An auditor’s responsibilities to report are specified in the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and the National Audit Office’s Code of Audit Practice.
For 2019/20 and earlier years the National Audit Office’s Code of Audit Practice (the Code) requires auditors to prepare an annual audit letter and issue it to each audited body. This should be presented at an appropriate forum at the body (e.g. Audit Committee or Full Council) and be made available on the organisation’s website.
The annual audit letter summarises key findings from across the range of the auditor’s work and responsibilities under statute and the Code. It covers the work carried out by the auditors since the previous letter was issued. It should provide a clear, readily understandable commentary on the results of the auditor’s work and highlight any issues that the auditor wishes to draw to the attention of the public.
From 2020/21 under the new 2020 Code auditors are required to prepare an annual report and issue it to each audited body. The auditor’s annual report brings together all of the auditor’s work over the year. This should be presented at an appropriate forum at the body (e.g. Audit Committee or Full Council) and be made available on the authority’s website.
A core element of the auditor’s annual report will be a commentary on the organisation’s arrangements to secure value for money through the economic, efficient and effective use of its resources. The commentary should be clear, readily understandable and highlight any issues that the auditor wishes to draw to the attention of the body or the wider public. This should include details of any recommendations arising from the audit and follow-up of recommendations issued previously, along with the auditor’s view as to whether they have been implemented satisfactorily.
The auditor’s annual report should be published no later than 30 September. Where the auditor is unable to do this, they should issue an audit letter including a statement explaining the reason for the delay
Public interest reports and written recommendations
The appointed auditor is required to consider whether to issue a report in the public interest on any significant matter coming to his or her notice in the course of an audit, and to bring it to the attention of the audited body and the public. The auditor may also write a recommendation to an authority. Public Interest Reports are issued and publicised in accordance with Schedule 7 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.
Where and auditor issues a Public Interest Report or makes written recommendations the relevant authority must publish the report and then consider the report or written recommendations at a meeting held within one month of the report being issued.
Annual Audit Letters and Auditors’ Annual Reports should be available on audited bodies websites.