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Internal Audit in Local Government

The role of internal audit in Central Government has recently changed for two reasons. The current administration’s modernising agenda has encouraged departments to become more accountable to the electorate whilst also performing their duties along more commercial lines where possible. Linked with this process has been the move to a more risk-based approach to internal audit that is becoming universal in the private sector.

This has led to a move away from traditional systems based auditing to a greater concentration on corporate governance and a control culture. Another benefit of having more efficient controls, coupled with greater transparency in the decision and policy making processes of government, should make accusations of sleaze and waste both less frequent and more readily investigated.

Recruitment in Central Government

Central Government has traditionally been recognised in the recruitment market as providing well-trained internal auditors who subsequently move on to roles in the private sector. In recent years, the realisation that the public sector has to market itself as an attractive employer, coupled with initiatives to commercialise and modernise the auditing and accounting methods, have slowed the migration of internal auditors away from Central Government.

Employment of temporary and contract workers within Government has existed for a number of years, largely in order to cover vacant posts created by departures to the private sector or budget restrictions. This is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.