Pickles: 100% of public audit to private sector

ALL IN-HOUSE AUDIT Commission public audit work will be outsourced in the next financial year, the Department for Communities and Local Government has revealed.

Firms will compete for the work through a “fair and competitive procurement process” that prioritises value for taxpayers’ money, said Communities secretary Eric Pickles.

A mutual formed of commission staff – one option mooted to protect expertise and create a new Big Four competitor – would also be able to bid, with arrangements in place to prohibit any unfair advantage.

Pickles said: “This government is determined to refocus local audit on helping local people hold councils to account. We believe that the next step is to outsource the audit practice next year as a way to secure best value for money.”

His was one of the principle voices behind the scrapping of the Audit Commission in August 2010, which proponents claimed would create a saving of £50m per year.

The sums have since been questioned by stakeholders including the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, which criticised the department for failing to provide evidence to justify its decision.


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