National Audit Office issues a consultation on the Code of Audit Practice
The National Audit Office has issued a consultation on the new Code of Audit Practice, which is due to come into force by 1 April 2020. NALC will be responding.
Additional powers and duties are considered in Chapter 5 of the Code. Chapter 6 of the Code relates specifically to smaller authorities (includes all size of the local council), with which the appointed auditors must comply.
NALC is minded to highlight:
- The difficulty for smaller councils of the potentially high and disproportionate cost on a small authority when a concerted number of electors decide to raise a high number of minor/technical objections of a vexatious nature
- That there should be the inclusion of a principle relating to proportionality in respect of smaller authorities, especially where the authority has an annual budget/turnover below £25k and is potentially exempt (i.e. smaller and subject to the Smaller Authorities’ Transparency Code)
- Agree on retention of the current bullet under clause 5.4 that the auditor should consider “the costs of dealing with the matter, bearing in mind that these are borne by the taxpayer” where to a smaller council the costs of an audit investigation could cost more than the council’s annual precept
NALC will be responding to the below consultation questions and is interested in the sector’s views:
- Question 17 - Do you think the Code should include more with respect to when auditors might be expected to use their additional powers?
- Question 18 - Do you think the current approach set out in the Code to undertake work at smaller authorities under specified procedures will enable auditors to continue to respond to the challenges at smaller authorities?
- Question 19 - Do you think the current approach to considering economy, efficiency and effectiveness at smaller authorities is appropriate and proportionate to the size of the bodies being reviewed?