We are a leading provider of assurance consulting services to international institutions and the donor community, and we are passionate about making a difference.

Donors and implementing partners of international institutions have a responsibility to ensure funds are disbursed effectively and efficiently. This responsibility applies not only when a donor is procuring directly in support of its programmes, but also when funds are being managed by contractors, NGOs, recipient governments or other development partners.

Our international development assurance team provides a range of consultancy support and assurance services to international institutions and the donor community. We provide meaningful insight developed through extensive experience working in a wide range of environments and countries, with:

  • governments;
  • civil society;
  • faith groups;
  • the private sector;
  • internationally financed organisations; and
  • bilateral and multilateral global donors.

With a client-centric approach, we offer:

  • fully outsourced and co-sourced internal audit services;
  • proactive and reactive investigations;
  • risk management and fraud risk assessments;
  • consultancy and capacity development;
  • technology risk assurance;
  • due diligence assessments; and
  • data analytics and emerging technologies consultancy.

We work closely with our colleagues in the UK and globally to facilitate and manage a number of frameworks providing donor specific compliance audits, financial statement audits and grant funding reviews, providing you with a one-contract management solution.

Industry leading expertise

We predominantly work with multilateral agencies, governments, financing institutions and implementing agencies in some of the world’s most challenging locations. With expertise in last mile auditing that is to the point of spend.

As a key partner for assurance consultancy to some of the world’s largest development donors, agencies and implementers. We:

  • are the strategic partner to the UK Government for internal audit services;
  • are a key partner for global audit and investigation services to multiple United Nations bodies;
  • are a key global investigations partner to one of the world’s largest disease eradication funders;
  • are the fully outsourced internal audit and risk management services provider to several UK based leading international NGOs;
  • are the provider of fully outsourced internal audit and risk management services for two United Nations bodies delivering to OIOS standards;
  • have extensive expertise in auditing programme implementation;
  • have undertaken over 60 major investigations into donor funding;
  • provide fraud risk assessments to United Nations bodies;
  • developed the Proactive Risk Assessment Programme for a major donor to deliver its programme of activity;
  • brought our extensive expertise of social cash transfer programmes to enhance new SCTP programme controls; and
  • supported five Supreme Audit Institutes in Africa undertaking their first forensic investigations.
  • Capacity development
  • Internal audit
  • Funding investigations

Capacity development

To achieve your development objectives, it is vital that you and your people have the right capabilities in place. Capacity development can help you develop these capabilities, and improve confidence, skills, knowledge and resources. Identifying and developing the capacity you need can be challenging, but it’s an area in which we have extensive experience.

Our experience of the international development sector and our hands-on approach brings valuable collective knowledge, and is a reason we are appointed for a number of consultancy and capacity development assignments.

Industry leading expertise built on:

  • a wealth of knowledge and experience gained from working in more than 30 countries and with multiple donors;
  • ensuring the highest levels of integrity and confidentiality are maintained;
  • working in partnership with governments and Auditor Generals to truly share experience;
  • using sector and personal experiences to solve problems and advise on improvements reflecting the environment and conditions; and
  • providing confidence to the user.

Internationally we have:

  • built sustainable capacity though technical knowledge transfers to five supreme audit institutions on their first forensic audits;
  • project-managed a team of 50 internal auditors undertaking the largest investigative audit of educational funding in Kenya;
  • provided expertise on the controls design for major social cash transfer programmes in East Africa;
  • trained over 500 internal auditors across Africa on risk based internal audit;
  • developed a controls programme for ARDSI in Turkey, including the training of staff;
  • developed proactive integrity review programmes for various organisations; and
  • supported local test purchasing and market research.

Case study: market research in Tanzania

The assignment

An international financing institution (IFI) required support to undertake a market survey in Tanzania, following an audit that uncovered a significant variance between malaria medications shipped to health facilities and medications reported as disbursed to beneficiaries by the health facilities.

Our work

Working closely with our RSM partners in Tanzania we completed the assignment with oversight from RSM UK. The assignment involved visiting 65 pharmacies and local markets in two regions to determine if any of the IFI financed medications were available for sale instead of being distributed for free at the health facilities.

In consultation with the IFI investigation team, we agreed a plan to purchase medications at agreed locations. Each purchase was required to contain at least one blister pack of medications clearly displaying the batch number as well as the original packaging.

The team were also tasked with engaging with the salespersons to enquire about the source of the medication and with other buyers on the motivation of buyers to revert to illicit markets. The team visited 65 drug stores over a five-day period to make test purchases and identified that some stores were selling IFI drugs that should have been distributed freely.

Benefit to the client

Our work provided access to local resource with the necessary language skills and abilities to make test purchases, the report outlined the exact locations of each purchase site, information on the seller, the market, and the date and time of the purchase to assure the chain of custody.

Details of the batch numbers of each blister pack, a photograph and the price were also obtained, and the purchased medicine bought as evidence was submitted to the IFI investigation team using the chain of custody method provided. Daily written updates were also provided to the IFI investigation team.

Case study – Proactive Integrity Review

The assignment

Our client, an established international expert in logistics and the distribution of goods were rapidly changing their method of delivery. Moving to payment in lieu of goods using cash transfers and payment cards, they were keen to assess the risks and adopt a proactive approach.

Our work

Working across the whole organisation at the direction of the OIG we undertook a high level fraud risk assessment and gained insight into the delivery mechanism to create, develop, and write a comprehensive Proactive Integrity Review (PIR) manual designed to focus robustly on fraud risk and expected controls. We trained the clients staff and undertook several pilot PIRs in Jordan, Lebanon, Malawi and Turkey, conducted

an assessment for fraud risk across the Yemen and Syrian supply chains, and provided support to the investigation teams, using data analytics of cash payment data, targeted investigations and process reviews.

