While the Comptroller and Auditor General must, by necessity, maintain an ‘arm’s length’ relationship with both the HEA and HEIs, it is also important that a good working relationship is maintained to ensure full understanding of C&AG findings and timely interventions where issues have been identified.
To facilitate this, the HEA schedules formal meetings with the C&AG on a quarterly basis. These meetings focus in particular on the status of C&AG audits of financial statements of HEIs and the identification of any issues or difficulties arising (e.g. non-compliance with procurement requirements). Where issues arise that are not previously known to the HEA, it allows for earlier intervention with the relevant institution in order to address them.
The C&AG can also commission special reports with regard to a particular issue identified in the course of its regular work (e.g. governance concerns in a particular HEI), or on a particular cross-sectoral theme (e.g. capital investment) and the HEA works with it to facilitate these undertakings with relevant HEIs.