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11th January 2021

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CHEA January 2021 Update Nkechi Ijeomah

Message from the Chair

Welcome to this first Update for 2021. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and enjoyed some time off. Unfortunately 2021 seems to be starting with as much or even more uncertainty and change as we experienced in 2020. The news of the last-minute Brexit deal has been eclipsed by escalating numbers of Coronavirus cases and at the time of writing England, Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are all in national lockdowns.  Things will surely get better!

Happy new year!

Juliet Simpson, Chair of CHEIA
Head of Internal Audit, Newcastle University

Happy New Year
Happy new year to you all. 2020 was a challenging year for internal audit, and for the whole world – and 2021 is likely to continue that wayAs always, CHEIA is here to support you in delivering your internal audit and related services, and in your professional and personal development. We plan to keep members up to date, via the resources on our website and our ongoing online Bitesize sessions which deal with some of the main issues of the day. You can also use the Discussion Board on the website to seek input from the wider CHEIA community, on any topic. You can also help us to build up the resources on the website, by submitting your own material, for example:
- template documents (terms of reference, reports, working papers)
- work plans for particular audits (risk and control matrices or the like)
- audit policy papers / statements (such as how reports are graded, how we decide whether recommendations are H/M/L etc), business plans, resourcing strategies / models, training plans, QAIPs, etc.
This list is by no means exhaustive and we would welcome any resources that you find creative or useful. Thank you in advance.  

CHEIA Bitesize Events
Hopefully you have seen amongst your more recent emails a reminder for our next Bitesize session on 14 January 2021 at 11 am. The session will be on Data Protection in 2021, led by Paul Shomeful and Jeremy Pauls from Org. Please register on the website:  
The Bitesize sessions helped us to stay connected with colleagues and share experiences in 2020. In our December ‘Bitesize’, David Tiernan of Deloitte LLP shared an insight from the Deloitte Global Internal Audit Survey as to what Audit Committee Chairs think about Internal Audit and what they think Internal Audit needs to do to keep itself relevant in current times.
The messages are relevant and present some real challenges and opportunities for us all to consider in our own environments. The slides of the Deloitte Survey outcomes are available to members on the CHEIA website and there is a series of questions posed by the Deloitte Survey in the Discussions area of the website. We would love to hear your thoughts and views on these - do take time to join in the discussions. We all know how much we valued the opportunities to discuss issues such as this in “the good old days” when we were able to meet up face to face. Sadly this is still not possible so the Discussion forum provides a good alternative.
We have received some positive feedback on the Bitesize sessions, so the Executive plan to continue them for the foreseeable future. If you have any suggestions for future topics or any other comments, please email

Data Analytics
In November, Malcolm Zack, Group Internal Audit Director for Element Materials Technology, delivered a Bitesize session on Data Analytics in a Small Internal Audit Function.
We all read in the magazines and hear in talks by the CIIA and others about how data analytics is now an essential part of the toolbox for internal audit functions, and for some it is. Many of us however probably feel that we could and should be doing more, but the fact that we are only small functions with limited budgets stops us from developing this capability to its best use.
Malcolm gave an interesting and thought-provoking presentation and demonstration on what they have been able to achieve, and some food for thought about areas where applying data analytics is likely to provide benefits. The slides from Malcolm’s presentation are available to members on the CHEIA website. If you have experience of using data analytics, and use it in your IA team and are willing to share your experience, we would love to know. There is a question in the Discussions area on the website – please share your thoughts and experience on this topic.
You may know that the CIIA has recently formed a Data Analytics self-help group for IA functions of all sizes, budgets and sectors, looking to develop their capabilities. If you would like to join this group please contact Derek Jamieson at

BUFDG Audit Survey
BUFDG have announced that the annual audit survey will take place in March 2021. They are doing this a bit later than usual to accommodate institutions who are taking advantage of the later accounts’ submission date. To make this Survey a useful tool for the sector, please look out for it and encourage the responsible officer in your institution to complete it. Only those who complete the survey receive the report that is produced.

Monthly Updates in 2021
As mentioned in December 2020, we are looking for more input from CHEIA members in the Monthly Updates. If you have any tips, short pieces or links to yours or other blogs which will be relevant or of interest to the HE Internal Audit Community we want to hear from you. Our next Update will be on 8 February, so please send in your contribution on or before 1 February.

BUFDG Conference
BUFDG ( has announced the date for their annual conference for 2021. This year, they will be broadening the attendees to include many more people than usual, therefore the cost of the conference will be on an institutional, rather than individual basis. Some of the speakers have already been announced but the programme continues to be updated. Do check with your colleagues if you can be part of the booking to take advantage of the sessions on offer.

Auditor Spotlight
Jane Burdett, Principal Auditor, Nottingham Trent University
1. Why did you become an internal auditor?
Pure chance. I was working at the University of Nottingham in Finance on a temporary contract but was looking for a part time job, having got young children. The job agency rang about my next contract but when I told them I was looking for a part-time job to my surprise they had the Internal Audit job at Nottingham Trent University. I had no Internal Audit experience but I did have experience of the education sector having also worked at a College.
2. What is your favourite CHEIA memory?
Has to be Scotland and the Ceilidh dancing. Great fun and the memory still makes me smile.
3. What are your hobbies/interests outside of audit?
Jogging, cycling and general exercise classes. I’ve also been known to do a bit of downhill mountain biking and tombstoning (both of which I retired from after my first attempt). I have also recently discovered gardening and growing my own vegetables.
4. What’s your favourite food and drink?
I’ve been vegan for the last 24 months and my tastes have changed quite a bit. But my son does make a really good no-cheese pizza. Favourite drink is gin.
5. Where is the best place you’ve visited and where would you most like to go?
I went to Thailand at the beginning of 2020, before COVID-19 struck. The contrast between busy Bangkok and the tranquillity of the Islands was amazing. I plan to visit Vietnam next, when possible.
6. What is the most annoying habit that other people have?

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