Magazine article Public Finance

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Magazine article Public Finance

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Please air your views via the comment facilities at publicfinance.co.uk or by email to feedback@publicfinance.co.uk

Council audit conundrum

The need for a national body to oversee external audit is clear (LGA in discussions to create national body to appoint council auditors, bit.ly/1Shztuu).

The debate is whether a body should appoint its own auditor when there is no effective equivalent of shareholders. The National Audit Office audits the government but is accountable to parliament so is independent. All auditors are subject to professional standards and oversight. That, again, is not the issue that concerns councils, although they want some assurance.

Where public money is concerned, higher standards of probity and conduct are required and this includes audit. I can sell my share in a company if I am not happy. I cannot choose not to pay my council tax.

Chris Vanderweele

Adding to the list of lists

The latest requirement on councils to publish a list of surplus assets is a duplication of existing rules (Councils to join Whitehall's property reduction drive, says Cabinet Office, bit.ly/21CnJIR).

The Housing and Planning Bill's requirement for councils to publish such a list including social housing seems to be at odds with the Local Government Transparency Code, which requires them to publish a list of vacant properties, albeit excluding social housing and without precise locations so as not to advertise potential squats. …

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