Scrap the Audit Commission, MP urges government

houses parliament

The government has been urged to scrap the Audit Commission and bring back
old-fashioned audits that can be questioned in the Commons.

The demand was made in a special Commons Westminster Hall debate called by
Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger to complain that the commission has moved too far
from regulatory audits to value-for-money exercises. He dismissed these as
little more than local authorities themselves ‘ticking boxes’ to win ‘stars’ for
their performance.

He told Accountancy Age: ‘No one is doing what I regard as “proper
auditing” and checking that what is reported is actually what is happening.’

Liddell-Grainger wanted a return to a system supervised by ministers, able to
be questioned in the Commons, under which an auditor inspected a local
authority’s books and held hearings on any complaints which were raised if he
considered them serious enough to warrant it.

An Audit Commission spokeswoman said audit appointments were independent and,
under principle, auditors should look at value for money.

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