§ Mr. Timothy Smith
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many computer auditors are employed by health authorities in England and Wales; and to whom they report;
(2) how many internal auditors are employed by health authorities in England and Wales; and to whom they report.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg:
Information about the numbers and specialisms of internal auditors is not collected routinely. A study undertaken in 1978 showed there were the equivalent of 580 whole-time staff engaged on internal audit duties in England and Wales. I will write to my hon. Friend when the results of a recent enquiry are available. As regards computer auditors, a survey in June 1982 by the external auditors of health authorities, who are appointed by my right hon. Friend, showed that about a third of authorities had staff to carry out computer audit; others are in the process of making appropriate arrangements, some by appointing professional firms.
Internal audit staff normally report to the treasurer of the authority, with the chief internal auditor having a right of direct access to the chairman of the authority in exceptional circumstances.
As announced in a Departmental press release (82/269) on 27 August 1982, the future arrangements for audit in the NHS are currently under review by a working group chaired by Mr. Patrick Salmon, chairman of the South-West Surry health authority.