Who audits the audit?

October 18, 2002

Audit is usually associated with testing veracity rather than with seeking to raise standards ("A system poisoned by deceit", THES , October 4).

The focus can be the system of accountability from which, for example, performance indicators are derived, or parts of the system, such as the link between inputs and outputs.

There are measurement problems in both academic and financial audits relating to the stability, objectivity and quantifiability of variables.

It is simplistic to view the outcome of the auditing process as a simple pass or fail. There are shades of grey that require the exercise of independent professional judgement relative to established standards.

But do such standards exist in the context of academic review and is adequate training available to develop appropriate independent professional judgement on the part of the academic auditors?

Richard Wilson
Committee of Heads of Accounting
Loughborough University

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