputational and the regulatory point of view,” Graham says. “Get it right and you gain efficiencies and better customer relationships and service. Get it wrong and you’re in trouble with your customers and shareholders – and with the regulator.”
The Information Commissioner’s Office has developed its own data protection audit programme and Graham sees internal audit as an important ally in the task of securing compliance. “Together we need to embed information rights risks into the scope of internal audit,” he says.
Tools of the job
Day two of the conference will focus on improving internal audit performance, featuring practical advice on how to tackle specific processes and approaches concerning governance and compliance, such as assurance mapping and emerging risks such as cyber-crime.
Speakers from a wide range of industries, sectors and backgrounds will share their views – among them, Angela O’Hara of Vodafone. O’Hara will ask what a good audit department looks like in practice, drawing on her experience as the company’s head of audit for northern Europe, in which she manages a team of 30 across eight countries and ten offices.
“While our transformation journey at Vodafone began before I joined the audit team, in the past two years we have radically changed our organisation structure, launched our own brand, built our own audit management tool and focused on our people,” she says. “Our success relies on having the right people with the right skills who are really passionate about our business and what they do.”
Also offering guidance on best practice will be Ian Haldenby, internal audit director at HMRC and previously head of internal audit for both the Department of Education and the Home Office. Looking specifically at effective tools and techniques in internal audit, Haldenby will share his experience of working in the private and public sectors, and what helped – and sometimes hindered – his team’s ability to deliver.
Meanwhile, John Adlam, group chief internal auditor for Legal & General, will examine how internal auditors can deal with the unprecedented changes they are facing. “Change equates to increased risk,” he says. “Internal audit is expert in risk and control; it must be engaged in change initiatives.”
Adlam will emphasise the need, among other things, for internal audit to be proactive, take a partnership approach and add value. “Demonstrating our worth is a constant challenge for the profession, especially in these difficult economic times,” he says. “We must demonstrate financial value and justify what we do.”
For more information
The 2012 IIA conference takes place on 25-26 September at 1 Wimpole Street, London. To book your place, visit bit.ly/cryI7f