NALC urges the government to maintain an extended audit timetable for local councils
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has urged the government to maintain the current extended timescale for local (parish and town) councils to publish their audited accounts.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) sought views on extending the deadline for principal councils to publish audited accounts to 30 September, from 31 July, for two years subject to review. The proposal takes forward a recommendation from the Redmond Review of local authority audit and transparency.
In its response, NALC has not objected to the proposals but has urged MHCLG to go further and maintain the current extended timetable of 30 November instead of 30 September for local councils.
Among the reasons listed in NALC’s response are ongoing COVID-19 challenges and the provision of support to communities, continued asset management and service delivery responsibilities, remote working and staff related pressures, and uncertainty around holding meetings safely as regulations permitting remote meetings are due to end on 6 May. NALC has also highlighted that over 1200 local councils failed to submit their Annual Governance and Accountability Return or Certificate of Exemption by the extended deadline.