Audit Committees and their role in Academic Audit and Risk Practices in English Higher Education Institutions


  • Maggie Scott University of Salford


Higher education institutions, audit committees, academic risk, university governance, academic representation


This paper explores contemporary practices of Audit Committees (ACs) in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in England. The objectives are: (1) to evaluate the current transparency of public reporting by ACs; (2) to understand the roles of these Committees in relation to academic risk; (3) to assess the involvement of qualified academics in such Committees. This research surveys public materials provided on the websites of the 40 HEIs that hold University status and achieved ‘gold’ in the first UK Teaching Exercise Framework, in 2017 (OfS, 2022a). Only twenty percent of the Committees follow the transparent good practice of publishing minutes. While most reference a broad governance remit, only ten percent explicitly mention responsibility for ‘academic risk’. None require academic practitioners as members, and this is regarded as an important finding, given the role ACs are formally required to play in the supervision of and responsibility for academic audit and risk management.