Audit report expected today

Trade secretary Patricia Hewitt is expected to outline the government’s position yesterday (Tuesday). But this was put back by 24 hours, after officials were forced to spend the weekend rewording the report, following the committee’s decision to publish its own report on Tuesday.

Hewitt is set to tell MPs nothing would be ruled out of a fuller DTI audit review. But she is expected to outline the areas on which ministers would concentrate.

In particular the DTI wants to ensure audit partner rotation is effective and audit committees strengthened – with auditors no longer seeing a finance director as his or her client.

The government also wants to see firms apply a principles-based approach to defining the non-audit services that should not be provided to audit clients.

And while ministers want to see the Foundation’s funding base widened, a lack of alternatives means change is unlikely in the short-term.

The DTI’s is likely to mirror that taken by the Treasury committee, which did not go as far as some critics had expected.

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