Responding to the National Audit Office (NAO) report on local auditor reporting in England 2018, Rob Whiteman, CIPFA CEO, said:
“We welcome today’s NAO report challenging the approach of some NHS and local government bodies to audits – a crucial check on an organisations performance.
“Although many of the points made in the report were not surprising in light of the overall financial position of both local authorities and the NHS, the NAO is right that the sector must do better.
“We found particularly concerning the suggestion that some public bodies do not understand the purpose of raising issues in the local auditors Value for Money (VfM) conclusions.
“Far too many respondents said that they were already aware of the issues raised and that the auditor’s VfM conclusions provided no further information, which is a disappointing response.
“Furthermore, even when issues were raised in VfM conclusions, the NAO’s report showed few bodies taking prompt and effective action in response to any weaknesses identified in their arrangements.
“Local auditors, councillors and directors should exercise their powers to hold executives to account, especially where local bodies are not taking sufficient action to address issues raised.
“The purpose of such conclusions is to provide public assurance on their arrangements to provide value for the public pound – not to bring issues to their attention.
“VfM conclusions should be treated as a cornerstone on which local bodies can show their dedication to transparency and accountability, crucial aspects of good governance in the public sector.
“CIPFA events in London
in February and March will be an opportunity to learn more on these issues as part of a holistic view of good governance.”
For further information please contact the CIPFA press office on T: 020 7543 5703
CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. CIPFA shows the way in public finance globally, standing up for sound public financial management and good governance around the world as the leading commentator on managing and accounting for public money.