News in brief.

Deloitte & Touche has been fined #30,000 and severely reprimanded by the ICAEW over failures in its audit procedures after signing off unqualified audit reports for a company between 1995 and 1998. An investigation committee of the institute found the firm had failed to conduct its audit of the unnamed company in accordance with auditing standards as it ‘failed to obtain adequate evidence to confirm that income was applied for the purposes provided’. The ICAEW refused to disclose which company was involved.

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Tenon this week completed the #30m acquisition of the non-audit business of the Independent Partnership – formerly BDO Stoy Hayward’s East Midlands office. Chief executive Ian Buckley said: ‘The acquisition of this high-quality businesses pushes us closer to achieving our stated goal of annual turnover of more than #100m by the end of next year.’ The Nottingham office made the news earlier this year after Linda Woodward, from its internal accounts department, was jailed for fraud.

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Andersen has joined its Big Five rivals in making redundancies. It has announced it is to slash 5% of its staff as the downturn in the UK economy begins to bite harder. Staff were informed last week but discussions over redundancy packages will take place over the next two months. Andersen said the job cuts will affect around 350 people of ‘all seniority levels’ from its 7,000 staff in the UK. Job losses will go in all areas of the firm’s services. Andersen has almost 500 partners and was growing at 10% as at June 2001.

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District auditor John Magill, a former partner at Deloitte & Touche, has launched his appeal in the House of Lords to overturn previous judgements in the long-running Westminster City Council’s ‘homes for votes’ scandal.

The Court of Appeal found in 1999 that Westminster councillors, including Dame Shirley Porter, had behaved entirely properly over the designate sales policy, throwing out the #26.5m surcharge placed on the councillors.

The hearing is expected to last two weeks.

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David Turnbull, UK 200 Group chief executive, has decided to retire from next May to focus his energies on developing his own practice. Kevin Hayman, the president of the UK 200 Group, paid tribute to Turnbill’s leadership, energy and drive and tremendous contribution in building the group to its present strength extending nationally and internationally: ‘Because of the contribution he has made over the last 15 years, David Turnbull is leaving the UK 200 Group in good shape for a smooth transfer to his successor.’

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Andersen has been recruited to carry out a solvency audit into Lloyd’s of London, in a bid to discover if the insurer is capable of paying the estimated #6bn bill following the 11 September attacks. The Big Five firm has been appointed by US insurance regulators eager to find out whether the insurance market can meet the costs after suffering large natural disaster and asbestosis-related claims.

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The Confederation of British Industry has warned chancellor Gordon Brown there is no room for tax hikes when he announces his pre-Budget report later this month. Making the comments at its annual conference in Birmingham yesterday, the CBI said there was no room for new spending initiatives, adding the government should stick to its current spending plans to strengthen the economic infrastructure.

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Owner-managed businesses continue to rank ‘building the value of the business’ as their greatest concern, new research has revealed. A yearly survey of 2,400 OMBs conducted by Grant Thornton showed owners’ main concerns continued to be building value, the economic climate and retaining and motivating staff. Other worries include growing level of red tape, the tax burden, succession planning and access to finance.

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MPs on the Treasury select committee have complained that auditing arrangements for life companies are inadequate, following the Financial Services Authority’s report on Equitable Life Assurance. Responding to the criticisms, the Treasury said the FSA was considering the framework for regulatory returns. For more on Equitable got to

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