Grant Thornton wins CIPFA Cliff Nicholson Award


Grant Thornton’s Manchester office has been recognised for their outstanding work in a national award scheme by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). The firm’s engagement team at Oldham Council won this year’s prestigious Cliff Nicholson Award for Innovation and Excellence in Public Service Audit.

Grant Thornton Manchester received the award for its work focusing on the closedown and audit of local authority final accounts. Working with Oldham, they successfully brought forward the date of the audit opinion by a month each year, culminating in an audit opinion date for the 2012/13 accounts of 31 May 2013 – the earliest opinion for any local government body in England.

The judges also awarded highly commended status to two further entries. First, the internal audit team at Jephson Housing Association Group, for taking health and safety audits a step further by training auditors in specialised health and safety qualifications, allowing them to disseminate best practice to staff members across the housing association.

They also commended the West Midlands Assurance Service, for their extensive and detailed project to identify fraudulent applications for NHS funded training schemes for nursing and allied health professions, covering three divisions of Health Education England (HEE) and 25 universities.

Tim Crowley, Chair of CIPFA’s Audit Panel, commented:

“The judges and I were pleased to see a continued high calibre of entries for this year’s award. The winner and high commended entries show that innovation and excellence in audit occurs in both external and internal audit, and across different sectors including local government, housing and the NHS.”

Sarah Howard, Head of Public Sector Assurance at Grant Thornton said:

“We are delighted to receive the Cliff Nicholson Award. For several years the audit team has worked with Oldham Council to bring forward the opinion date and thereby help the Council to publish its accounts in record time. To do this we had to remodel the audit, looking for new ways to gain the necessary assurance in a different way and a much shorter timescale. But ultimately the award is recognition for the sheer hard work of Oldham Council and Mark Heap, Marianne Dixon, Simon Livesey and the rest of Grant Thornton’s Oldham audit team.”



CIPFA Press Office

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Notes to Editors

  • The award was founded by Cliff Nicholson, CIPFA President in 1990, who passed away in 2011.  At the end of his presidential year, he established the eponymous award to encourage the development of the audit profession and recognise outstanding work in the field of audit. Cliff had a distinguished career in public services for over 40 years, most of that time in local government audit and was awarded a CBE for his contribution to the audit profession in 1986.
  • CIPFA’s Audit Conference is taking place in Hampshire on the 14-15 May.