NAO issues local Code of Audit Practice

24 Mar 15

The National Audit Office has published the Code of Audit Practice for local public bodies, which includes a duty for auditors to consider how best to gain assurance over pooled spending initiatives.

The code, which has been confirmed after a consultation, sets out the rules governing audits that will apply from the 2015/16 financial year and beyond.

The watchdog was asked to produce the code as part of the government’s plan to abolish the Audit Commission at the end of this month, which will also allow local authorities to appoint their own auditors at the end of the current outsourced deals.

These are set to expire in 2017, although there is an option to extend them to 2020, and will be overseen by an LGA-backed transitional body, Public Sector Audit Appointments, after the commission has closed.

The code highlighted that local public bodies increasingly operate, commission and deliver services in a range of partnerships and other forms of joint working or contracts with other bodies.

‘In meeting their statutory duties, therefore, the auditor should consider how best to obtain assurance over such arrangements, working effectively with other auditors where appropriate,’ it stated.

‘The auditor should, likewise, be mindful of the activities of inspectorates and other bodies and take account of them where relevant to prevent duplication and ensure that the demands on audited bodies are managed effectively.’

Existing codes and guidance prepared by the Audit Commission and Monitor will continue to apply for audits relating to 2014/15 accounts, the NAO also confirmed today.

Comptroller and auditor general Amyas Morse said: ‘The publication of the Code of Audit Practice is a key milestone in the transition to the new arrangements for local public audit. I am very grateful to the wide range of stakeholders who have helped get us to this point.’

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