The Role of the Business Assurance Service
The Business Assurance Service plans are designed to consider the risk of fraud at the University. We are required by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to:
'assess the adequacy of the arrangements to prevent and detect irregularities, fraud and corruption. However, the primary responsibility for preventing and detecting corruption, fraud and irregularities rests with management, who should institute adequate systems of internal control, including clear objectives, segregation of duties and proper authorisation procedures.' (HEFCE Audit Code of Practice Circular 2004/27)
HEFCE require that all accountable staff in the University should report suspected or actual weaknesses. These reports can be made in confidence to the Director of Business Assurance under the terms of the University's Public Interest Disclosure and Whistle Blowing policies. Where this weakness is serious HEFCE require that:
'In the event of any serious weakness, such as a significant and immediate threat to the HEI's financial position, significant fraud or major accounting breakdown, the designated officer must inform, without delay, the chair of the HEI's audit committee, the chair of the HEI's governing body, the HEI's Director of Business Assurance and the HEFCE accounting officer.
A serious weakness is one which:
'has resulted in an attempted, suspected or actual significant fraud or irregularity. Significant fraud or irregularity is usually where one or more of the following apply:
- the sums of money involved are, or potentially are, in excess of £25,000 [the University defines the limit as £10,000]
- the particulars of the fraud or irregularity are novel, unusual or complex
- there is likely to be public interest because of the nature of the fraud or irregularity, or people involved.'
Source: HEFCE in publication 2010/19 Model Financial Memorandum between HEFCE and Institutions (July 2010).