The NAO is the UK’s independent public spending watchdog. We support Parliament in holding government to account and help improve public services through our high quality audits across bodies including the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the BBC.
We are looking for someone with the experience to develop and lead our sustainability / ESG assurance work. This is a fantastic opportunity to influence the development of sustainability reporting and assurance across the UK public sector, including through working with international standard setters to influence the development of public sector standards.
You will lead the development of our ESG assurance practice including developing relevant frameworks and our methodology for carrying out ESG report reviews, delivering end-to-end non-financial assurance engagements, and helping to build sustainability and ESG capability across the NAO.
The Audit Managers: Sustainability / ESG Assurance is responsible for:
• Development and implementation of our non-financial assurance methodology / framework for sustainability and ESG auditing;
• Lead our sustainability / ESG non-financial audit and assurance reviews to high quality standards;
• Devise and undertake relevant testing to audit sustainability metrics;
• Work directly with clients and stakeholders to provide preliminary / pre-assurance work and to build confidence around non-financial reporting;
• Collaborate with colleagues (including client service teams) to continually enhance, embed, and mature our ESG assurance methodology and frameworks;
• Facilitating the provision of expert advice and opinion on non-financial assurance and reporting matters across government including engaging with standard setters to influence the development of new public sector sustainability reporting and assurance standards;
• Keeping abreast of significant future developments, changes, emerging trends, and issues in the external environment which could impact on our non-financial assurance work and for our clients / stakeholders;
• Liaising with the knowledge management function to increase awareness and increased capability of sustainability and ESG; and
• Developing external networks and an internal network of staff working on issues relating to ESG reporting.
• Reports to: Director, Financial Audit Practice and Quality
• Internal relationships: Key stakeholders will include the Financial and Risk Management Hub and Climate and Environment Network, financial audit and value for money delivery teams
• External relationships: External knowledge experts within government specialist functions and in relevant bodies nationally and internationally, e.g. HM Treasury, ISSB (International Sustainability Standards Board), IAASB (International Auditing and Assurance Standards Boards), IPSASB (International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board), CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy), ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales).
• Resources: Initially a small team, but this will grow over time and will include budgetary responsibilities commensurate to the size of the team.
Skills and Experience
• Is a self-starter who is excited to build and grow the ESG assurance practice within the NAO;
• Has a sound knowledge of good practice in sustainability / ESG assurance and reporting and an up-to-date understanding of the challenges of non-financial reporting in public sector organisations;
• Is credible and has proven experience of performing high quality sustainability / ESG assurance work against recognized assurance standards such as ISAE3000;
• Is able to lead a portfolio of work demonstrating attention to detail, critical thinking, and a strong ability to work across a diverse range of clients and stakeholders;
• Is able to leverage relevant prior learnings, experience, and continuous improvement
• Has strong and proven ability to make sound, independent judgements and to act with authority when advising others;
• Has excellent communication, relationship management and influencing skills with the ability to work collaboratively and comfortable engaging across all organisational levels ; and
• Is highly credible and with the ability to build and maintain effective relationships both internally and externally.
• Has the ability to support, manage and motivate a diverse team and inspire others, helping them to achieve their potential
• Qualified accountant (Chartered Accountant or international equivalent)
• Understanding and experience of sustainability / ESG assurance and reporting frameworks, principles and standards including: the GHG protocol - Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions, Greening Government Commitments, Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, , UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and CDP standard of environmental reporting
• Experience of delivering limited and reasonable assurance services under standards such as ISAE3000
• Excellent people management skills, ability to work collaboratively with colleagues and demonstrable experience coaching teams.
• Strong organisational skills, initiative, proactive approach to problem solving and an ability to work in a dynamic environment.
• Excellent IT skills, in particular Microsoft Office Suite - Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
• Experience or knowledge of public sector and government