The Directorate of Internal Oversight (DIO) is independent in the conduct of its duties. This independence is obtained primarily through its organisational status, as it reports directly to the Secretary General.
DIO selects audit and evaluation subjects for its annual work programme which is approved by the Secretary General. The DIO may not be prohibited from carrying out any investigation within the scope of his or her mandate.
This independence is also monitored by the Oversight Advisory Committee and the External Auditor.
More about the Oversight Advisory Committee
Oversight Advisory Committee
The Oversight Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe is one of the guarantees of the independence of DIO.
The OAC is established by the Committee of Ministers and composed of five members.
It performs its advisory function through independent appraisal of:
- internal and external audit work, risk management, internal controls, governance, and
- follow-up given to Evaluation, Internal Audit and External Audit recommendations.
The Oversight Advisory Committee meets at least twice a year and submits an annual report on the results of its activities to the Committee of Ministers. Where its monitoring and review of activities reveal cause for concern or scope for improvement, it makes recommendations on actions required.
The External Auditor is the supreme audit institution of a member state and is appointed by the Committee of Ministers for a non-renewable term of five years.
The External Auditor is fully independent in the conduct of audits that have to be performed in compliance with international auditing standards (INTOSAI and ISA).
The duties of the External Auditor are:
- to obtain assurance that the financial statements fairly present the financial position and the results of operations and cash flows of the Organisation, and have been prepared in accordance with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).
- to verify that the budgetary management accounts fairly present the financial records and transactions of the Organisation, and have been prepared in accordance with the CoE Financial Regulations and any other rules or applicable instructions issued by the Committee of Ministers.
If the External Auditor considers it useful, he/she may make observations as regards economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the financial procedures, the accounting system and the administration and management of the Organisation.
In October 2019, the French Cour des Comptes took over from the Polish NIK.
The Three Lines of Defense Model
Roles and responsibilities in terms of internal control need to be clearly defined so that each entity within the Organisation understands their role in addressing risk and control, the aspects for which they are accountable, and how they will coordinate their efforts with each other in order to avoid gaps or duplication of effort. The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) “Three Lines of Defense” model, which is reproduced hereafter, provides a simple and effective way to clarify roles and responsibilities.