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FRC Guidance on Audit Committees

The FRC Group on Audit Committees, chaired by Sir Robert Smith, was tasked with developing the guidance on audit committees in the Combined Code. The group's report, commonly referred to as the Smith Guidance or the Smith Report, was published on 20 January 2003 and codified the role of audit committees. It was subsequently revised and is now known as the FRC Guidance on Audit Committees.

What's on this page?

  • The guidance
  • Background
  • Useful links
  • Archive
  • Articles and books from the Library

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The guidance

A revised version of the FRC Guidance on Audit Committees was published by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in September 2012.

At the same time, the FRC also published a Feedback statement: Revisions to the UK Corporate Governance Code and Guidance on Audit Committees which summarises the main points from the responses, the decisions taken by the FRC and the reasons for those decisions.

In response to requests for guidance on how audit committees evaluate the effectiveness of the external audit process, in May 2015 the FRC issued an Audit Quality Practice Aid to assist audit committees in evaluating audit quality.

The FRC opened a consultation on revisions to the Guidance on Audit Committees on 29 September 2015, with responses requested by 11 December 2015. 


The establishment of the FRC Group on Audit Committees was announced in the FRC press release 'FRC Group on Audit Committees starts work' on 12 September 2002. The terms of reference for the group were attached to the initial press release.

The original version of the guidance was entitled Audit Committees: Combined Code Guidance and was announced in the press release 'Sir Robert Smith launches report on audit committees' (PN70) on 20 January 2003.

The guidance has subsequently been revised and the latest version is available from the FRC website.

Useful links

FRC consultation on the implementation of the EU Audit Regulation and Directive
Information from the Audit Committee Institute (KPMG) on the FRC's consultation published in September 2015, summarising the points covered by the consultation. The ACI website includes a selection of specimen checklists, documents and reports.

Guidance for audit committees series 
A series of titles published by the ICAEW in May 2003 which were aimed at helping non-executive directors understand the proposals set out in the Smith Guidance. These are available as part of the ICAEW's corporate governance research reports and briefings.



In April 2012 the FRC launched a review of the UK Corporate Governance Code and the Guidance on Audit Committees. The full text of the consultation paper, Revisions to the UK Corporate Governance Code and Guidance on Audit Committees, and the Draft revised Guidance on Audit Committees are available to download from the FRC website. The consultation period closed on 13 July 2012.


A revised version of the FRC Guidance on Audit Committees was published by the FRC in December 2010.

Articles and books in the Library collection

Selected books

Click on the links below to see our catalogue record and holdings for each book. To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please contact us or see our guide to book loans.

The ICSA director's guide 
Bruce, M. (ICSA Information & Training, 2013)
This book covers essential information about the full-range of directors' duties and responsibilities. The appendices include guidance for directors on the Combined Code.

ICSA guidance on terms of reference audit committee 
(Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, 2013)
This guidance note reflects the updated UK Corporate Governance Code (the Code) and FRC Guidance on Audit Committees (the FRC Guidance).

Find more articles and books

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post, fax or email through our document supply service.

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