Guidance for Head of Internal Audit Annual Opinions 2020/21


CIPFA has approved guidance on the head of internal audit annual opinion for 2020/21 which is a requirement of the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic heads of internal audit are likely to have made significant changes to their original audit plans. The continued disruption may mean that they have concerns about the consequences for their annual opinion. The guidance addresses this risk and sets out steps heads of internal audit should take, working with their leadership team and audit committee.








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The annual opinion on the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the organisation’s framework of governance, risk management and control is a requirement of the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS). It is an important source of assurance that supports a local government body’s annual governance statement.

If sufficient assurance is not available from internal audit work completed and other sources of assurance that the head of internal audit may seek to place reliance on then they should publish a limitation of scope to explain the position and impact on the annual opinion. The guidance sets out the steps heads of internal audit, together with the leadership team and audit committee, should take.

To further support the guidance CIPFA will be holding a free webinar on 15 December. This will provide opportunities for discussion and questions. More details can be found here.

Webchat is available Monday to Friday, 09:00 - 17:00 (excluding UK bank holidays).