Who audits the auditors?
The role of the National HR Audit Council
by Maropeng Sebothoma
The SABPP Audit Unit was established on 1 September 2014 at the 2nd Annual National HR Standards Conference. The first 18 months of the Audit Unit consisted of setting up the Audit Unit, training of auditors and the first set of HR Audits conducted in 17 organisations. Highlights of these audits were covered in the first Annual HR Audit Report released in September 2015 at the 3rd Annual National HR Standards Conference. The second Annual HR Audit Report will be released on 28 July at the 4th Annual HR Standards Conference. A solid foundation is in place to manage HR audits throughout South Africa, and a strong pool of auditors are ready to conduct HR audits.
On 18 November 2016 the new SABPP Board elected me to chair the Audit Council. During the first meeting of the Audit Council, Advocate Nomsa Wabani-Mazibuko was elected vice-chairperson. The purpose of the Audit Council is to provide independent oversight over the work of the Audit Unit. In essence, the Audit Council audits the audit unit and its auditors. Sound governance of HR audits is of utmost importance to ensure credibility, trust and sustainability of HR audits. The SABPP Audit Unit is the first national HR audit unit of its kind in the world. By providing world leadership in HR Audits against National HR Standards, SABPP is well positioned to continue playing this national and international HR Audit leadership role.
The structure of the SABPP Audit Unit is as follows:
The HR Audit Council fulfils three functions:
- Ensure that sound fit-for-purpose structures and processes are in place;
- Review audit reports;
- Stimulate continuous improvement.
The SABPP HR Audit Council was formed in 2016 and consists of HR Directors, Internal Auditors, Senior Audit Academics and other relevant thought leaders in providing independent oversight over the HR audits. Apart from the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, key members of the Audit Council are:
- Thandi Thankge, HR Executive: Air Traffic Navigation Services
- Wendy Mahuma, HR Executive: Auditor-General of South Africa
- Charles Nel, Audit Specialist: Institute of Internal Auditors
- Dr Shamila Singh, Interim Head: SABPP Audit Unit
- Malebo Maholo, Audit Officer: SABPP
- Marius Meyer, Chief Executive Officer: SABPP
We trust that this commitment to sound governance and continuous improvement of the Audit Unit will assist SABPP in positioning the audit unit as a centre of excellence, governance body and thought leader in the area of HR audits. We will continue to pursue our dream of raising the status, relevance and impact of HR, and we believe that HR Audits can play a key role in this regard. Only when all HR departments have been audited will we be able to proclaim that HR has reached the level of business credibility equivalent to that of financial departments. We thank you for your continued interest and commitment to improve your HR functions.
Maropeng Sebothoma is Chairperson of the HR Audit Council, a board member of SABPP and an HR Executive at SARS.