Atkins is one of the world’s leading design and engineering consultancies, offering a ‘plan, design and enable’ approach to client solutions. The services are offered to a diverse range of clients and markets, giving Atkins a broad range of experience and capability worldwide
A review of internal audit practice in late 2009 identified several opportunities to improve Atkins’ approach to this important internal process. Subsequent discussions concluded that an element of training would be beneficial for internal auditors and further research helped to scope the kind of training activity that might address this need.
Atkins’ UK operations have recently moved from operating discrete business management systems to adopting a common system and coupled with a desire for the internal audit process to add more value, the concept of ‘auditing by risk’ was born. This new approach would place a greater emphasis on identifying those risks which are a priority to the business and ensuring that they are targeted as part of an intelligent audit programme – integrating audit activity with other established governance regimes as far as possible. As a consequence, Atkins identified the need for greater clarity around competence requirements for auditors and how they might be able to add more value, by assisting auditees in their understanding of root causes.
A number of organisations were approached with the prospect of delivering training tailored to Atkins’ needs and the CQI was selected. Two of its public courses – Performance Improvement through Intelligent Auditing and Root Cause Analysis – were identified as being of interest. Time spent with the CQI trainer in advance was extremely valuable in helping to clarify and develop Atkins’ specific requirements, resulting in the delivery of a twoday in-house course earlier this year.
The CQI trainer was very helpful from the planning phase through to the final delivery of the course and his knowledge and breadth of experience helped ensure the training was a success. Workshop activities and practical sessions were especially well-received. All of those trained have since undertaken a number of internal audits within the business, drawing upon their learning, which has improved their confidence when auditing processes and focusing on the achievement of intended outcomes, rather than adopting a simple, compliance approach. A further training session is planned to ensure a consistent level of competence across the internal audit resource and to maintain progress with this important improvement project. Discussions have also begun on the roll-out of this new approach to non-UK operations, following the success in the UK.
Head of Assurance