23 May 2008
The Audit Commission has said it will take a more 'proportionate' approach to 'use of resources' inspections after listening to consultation feedback.
Publishing its revised plans on May 19, the inspectorate said it was taking a more risk-based and streamlined approach to the use of resources element of the new Comprehensive Area Assessments, which come into effect on April 1 next year.
The first use of resources judgements under the new approach will be published in November 2009 and will reflect the current financial year.
Audit Commission chief executive Steve Bundred told Public Finance: 'People told us that, while the overall framework we were proposing for use of resources was right, we didn't need to provide every element of it in every place every year, and we've accepted that.
'So we've set out in this document how we propose to adopt a more proportionate approach not just for 2008/09, but going forward.'
Under the changes, the three themes that make up the use of resources assessment have been renamed: managing finances, governing the business and managing resources. The number of Key Lines Of Enquiry making up these themes have also been reduced from 13 to ten.
In addition, not all these lines will be evaluated every year. In 2008/09, auditors will assess eight KLOE at district councils, fire and rescue authorities, police authorities and primary care trusts and nine at county councils and other single-tier authorities.
Respondent support was strongest for existing elements of the use of resources and slightly less strong for new elements. There was a relatively low level of support, albeit still a majority, for 'managing resources', the newest theme of the assessment. This makes a judgment on how well an authority is managing its natural and human resources.
Bundred said: 'There was some feeling that it still looked a bit elaborate and we've responded to that by bringing some themes together and reducing the overall number of KLOE and by adopting a more proportionate approach.'
View the Use of Resources consultation response here