Internal Audits

Internal Audits

Internal auditing is an independent and objective tool designed to add value and improve Competent Authority’s operations. It helps the Competent Authority to reach its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the activities, the risk management and the control and governance of the processes.

The audits are a systematic and independent examination to determine whether activities and related results comply with planned arrangements and whether these arrangements are implemented effectively and are suitable to achieve objectives.

Within the Veterinary Regulation Directorate is operating an internal audit system developed and implemented in line with provisions of Article 4(6) of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004. Audits are implemented according to the instructions provided by the Food Safety Commission, a public entity which is legally required to carry out internal audits on the CAs in terms of Regulation (EC) 882 of 2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules. As indicated in the Internal Audit Manual of the Food Safety Commission, internal audits are carried out within the VRD as part of the series of internal audits carried out by the various Competent Authorities (CAs) making up the Food Safety Commission. 

During 2015 the Veterinary Regulation Directorate developed guidelines for the internal audit system in order to provide guidance on the implementation of the internal audit system within the Directorate and with the aim to ensure consistency of the internal audit activity and improve its effectiveness, to adopt a systematic approach for the evaluation of the efficacy of control system adopted by each Unit of the VRD, and to avoid any bias.

During the internal audits carried out an integrated and systematic approach was used to analyse the activities performed by the Section examined and verify the compliance with the feed and food, animal health and animal welfare EU legislation and national rules and with the Multi Annual National Control Plan. 

The audits have been implemented following a described process in order to consider:
1. Verification of programmes and instructions. 
2. Verification of the effective implementation of the programme. 
3. Verification of the effectiveness of the control system. 

Risk assessment and prioritization of the activity 

In order to prioritize the audit activities for the period 2018-2020, a specific risk assessment has been carried out, using an approach based on the evaluation of threats and consequences for public health.

The hazards considered in the risk assessment are the different factors which can affect the appropriateness, efficiency and effectiveness of the controls. The possible presence of external unexpected threats which may influence the activity of the different VRD Units (e.g. emerging risk for animal health or food safety) were also considered.

Considering the difficulties for evaluating each threat in a quantitative manner, the risk assessment was carried out with a qualitative method.

The programme of the internal audit was developed according to the outcomes of the risks assessment identified and the general report of the audit activity is available in the annual report of the Veterinary Regulation Directorate.