Audit committees that are fit for practice and fit for purpose

The King's Fund
Event type: 
Board Leadership Programme

About this event

This event is aimed at audit committee members (existing and new) and will be a comprehensive review of what constitutes a highly effective audit committee in the current environment. The Francis review, how audit handles quality and the growing need for transparency around risk and business management are subjects that boards are currently engaging with.

This session, chaired by Deborah Harris, Audit Committee Chairman at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, will hear from Neil Thomas, Partner with global professional services firm KPMG LLP. Neil will cover issues such as:

  • assessing audit committee effectiveness.
  • ways to embed continuous improvement.
  • maintaining the balance between disclosure to the public and confidential internal reporting.
  • how to ensure risk management processes address what is important to the trust – avoiding this being a 'tick box' exercise.

The speakers

Deborah Harris

Deborah Harris joined the board of Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in 2008 where she also chairs the audit committee.

Deborah is a director and consultant with DHUA Limited, a financial management, corporate strategy and technology management consultancy specialising is risk management and corporate governance solutions for both the private public sector. Deborah's expertise and specific interest is in corporate governance and financial services.

Deborah trained as an auditor with PwC before moving into corporate finance with investment banks Kleinwort Benson, Nomura Securities and Daiwa Securities working in Eastern Europe, the United States, Commonwealth of Independent States, Singapore and Tokyo. She moved into venture capital, specialising in technology and biomedical start-ups and launched the first consortium and board-level business support service for UK business angels.

Deborah is a chartered accountant and is the first female Chair of the ICAEW Non-Executive Director Group. She is also the first female Chair of the ICAEW's Special Interest Group Chair's Committee and a member of the Institute's Member Services Board.

In 2013, Deborah was appointed to the London Society of Chartered Accountant's main committee. Also in 2013, she also led the non-executive director reference panel responding to the Care Quality Commission and Department of Health consultations on corporate accountability.

Neil Thomas

Neil Thomas is the UK Head of Healthcare Audit and has more than 18 years' professional service experience with KPMG. Neil's client portfolio is now extensively within education and health care offering non-executive directors (NEDs), boards, board committees and senior health executives both advisory and audit (internal and external) services. Clients include clinical commissioning groups, NHS trusts, NHS foundation trusts and other bodies within public and third sector. He leads on a number of health and education internal and external audit engagements. Neil is also the KPMG lead liaison with Monitor, the Care Quality Commission and the Department of Health.

Neil has worked with aspirant foundation trusts as well as providing due diligence work for existing foundation trusts. His experience enables NEDs of audit committees to access his wide understanding of the financial accounting and governance regimes in the health care and education sectors. Having led KPMG's initiative in 2009 to support its NHS clients converting from UK GAAP to IFRS, Neil also brings in-depth insight to risk management and critical board assurance issues, health care strategy, business planning, organisational and resource accounting methodologies.