Protecting the public purse

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2015/16 work programme and scales of fees

Following consultation, the work programme and scale fees for the audit of the accounts for 2015/16 have been confirmed for local government, fire, police and health bodies.

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Data Quality Matters

‘Data quality matters’ reports on the past work of the Audit Commission and its appointed auditors in relation to data quality. Good quality data is an important part of robust governance and arrangements to secure value for money. Poor quality data can lead to flawed decision making and wasted resources, and can leave vulnerable people at risk.

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Local government financial reporting remains strong; nevertheless, over 1,000 small bodies have their accounts qualified

The Audit Commission’s Auditing the Accounts 2013/14: Local Government Bodies reveals that financial reporting was consistently strong for most types of principal local authority in 2013/14 when compared to the previous financial year. The results for small bodies were however less satisfactory, with 1,015 parish councils (11 per cent) and 19 internal drainage boards (IDBs, 16 per cent) receiving a qualified opinion on their 2013/14 annual return by 30 September 2014. For parish councils and IDBs, the level of qualifications increased from 8 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively.

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Council tax and business rates income rises, despite £4.55 billion uncollected

The Audit Commission has published Council tax and business rates collection: an update (November 2014), using publicly available data from its Value for Money (VFM) Profiles Tool. The update to two previous briefings, examining English councils’ collection rates and costs of collecting council tax and business rates, reveals that £4.55 billion remained unpaid at the end of March 2014. The uncollected £4.55 billion is equivalent to the cost of building close to 300 secondary schools.

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Highest value of fraud detected by Councils since Audit Commission turned the spotlight on 25 years ago

Fraud valued at £188 million was detected by England’s councils in 2013/14, a ten-fold increase since 1990. The figure beats all records for the past 25 years, the Audit Commission revealed in its latest report on fraud in local government.

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