Audit – Kinnock’s audit reform scheme.

A new Internal Audit Service and an Audit Progress Board are among key reforms proposed by European Commission vice-president Neil Kinnock last week to clear up fraud and reform financial management in the EC. Proposals for a new audit service come as a consultation report concluded that audit services in the commission needed to be ‘radically overhauled, brought up-to-date and made consistent with best practice’. The service, which should be in place by the middle of this year, will carry out examinations of the commission’s internal controls, management systems and performance. It is also intended to provide advice to management. A progress board, within the responsibility of the budget commissioner, will ensure the recommendations are followed up. A statement from Kinnock’s office said: ‘These measures will secure better decision-making, more strictly measured outputs, greater value for money, and a new level of accountability. The aim is to put results, not bureaucratic procedures, at the heart of financial management.’ The reform proposals come after the resignation of the entire commission in March last year following the disclosure of financial irregularities by whistleblower Paul Van Buitenen who called publicly for reforms. Van Buitenen found widespread support within the profession and was voted personality of the year last year, by readers of Accountancy Age. Creation of the new bodies will involve the abolition of existing sections within the commission and will require legislative changes by the European Parliament and Council. A plan produced as part of the report includes 84 points for action.

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