Ministers favour transfer of Audit Commission work to private sector

LOCAL COUNCILS today received a letter detailing the disbanding of the Audit Commission and the transfer of its work to the private sector.

Sent by the Communities and Local Government Department, the letter revealed that ministers favour outsourcing all in-house audits to private firms, saying this provides the best value for money.

Minister Grant Shapps MP said: “We are working closely with the Audit Commission on options to transfer the audit practice into the private sector…We are determined to make sure that councils and other local bodies’ interests are fully taken into account in any transition.”

Last year it was announced that the Audit Commission would be broken up; some experts are calling for its technical staff to form a mutual to take on all or some of the former body’s work, saying it could be a viable competitor and reduce the dominance of the Big Four.

A consultation is ongoing on the future of public audit and stakeholders have until 30 June to respond. The government has proposed local public bodies should be free to appoint their own auditors, with a statutory framework for regulation and oversight provided by the National Audit Office.

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