Magazine article Public Finance

Outgoing Lyons 'Proud' of Audit Commission

Magazine article Public Finance

Outgoing Lyons 'Proud' of Audit Commission

Article excerpt

The Audit Commission is in good shape and ready to tackle future challenges as the public service debate moves on, its outgoing chair said this week.

Speaking to Public Finance, Sir Michael Lyons, who stands down at the end of September, reflected on his three years with the commission, including the past nine months as acting chair following the unexpected departure of James Strachan.

Lyons, who is also heading the inquiry into the future of local government, has frequently criticised the amount of time councils spend looking up to Whitehall rather than out to their communities.

But he insisted there was no conflict between these views and his work for the commission, which he said had led the way for minimising the burden of inspection.

'I've never been sure the Harder Test was the right term [for the second incarnation of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment]. The More Sophisticated Test would have been better,' he told PF.

'The Audit Commission was distinctive among public sector regulators for putting up the flag for strategic regulation. I'm most proud of that.'

Lyons added that the commissions inspection approach had shifted thinking in the country.

The CPA, he said, could also be adapted to measure councils' success at 'place-shaping' - an idea to emerge from his inquiry. …

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