The National Audit Office (NAO) has today launched a four-week consultation seeking views on changes to the Code of Audit Practice, which sets out how local auditors in England meet their responsibilities under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.1

Local authorities account for a significant amount of public spending, delivering many of the public services people rely on every day. Much of this money is raised through taxation.

Taxpayers, national bodies and other stakeholders reasonably expect auditors to provide assurance over whether accounts are free from material error, and whether the body in question has proper arrangements in place to manage its business and finances.

An NAO report from January 2023 highlighted the significant decline in the number of local government body accounts that include an audit opinion published by the government’s deadlines.2

Stakeholders across the local audit system, including the NAO, have been working on proposals to clear the backlog and return local audit to a sustainable footing.

A joint statement explaining the package of measures and how the various elements are intended to interact has also been published.3

The consultation is part of this system-wide approach. Launched in parallel with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC)’s own consultation, it is aimed at both supporting the wider measures being taken as described in the joint statement and restoring more timely auditing.

“I am pleased to be consulting on changes to the Code of Audit Practice to support the implementation of the proposal for restoring timely and effective local audit.”

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO

Notes for editors

  1. Information on how to participate in the consultation can be found here: Code of Audit Practice Consultation
  2. NAO report – ‘Progress update: Timeliness of local auditor reporting on local government in England’, January 2023
  3. Signatories include DLUHC, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), NAO, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), and Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA).

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