Anti-corruption and integrity in the public sector

Internal Control Processes and Audit



Internal Control in the public sector refers to the arrangements through which governments can reasonably assure the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of their service delivery. Internal control is an engrained part of management across and within ministries, and is meant to ensure that operations are reliable and compliant with applicable laws, regulations and policies such that the incidence of loss, waste and fraud are minimised. Internal control processes are intended to balance risk with cost, in order to improve the likelihood that policy objectives are met.

A sound internal control system is underpinned by a risk-based approach to internal control, and is overseen by professional and independent internal audit function, which is in place to minimise the probability of error, fraud and uneconomic practices. In so doing, internal audit provides reasonable assurance of the adequacy of risk management and the sufficiency of control to mitigate risk.

In some countries, internal control is centralised in the form of a specialised institution, which is independent from those that they monitor. In others, line ministries manage internal control in a decentralised way. In these countries, internal control is an integrated but independent part of the administration.



The OECD is working with public institutions that are responsible for internal control and external audit to strengthen their ability to support accountability and performance of the public sector in their country.The OECD has been working with public institutions responsible for internal control and internal audit, as well as with internationally recognised professional organisations working in the field of control, audit and accounting.

More specifically, the OECD is engaged in a three-year study which focusses, in part, on how SAIs can support good governance by supporting strong internal control processes. More information about this study can be found here.


In 2011, The OECD Internal Audit team and the OECD Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate organised the Internal Control and Internal Audit Seminar, which was attended by between public officials, representatives of professional associations and experts on integrity and the prevention of fraud and corruption.


The OECD is increasingly working with country-level institutions and international stakeholders involved in the area internal control, including internal audit and risk management. Enabling dialogues and internal control arrangements will improve the likelihood of government will meet its objectives, reduce waste and balance risks appropriately.


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Internal Control and Internal Audit: Ensuring Public Sector Integrity and Accountability 




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