5.14 Assurance

The level of inquiry or assurance applicable to an environmental or social audit depends on the type of audit being conducted, the authority for the audit (internal, external, voluntary, mandatory and/or statutory) and an organisation’s internal auditing standards or mandatory or statutory requirements.

ISO 19011:2011 provides guidance on this subject; however, a number of other guidance documents or required standards can be useful for audits in or of the mining industry. They include ASAE 3000 Assurance engagements other than audits or reviews of historical financial information (2007) and ASAE 3100 Compliance engagements (2008), issued by the Australian Government’s Auditing and Assurance Standards Board; guidance information on contaminated site investigations from the National Environment Protection Council and most state and territory governments; and the ‘all appropriate inquiry’ regulation issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Subtitle B of Title II of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002.

For environmental and social audits, ‘materiality’ relates to the extent to which the auditor believes that the report could be misstated and still not affect the decisions of reasonable users.

Consideration of materiality assists in planning an efficient and effective audit, as trivial items can be ignored and the audit procedures can be conducted in areas considered to be of higher importance or risk, providing a greater level of assurance.

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