The public sector encompasses all bodies involved with the development or implementation of Government policy or the provision of a service to the community. They include Local and Central Government, the NHS, housing associations, educational institutions and other public authorities. Vacancies for internal auditors exist as temporary assignments, fixed term contracts and permanent roles and can be found throughout the UK.
Central Government comprises a number of departments in the public eye as their respective Ministers appear in the media. Each department has a closely defined area of responsibility such as Work and Pensions or Environment, Food and Rural Affairs or the country as a whole, as at the Home Office.
Beyond these central departments are Government organisations like the Environment Agency or the Highways Agency. Each of these has a smaller remit with specific areas of interest. Most are self-explanatory, the area of interest being in the name of the agency. Each agency is tied to the Central Government department that shares the interest.
Quangoes, or Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPB’s), are similar to agencies though they have a greater degree of financial autonomy and, if anything, an even more closely defined area of interest. Quangoes are established by Acts of Parliament and their functions vary according to the needs of the time. Many are simply committees that convene occasionally to provide advice on issues such as food safety or other hazards. Other quangoes are far larger. The British Council, for example, is a global organisation promoting training, education and British industry and influence around the world.
Most of these bodies have an internal audit function of some kind although they can make use of the services of a parent or sponsor body in some instances, particularly in the smaller quangoes. Agencies tend to be more directly linked to Central Government departments that often provide them with their internal audit service.