District Audit fights back.

District Audit has defended itself against scathing criticism by saying it does train enough staff and does not rely on short-term workers from abroad to carry out public-sector audits, writes Gavin Hinks. David Prince, chief executive at District Audit, said the public-sector audit body had increased its training budget, the number of trainees was up and staff retention was good. He was responding to an attack by KPMG which, in submissions to the Commons environment subcommittee, had claimed District Audit was threatening the future of public-sector audit because it failed to invest in training and instead employed temporary foreign staff to maximise income. Appearing before the committee, Prince said: ‘We are not systematically seeking to recruit staff from overseas.’ He said staff were taken from agencies but checks were carried out to ensure they had the right visas and qualifications. He added there was no ‘extensive’ reliance on contractors to carry out audits. ‘All our audits are managed by auditors who are full-time staff,’ he said. The committee was hearing the evidence as part of its investigation into the Audit Commission and has been told by KPMG that District Audit also controls too large a share at 70% of the market. The Audit Commission will give evidence on 1 March.

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