report of the ad hoc committee on the draft local audit bill


The ad hoc committee formed to provide parliamentary scrutiny of the draft Local Audit Bill has issued its report on 17 January 2013.

The report makes several key recommendations over how the bill should be developed.  These include:

  • that a capacity is retained whose functions are limited to the procurement of audit
  • the provisions for auditor panels are replaced with a statutory requirement for strengthened audit committees which have an independent chair and a majority of independent members (if local procurement goes ahead)
  • the bill should be redrafted to include a systematic process to enable benchmarking and like-for-like comparisons between public bodies in the new regime.

Alongside the report are the oral and written evidence considered by the panel.  These include a written statement from the Department of Health that sets out proposals, for the first time, how Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS Trusts that are not yet Foundation Trusts will appoint their auditors.  The Department of Health proposes that the statutory audit committees will be responsible for recommending the appointment of the external auditor rather than a separate auditor panel.