Feeds

Audit bodies should merge, report says

'Super agency' could save £20m

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A think tank has urged the government to merge the Audit Commission and National Audit Office (NAO).

A new report from the New Local Government Network (NLGN), Expecting more from Inspectors?, calls on the government to create a super audit agency under the banner of Audit UK. It says this would provide cashable savings of about £20m.

The think tank says with councils facing fewer performance targets under comprehensive area assessments and with performance indicators being more closely aligned with public service agreement targets, it makes sense to merge the two organisations and just have one body responsible for local government inspection.

It says imminent departure of Sir John Bourn as auditor general of the NAO creates an ideal opportunity to combine both agencies, whom the report argues "share similar goals and values".

The report argues that the merger would reduce red tape and improve cost-efficiency, and points out that the two bodies have merged in Wales to create the Wales Audit Office and there is no reason why the same cannot take place in England.

Combining the skills of each organisation would also help to raise the profile and importance of accounting for public spending. The report finds that currently "public understanding of the NAO and Audit Commission is low and public scrutiny and understanding of their output is more limited still".

While the NAO currently focuses on accounting for government spending and the Audit Commission stresses a heavy focus on auditing local spending, the report finds that their work overlaps in many areas. An analysis of the 2006 reports from both organisations found significant similarities in what they covered, with both organisations investigating spending on health services and effective governance.

Report author Anthony Brand said: "Merging the two entities completely should lead to further increases in efficiency, best practice, and operational effectiveness as well as a more holistic view of public services. In this way integrating the two bodies may lead to a more responsive and flexible inspection system."

He added that as the government is moving towards a "light touch" method of regulation, coupled with a reduced number of targets for local government, there is the need for a more streamlined public auditing agency.

"There is widespread recognition that regulation has become burdensome, particularly for high performing local public bodies," he said. "The local government white paper implementation has reduced over 1000 performance indicators to just 198.

"This reduced inspection role will require a different assessment process and a new set of skills as well as potentially a reduction in the resources necessary".

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.