Internal auditors should be allowed unrestricted access to charities and the ability to attend and observe board meetings, a new code of practice has said.
The new code of practice for internal auditors from the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors, which was published today, makes 38 recommendations to improve corporate governance in the private and voluntary sectors.
Other recommendations include allowing internal auditors to have direct lines to chief executives.
Every charity and business should employ a chief internal auditor, even in cases where the internal audit function is outsourced, the code says.
It says this would ensure the chief internal auditors have access to key management information and decisions.
Regular communication and sharing of information between the internal auditors and external auditors is also recommended in the code to ensure both carry out their duties effectively.
Brendan Nelson, chair of the Internal Audit Code of Practice Steering Committee, said: "Strong, effective and well-resourced internal audit functions have a central role to play in supporting boards to better manage and mitigate the risks they face.
"I urge boards, and in particular audit committees, to apply appropriately the Internal Audit Code of Practice to increase the effectiveness of their internal audit functions in the pursuit of stronger corporate governance and risk management."