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Local Government: Audit

Question for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

UIN HL14944, tabled on 14 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Liverpool City Council: Best Value inspection report, published on 24 March, what plans they have to strengthen the audit arrangements in place for local authorities.

Answered on

26 April 2021

Government is committed to strengthening the local audit system so that taxpayers and service users are better able to hold councils to account. Our response to the Redmond review, published on 17 December, set out how the Department, in partnership with key organisations, will act to strengthen and support the local audit market.

Action we are taking includes, subject to consultation, enabling audit firms, councils and Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd (PSAA) to agree fees that more closely match the actual costs of audit, and working with key stakeholders to review the entry requirements for Key Audit Partners and how best to improve auditor training, to strike an appropriate balance between ensuring audit quality and market sustainability.

We have also temporarily extended the deadline for the publication of auditor opinions on local authorities’ accounts, and are providing £15 million to support affected local authorities to both meet the growing cost pressures in the audit market and deliver Sir Tony’s recommendations, to be distributed later in the spring.