The HM Treasury Guidance on Assurance Frameworks (2012) defines an assurance framework as:
'A structured means of identifying and mapping the main sources of assurance in an organisation, and co-ordinating them to best effect.'
Following on from our previous article in the April edition, the development of board assurance arrangements should be a logical extension of an academy’s existing risk management arrangements. It is important therefore that you are satisfied with how your board and audit committee (or equivalent) understands and implements risk management, and that you maintain an informed engagement with the risks and opportunities that you face. If these arrangements are effective they will help you to understand the process and control environment, and help you answer the core questions:
- what do we want assurance over?; and
- how much assurance do we need?
It could be argued that a BAF should represent the total arrangements in place for managing an academy’s assurances and not just an output produced for the board.
Developing and maintaining board assurance arrangements is not, and should not be, a separate activity, but rather an embedded tool of management. As a natural extension of risk management, it would be reasonable to incorporate your board assurance policy and procedures into your risk management documentation, therefore ensuring that risk, control and assurance identification and monitoring processes are considered as a single, not disparate, set of activities.
Given our position as one of the market leaders of audit, advisory and assurance services to the academy sector, we have developed this guide to further aide understanding, share our experience and expertise in the successful implementation and roll out of effective board assurance arrangements within many clients and to provide support through the provision of the toolkit. Request your copy of our board assurance toolkit.