FRC scraps probe into BDO’s role as Healthcare Locums auditor

THE FRC has scrapped its investigation into BDO’s role in signing off the accounts of Healthcare Locums, the staffing agency which suspended its shares in 2011 after discovering irregularities in its accounts.

The accounting and governance watchdog said it closed the investigation into the conduct of BDO and members of the ICAEW as auditors of Healthcare Locums after it concluded “there is not a realistic prospect that a tribunal would make an adverse finding” against the firm and individuals “in respect of the matters within the scope of the investigation”.

A BDO spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the FRC decided to discontinue its investigation. We co-operated fully throughout and we are happy with the outcome.”

A probe into the preparation, approval and audit of Healthcare Locums’ financial statements was launched in November 2011, shortly after the medical recruitment company revealed it would restate its accounts after suffering a pre-tax loss of £19m in the six months to the end of June.

The company issued a profit warning earlier that year and suspended trading in its AIM-listed shares after discovering “serious accounting irregularities”. Kate Bleasdale, its chief executive and founder, and chief financial officer Diane Jarvis were forced to step down by the board.

Proceedings were filed against Jarvis, Bleasdale and ex-chairman Alan Walker, by a US consortium of shareholders. The charges were dropped and the proceedings were dismissed.

The original FRC investigation related to the company’s financial statements for 2008 and 2009, its interim financial statements for the six months to July 2010, as well as whether the group has complied with NHS terms and conditions.

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