Public Sector – Audit Commission scrutinised

The government has commissioned a team of Birmingham-based academics to carry out a review of the internal workings of the Audit Commission.

A joint team from Birmingham University’s School of Public Policy and Aston Business School has been briefed to produce a report and recommendations by the end of the year.

The team, which is led by Professor Michael Clarke, will carry out the second stage of a financial management and policy review of the local authority and NHS watchdog, which will examine its structure, procedures, internal controls, and controls over auditors it appoints to carry out its work.

A first stage of the investigation – prior options one – concluded that the commission’s functions were necessary and were best carried out in-house.

– Westminster City Council, the Conservative-controlled London borough at the centre of the Dame Shirley Porter homes-for-votes scandal, has been criticised in an audit report for not recovering the £12.5m which was spent on house repairs.

The report, published last Friday by district auditor David Chilcott, blames some senior officers and elected council members for failing to recover money spent on repairs from homeowners legally bound to repay it.

The Ernst & Young auditor’s report examined up to £30m spent on a housing renovation programme which was started in 1986-1987 on former council flats.

Many of these had been sold under the controversial home-ownership policy.

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