All local audit system partners including PSAA have a shared resolve to address the significant numbers of delayed audit opinions. Today, alongside the publication of a new Joint Statement, DLUHC and the NAO launched consultations on proposals with the aim of restoring timely, high-quality financial reporting and audit. The consultations will close on 7 March 2024.
- DLUHC is seeking views on changes aimed at addressing the local audit backlog to introduce backstop dates for the publication of audited accounts.
- The NAO is seeking views on changes to the Code of Audit Practice to support auditors to meet backstop dates and promote more timely reporting of their work on value for money arrangements.
As stated in the Joint Statement, the issues facing local audit are widely recognised as multi-faceted and complex with no single cause or solution, and PSAA welcomes these proposals to reset and recover from the untenable position of very large numbers of delayed audits. Our Chair, Steve Freer, said;
‘Delayed audit opinions pose a real threat to good stewardship and financial management. Ultimately, they weaken accountability and undermine public confidence and trust. We agree that the exceptional measures outlined are the best available options to tackle the problem. All three phases – reset, recovery and reform – will pose different challenges and will need our collective commitment and support to secure the consistently high levels of assurance which we all want to see.’