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New local public audit framework

Uncertainty remains around the operation and effectiveness of the new local public audit framework, but the profession is rising to the challenges – and opportunities, reports Lesley Meall.

A new local authority audit regime is hovering on the horizon. “Public sector audit is starting to mirror private sector audit,” says Henry Irving, head of the Audit and Assurance Faculty. The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 introduces major changes in the procurement, appointment and regulation of auditors of local public bodies (see box, below). The regulatory framework for local public audit will be aligned with the regulatory framework for private sector audit and the Companies Act framework – and the Audit Commission (AC) will cease to exist. 

From March 2015 its responsibilities – for procuring audit services for local public bodies, providing them with technical guidance, appointing their auditors, regulating those auditors, and other related work – will be dispersed. So when the Faculty’s Practical Audit Discussion Group (PADG) recently met to discuss public sector hot topics, the implications of the impending changes were on the agenda. “There are going to be some challenges,” says Greg McIntosh, the ICAEW Public Sector Audit Committee member and KPMG director who led the PADG debate... 

This is an extract from an article in the December 2014/January 2015 edition of Audit & Beyond, the magazine of the Audit and Assurance Faculty. 

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