Birmingham trailblazes auditing partnership

13 Jan 00
A Best Value partnership to provide audit services at Birmingham City Council means that auditors from the council and the private sector will work side by side.

14 January 2000

The decision to set up the audit partnership, believed by the council to be the first of its type in the country, is seen as part of the council's response to Best Value.

The 100-strong audit service, which includes both internal audit and the city's benefit counter-fraud team, is up for review in the first year of Best Value, which starts in April.

Jim Wilkinson, the council's chief auditor, said that the contract, which will be put up for tender shortly, was not an outsourcing deal. 'This is different. It's a partnership and will be very flexible. It could involve the partner providing a mix of different people and numbers at different times,' he said.

The deal will be worth around £100,000, and the private sector partner will be involved with less than 10% of the overall service.

The plan has partly been motivated by the council's difficulty in retaining certain specialist auditors, such as IT, as well as a desire to cover annual audit shortfalls.

The final arrangement will see private sector auditors working right across the audit process, including risk assessment, audit planning and delivery, as well as sitting on the council's Best Value management team.

Wilkinson said the proposal would also provide an ideal chance to benchmark public sector audit with its private sector counterpart, as well as creating opportunities for seconding staff between the two organisations.


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