Quality of local authority audit under review

Practitioners who work in the local government sector and audit community are being urged to contribute to the government’s independent Redmond review into the quality and effectiveness of local authority audit

The review, led by former CIPFA president Sir Tony Redmond, was launched in July 2019 to examine the effectiveness of the audit and financial reporting of local authorities in England.

The review will also look at how councils publish their annual accounts and if their financial reporting system is sufficiently transparent to be held to account. It will examine whether the financial information provided in local authority accounts facilitates scrutiny by local taxpayers and by local press.

Local authorities in England are responsible for 22% of total UK public sector expenditure.

Under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, regulation of audit in the sector was revised, with the abolition of the centralised Audit Commission and its replacement with a new localised audit regime, refocussing local accountability on improved transparency.

Now the Act has been fully implemented, the government is required to review its effectiveness as part of five-year review programme.

Redmond said: ‘This call for evidence is a key part of my review of the effectiveness of audit in local authorities and the transparency of their financial reporting.

‘I will look to test the assurance processes in place with regard to value for money arrangements together with the financial resilience in local councils.

‘I am keen to hear from practitioners as well as the audit community, and will consider all information as I formulate my report to the Secretary of State.’

Redmond is expected to submit his report with initial recommendations in January, with a final report published in March 2020.

The Review of local authority financial reporting and external audit: call for views closes for comment on 22 November 2019. Views can be submitted by email at redmond.review@communities.gov.uk

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