Benefit to the client

Access to a highly experienced team with extensive expertise in the identification of fraud and abuse within cash transfer systems enabling meaningful advice, providing robust early identification of control improvements and the development of a bespoke PIR programme.

For more information about our international development solutions please contact Mark Sullivan, Head of International Development Consultancy.

Internal audit

Our dedicated internal auditors deliver a wide range of risk-based audits to the standards of the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF) of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). In addition, our specialist risk, governance, project and programme, and IT auditors provide exacting insight or technical oversight of specific audit assignments.

We invest in producing highly-qualified internal auditors who are experienced in governance, risk and controls - backed by a dedicated technical team and development programme. Our core international assurance team regularly works with international organisations and bodies to provide:

  • fully outsourced and co-sourced internal audits; and
  • secondments, individual work packages and consultancy support to:
    • governments:
    • internationally financed organisations
    • NGOs; and
    • bilateral and multilateral global donors.

They bring experience of working with United Nations policies and procedures, and can advise on best practice and learnings gained from other organisations. Coupled with a strong understanding of the international public sector our team are well placed to add value through meaningful insights and recommendations, delivering a high-quality audit programme and maintaining the reputation of the organisations we work with.

We:

  • support over 600 internal audit clients in the public and private sector;
  • support a growing number of UN organisations with fully outsourced or co-sourced internal audit and investigation services;
  • are the UK Government’s prime internal audit service supplier;
  • are one of the lead internal audit providers to the charity sector; and
  • have a presence in 120 countries.

Case study: internal audit for an international tribunal

The assignment

Our client, an international tribunal and part of the United Nations family, is funded by multiple international governments. They wanted to develop a sector leading, enterprise risk focused, internal audit function.

Our work

First engaged in 2012, we have been successfully retained year on year. The client operates to UN policies and procedures, something we have significant prior experience with. The organisation is unique in nature, structure and funding, which brings specific and distinctive risks.

Using our experience of international tribunals and courts and working with the client, we:

  • developed a risk management process that is used to support a fully risk-based internal audit service;
  • provide a consistent team who fully understand the nuances of the client;
  • developed a consistent contact plan that raises the profile of internal audit and provides a team available to support management despite distance in location;
  • undertake regular risk management workshops to encourage risk thinking; and
  • help the preparation of the audit strategy and delivery of the annual plan.

Benefits to the client

The client benefits from immediate access to a team with UN and tribunal experience, who provide a full-service offering including cyber, data analytics, risk consulting and risk-based auditing to provide the annual assurance statement.

For more information about our international development solutions please contact Mark Sullivan, Head of International Development Consultancy.

Funding investigations

Investigations provide assurance to donors and the international community that funding and aid is being allocated and used legally and for its intended purpose, helping to prevent and detect fraudulent activity.

We have extensive experience of high-profile international investigations. Often our clients need to use certain delivery partners, so we aim to provide detailed meaningful recommendations for future improvement and improved controls.

Our team has built up a wealth of knowledge and experience from working in more than 30 countries, and has over 70 years’ worth of combined experience. Team members are Hostile Environment Trained (HEAT) and are security vetted to ensure that the highest levels of integrity and confidentiality are maintained.

We work in partnership with governments, auditor generals, charities and NGOs, following the money trail and helping to prevent fraud and corruption in the international community. The team specialises in undertaking in-depth audit and forensic investigations into grants and bi-lateral/multilateral funding, providing audit-related technical assistance and supporting capacity development.

Using the extensive experience of RSM UK and RSM International, we bring together the necessary mix of skills to provide:

  • independent investigations to a variety of standards (including OIOS);
  • support to local systems (ie working to build the capacity of government auditors);
  • special purpose audits and governance investigation and reviews;
  • extensive data analytics and data forensics capacity;
  • supply chain due diligence and verifications;
  • test purchases and specialist procurement audits; and
  • last mile and beneficiary testing.

Case study: investigations for East African government

The assignment

We were engaged by the auditor general of an East African country to undertake a forensic investigation of all government accounts following evidence of abuse. The assignment, funded by the donor community, was to:

  • provide independent assurance;
  • identify and track misappropriations;
  • provide the forensic evidence required to progress civil or criminal prosecutions; and
  • identify IFMIS security gaps, making recommendations which would improve and strengthen the IFMIS Security Policy.

Our work

We provided over 1,000 days of technical support between 2013 and 2018, which included:

  • analysing seven main government bank accounts;
  • manually reviewing over 360,000 unique transactions identified as high value, duplicate or suspicious;
  • tracing specific transactions;
  • undertaking price comparison exercises;
  • contacting third party suppliers; and
  • quantifying the level of over-charging linked to the deleted accounting entries and suspicious payments and over inflated procurements.

As a result, we issued subpoenas and court orders preparing 59 case files to support law enforcement.

Benefits to the client

As a result of our work various public reports were presented, and potential thefts of up to $42m were identified. Our work assisted local law enforcement agencies in assessing quantum for criminal benefit, securing successful convictions and recovering misappropriated assets which has since lead to more than 30 successful prosecutions. We made 56 recommendations which formed the basis for the World Bank country plan from 2015 onward.

The fraud is widely referred to as ‘Cashgate’ and was reported on by local and international media.

For more information about our international development solutions please contact Mark Sullivan, Head of International Development Consultancy.