Director of Compliance, Tania Stegemann, helps you to prepare for a safeguarding audit in a monthly column.

 

Audit update

Following on the from the recent announcements regarding the transition to ACSL, I thought it would be a good time to provide an update on the audit framework going forward.

ACSL Audits Continuing
The ACSL Board has confirmed that ACSL will continue to conduct safeguarding audits into 2021.  Whilst the broader risk-based framework for audit/reviews is being developed, ACSL will continue to schedule and undertake safeguarding audits where requested by a Church Authority - including those which had been previously scheduled.  We have a number of entities who were preparing for an audit in 2021 so we will be following up with those entities in coming weeks to confirm scheduling and progress the audit planning.  If you are considering an audit in 2021 and would like ACSL to undertake the audit, please get in touch.
 
If you are interested in ACSL undertaking the safeguarding audit for your entity, the process to initiate an audit remains the same, with an entity completing the “Schedule 2” document with their demographic information (size of entity, locations, ministries etc) and forwarding this to us so that we can prepare an audit scope and quote.  Once the audit scope and quote is agreed, ACSL prepares a Service Agreement and forwards to the Church Authority for execution.  This then puts the entity into the ACSL audit pipeline.  Whilst the exact timing of the audit is not required at that stage, we normally request an indication of the potential commencement of the audit, e.g. Quarter 2 2021, Quarter 3 2021 etc.

Should you have any queries on the audit process or would like to begin discussing a safeguarding audit, please contact me: Tania Stegemann, Director of Compliance – tania@acsltd.org.au or call 1300 603 411.
 
Preparation for Audit
As part of the preparation for an ACSL audit, the Church Authority is requested to complete a self-assessment of their compliance with the NCSS.  The self-assessment document is due to ACSL around 3-4 weeks prior to the commencement of the audit and uses the same four point scale as the audit report, i.e. for each NCSS Indicator, the entity is required to rate their compliance as:

  • Managed and Measurable: the entity can demonstrate that the Indicator requirements are formally embedded and are operating effectively and continuously within the entity;  OR
  • Defined and Developed: the entity has addressed the Indicator and can demonstrate that it is in the process of implementing the requirements across the entity;  OR
  • Initial/Ad-Hoc: the entity can demonstrate that it has commenced work to address the Indicator, however processes are ad-hoc or are still being applied on a case-by-case basis;  OR
  • Not Addressed: the entity has not addressed the required Indicator or is unable to demonstrate that the requirements of the Indicator are in place and/or are operating effectively and continuously.

To date, Church Authorities have been very thorough in their completion of the self-assessment document, however we have noted that once we get into the audit fieldwork, certain documentation is not in place or certain pieces of evidence are not readily available for review.  To assist entities to be more prepared and to further clarify audit expectations, we are developing and will soon make available an Audit Preparation Checklist which will sit alongside the self-assessment and which will give further information/guidance on the type and nature of audit evidence that is required to satisfy each Indicator.  Whist the Audit Preparation Checklist will assist entities with being ready for the audit itself, it will also be another tool to build safeguarding capacity within an organisation and assist in achieving compliance with the NCSS.

For any queries relating to safeguarding audits, please contact Tania Stegemann, Director of Compliance on 1300 603 411 or my new email address: 
tania@acsltd.org.au