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Specimen terms of reference - NHS foundation trust audit committee

The rising importance of the role and function of an audit committee in an NHS entity can be linked to developments in the private, commercial sector; in particular the UK Corporate Governance Code (formerly the Combined Code). The UK Corporate Governance Code specifies requirements for good governance in UK listed companies, including guidance on audit committees:

'The board should establish formal and transparent arrangements for considering how they should apply the corporate reporting and risk management and internal control principles and for maintaining an appropriate relationship with the company's auditors.'

A key responsibility of the audit committee is set out as including monitoring and reviewing:

  • the integrity of the financial statements of the NHS foundation trust
  • the trust's internal financial control and risk management systems
  • the effectiveness of the trust's internal audit function
  • the external auditor's independence and objectivity
  • the effectiveness of the audit process.

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