Auditors in charity row

The General Practitioners Board has launched an inquiry into the relationship between the Charity Commission and auditors in the voluntary sector after it was dragged into a row over a letter criticising a charity auditor’s advice.

The GPB says a letter from the commission implied ‘indirectly’ that the auditor, Narracott & Co, did not properly advise its client, a small Warwickshire-based charity, on the correct format of accounts.

The commission is required to ensure that accounts submitted by charities are compliant with the statement of recommended practice.

The auditor asked the GPB to look into commission procedures after the charity he was working with received a letter issued ‘as an act of expediency’.

‘The letter we received from one of our members said the commission had jeopardised his relationship with a client,’ said GPB secretary Veronica Fulton.

‘We are trying to see if this was an isolated incident or if it was an endemic problem which we ought to address,’ she added.

David Narracott, a sole practioner, said he had submitted qualified accounts to the commission as they did not meet all SORP requirements or conditions.

‘It turned out that the procedures were sent out by computer and someone had pressed the wrong button. The commission should ensure that where letters are criticising auditors, they should be signed by somebody of appropriate authority,’ he added.

Narracott said the commission had apologised for the mistake but he was not convinced its procedures would prevent similar future incidents.

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