Introduction to Audit & Risk Assurance Committees

“Brian was a very engaging trainer - high quality materials.”

Sentencing Council

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the role of the Committee, covering the areas on which the committee should focus, in particular: governance arrangements, risk management, internal control, and financial reporting.

The course is set very firmly in the central government context, and reference will be made to the current guidance on governance and financial management arrangements that apply to government departments, non-ministerial departments, NDPBs and public corporations. The trainer will identify those guidance and good practice documents that are of particular relevance for Audit and Risk Assurance Committees as well as relevant comments and pronouncements from the Public Accounts Committee.

Introduction to Audit and Risk Assurance Committees is from our Accountability & Governance series. At the Civil Service College, we tailor our courses to each attendee’s role and organisation, ensuring that each participant gets the most out of the training. Our courses and trainers are continuously updated and evaluated to ensure that we are always delivering the best service possible. 

Key Training Features

Who Can Attend

Learning Outcomes


Key Training Features:

  • Key governance role played by the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee in government departments, Non-Departmental Public Bodies and other arm’s length public bodies
  • Key features of the central government context including the role of the NAO and Public Accounts Committee, the role of HM Treasury, Managing Public Money and the role of the Accounting Officer
  • Why public funds require special care and the concepts of regularity propriety, value for money and feasibility
  • Practical insights into best practice for Audit and Risk Assurance Committees
  • How audit committees should interact with internal and external auditors and their reports
  • The conditions applying to the use of public funds (Managing Public Money) and the governance requirements that apply in the central government sector
  • The guidance available to committees on specific topics such as management of risk, cyber security, internal audit standards, the annual report and accounts and the governance statement.

Who Can Attend:

This course is designed for newly appointed members of departmental and ALB Audit and Risk Assurance Committees and those who need a refresher, together with executive team members who work alongside the ARAC, such as the committee secretary, those responsible for governance and internal audit staff.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the functions performed by an ARAC and the roles and responsibilities of the members and chair. This will help to enhance their confidence as members of ARACs and thus improve the performance of the Committees as a whole



10:00 - 16:00


£650 + VAT


Civil Service College, Westminster, London


Virtual 9 October 2024 Book5

Face to Face 28 November 2024 Book7

In-House Option

This course is available In-House and can be tailored to meet your individual training requirements.


Lead Trainer

Brian Whalley OBE

Brian Whalley OBE

Brian has over 10 years of experience in training senior management and board members on accountability, governance and financial management.

Read Bio
Brian Whalley OBE

Brian Whalley OBE

Brian regularly provides induction and board development programmes for non-executive board members of government departments, executive agencies, Non-departmental Public Bodies, NHS bodies and public corporations. He has run programmes for over 100 Non-Departmental Public Bodies, and other Arm's Length Bodies, and is experienced in working in all UK jurisdictions.

Brian has written guidance material on numerous governance topics such as the management of conflicts of interest, as well as a guide to working in central government for newly appointed non-executive board members of government departments.

On an international level, Brian has delivered programmes on accountability, governance and financial management in Macedonia, Abu Dhabi, Russia, Hungary, Poland and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Brian is a qualified management accountant (ACMA), has a teaching qualification, and holds an MA in Management Learning.


‘A Guide to Propriety for RDA Board Members’, Department of Trade and Industry

‘Working in Government: A Guide for Non-executive Board Members of Government Departments’, Cabinet Office


  • Qualified management accountant (ACMA)
  • Holds a teaching qualification
  • MA in Management Learning, University of Lancaster 

“Pre-course questionnaire is helpful to identify and manage expectations.”

Legal Services Board

"Pleased with content and structure of delivery and the size of group was good."

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service

"I was very impressed with the research the trainer had done on our individual organisations - made the day much more relevant."

Human Tissue Authority

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