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Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009


105.This Chapter provides for an audit authority to appoint an auditor to an entity connected to one or more local authorities in England and Wales and for the auditor to issue a public interest report where it is in the public interest to do so. For the purposes of this Chapter an “audit authority” is the Audit Commission in England (“the Commission”) and the Auditor General for Wales in Wales (“AGW”). An entity which has an auditor appointed in this way can appoint the same auditor, at no additional cost, to carry out the statutory audit which it is required to have carried out. The entity remains free, however, to appoint a different auditor to carry out the statutory audit – in which case the audit authority-appointed auditor will carry out an audit which is identical to the statutory audit.

106.This takes forward recommendations from Lord Sharman’s independent review into the audit and accountability of public money Holding to Account: The Review of Audit and Accountability for Central Government (2001).(5) Lord Sharman recommended that, among other things, the Comptroller and Auditor General (and Auditors General for Wales and Scotland and the Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland) should be appointed as the auditors of Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) which are companies, and be eligible for appointment as auditors of those companies where Departments or NDPBs have a substantial stake or influence. This endorses one of the key principles of the Public Audit Forum on the independence of public sector auditors from the organisations being audited.

107.The Government accepted the principles of this recommendation and Parliament gave it statutory backing in the Companies Act 2006. Lord Sharman also recommended that similar arrangements should apply to local government entities. This Chapter implements that recommendation in relation to companies, limited liability partnerships and industrial and provident societies that are connected with local authorities.

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