More about the Clear Lines on Audit and Risk

Why we’re here Integrity standards The structure of the Clear Lines WordPressing

Why we’re here

The Clear Lines came out of working in the Australian Government. They also came out of mysteries in internal audit and risk management, for which explanations are not in common circulation and are not taught by authoritative sources.

There are such mysteries at all levels, from very basic practice details, up to the whole concept and purpose of risk management or internal audit. Many of the Clear Lines cross the big gulfs between formal risk management standards and the ‘standard’ risk management practices so often recycled in organisations and training materials.

The Clear Lines admire Norman Marks on Governance, Risk Management, and Audit and align with Norman on most points, but there is a big difference in the style and the intended audience. Norman Marks addresses the boardroom and a global assembly of experts, whereas the Clear Lines are for ordinary folks struggling with basic problems. The Clear Lines have had many basic problems, and have often taken wrong corners.

Integrity standards

The Clear Lines on Audit and Risk are independent from advertisers and from formal organisations. The Lines have taken the Pro-Truth Pledge and commit to the ethical codes of the Institute of Internal Auditors and ISACA.

The Clear Lines commit to publishing sincere and constructive critical opinions alongside the original Clear Lines, subject to style, tone, and relevance. Errors made by the Clear Lines will be acknowledged publicly. For example, the Clear Lines article Likelihood of a future event count within a range, from a history of events acknowledges changes from critical review (on LinkedIn).

The structure of the Clear Lines

There are a moderate number of audit and risk topics addressed by the Clear Lines, as listed on the home page.

For each series there may be separate article series for Everyone, for Specialists, and for the Australian Government. ‘Everyone’, ‘Specialists’, and ‘Australian Government’ are considered as streams, with plenty of cross-references between the different stream series on the same topic. ‘Everyone’ stream articles assume no prior expertise in the field. There are actually some further reader streams, not shown in the main menus or home page.

Within each topic, stream and series, articles are organised in drill-down layers, and often in sequence at the same layer.

Each page begins with a clickable summary in a box, which also encloses a reminder of what you should have read first. At the bottom of each page you find links to next reading, drill-down and parent articles. Top-level overview pages link to a complete map of articles on each topic.

Article status values

Many articles are designated as Alpha or Beta. Alpha means an idea with no qualifying credentials. Beta is the one you will see most. A Beta article has had some validation by the Clear Lines and published standards, but not enough from other practitioners. Some articles have no status shown, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t comment on those, too.

Article version numbering

Like software, articles have a two-part version number. The part before the decimal point indicates the iteration of the Clear Lines approach to the topic. Increments at that level are infrequent. The post-decimal part indicates the iteration of the article within the broader topic.


The Clear Lines are managed using the content management system with the (now unsupported) Popper theme, which not only looks classically formal and decisive, but refers to the philosopher Karl Popper, who drew many clear lines himself. An irresistible connection.

Page content HTML is partly generated in an Access database, for the navigation elements in the headers and footers. Other tables and diagrams are created painstakingly in hand-coded HTML. That detail alone should make clear that the Clear Lines are a retirement project.

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