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ACCA not satisfied with public audit plans

09 July, 2011

ACCA is not satisfied that all of the checks and balances required for strong public audits are being fully addressed, after taking into account both the Select Committee’s report and the DCLG’s consultation.

John Davies, head of technical dept. at ACCA, commenting on the Communities & Local Government Select Committee's report on the Future of Local Government Audit said; 'In our view, a key question that the Government needs to address is whether it is satisfied that its proposals for local government audits won’t place significant amounts of public money at risk or would not fail to provide assurance about value for money. Right now, we’re not convinced the Department of Communities and Local Government - DCLG could give a justifiably positive answer.'

ACCA further suggested that the existing plans, giving local authorities a way to appoint their own auditors, would possibly lead to wasted funds and lack of assurance about value for money.

They also raised serious questions as to the way in which the decision to abolish the Audit Committee had been taken. Davies said that it lacked supportive financial and qualitative data and that it was disappointing to read that the minister could not provide any evidence to support the predicted £50m of savings that were announced.

Davies added that ACCA agrees with the Committee’s key recommendation that the Government undertakes a more considered review of public audit in the long-term. In ACCA’s view, a 'big picture' review will help to build a framework for a public audit which is consistent across all public bodies, easily understood by the public and fit for the future.'