Protecting the public purse

Complaints

We aim to achieve the highest standards, so we need to know if you are concerned or dissatisfied with our work or that of our appointed auditors.

Your complaints give us a chance to put things right when mistakes have been made and to improve the quality of our services.

We aim to communicate with people clearly and politely and will ensure that we contact you in the way that you prefer, be it by letter, email, or on the telephone. Where appropriate, we will meet with you to discuss your views or concerns.

What sort of complaints can we consider under this process?

We can consider complaints about the way in which your concern or query has been dealt with by a member of staff at the Audit Commission, or by firms of appointed auditors, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers or KPMG, however, if your complaint is about an appointed auditor you should complaint to the firm in the first instance.

Complaints that we cannot consider under this process

We can’t consider complaints about a judgement or decision made by one of our appointed auditors. That might cover the auditor deciding not to take action when you have contacted them with concerns about your local council; the auditor’s decision on how or whether to deal with an objection to a council’s accounts; or an auditor’s decision not to issue a Public Interest Report.

The Commission publishes Codes of Audit Practice (the Codes), which prescribe the way auditors should carry out their statutory functions. Under the Codes, appointed auditors are required to discharge their statutory and other responsibilities, and exercise their professional judgement independently of the Commission and its officers, and of the audited body. These decisions can only be challenged in court.

The Commission will not intervene in ongoing audit investigations, which are the responsibility of the appointed auditor, as to do so could compromise the auditor’s independence.

We are also unable to consider complaints about local authorities and housing associations as these must be raised in the first instance with the authority or housing association concerned. If you have exhausted their complaints procedures then you can approach either the Local Government Ombudsman or the Housing Ombudsman respectively who may be able to help.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list - if you have any queries about whether we can or cannot deal with a specific complaint, please contact the Complaints Unit on 0303 444 8330 for advice.

Further information

If you would like to make a complaint, you can do so emailing us at complaints@audit-commission.gsi.gov.uk. or by phone on 0303 444 8330.

If you have any questions or difficulties understanding the content on these pages, for example, if English is not your first language or if you would like the information in an alternative format, please contact us on the number above.

You can also write to us at:

Complaints Unit
Audit Commission
3rd Floor
Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

The complaints process 

How we will deal with your complaint

If we can deal with your complaint, we will contact you within five working days of receipt of your call by letter or email to explain how it will be dealt with, by whom, and when you can expect to receive a full reply. There are two possible stages to each complaint:

Stage one

Local resolution: complaints will be dealt with by the person who is the subject of the complaint and their line manager, as they are best placed to carry out a full investigation.

We will consider your complaint carefully and, if the matter is straightforward, we will usually send you a full reply within 20 working days. If the issue is more complex, we will contact you before we start the investigation to clarify your concerns. If we need to carry out a very detailed investigation our response may take longer than 20 working days. If this is the case, we will contact you to explain what is happening, and tell you when we will send you the full response.

If we find that your complaint is justified, you will receive an apology together with details of any other steps we will take to meet your concerns. We will also explain what we are doing to prevent the problem happening again.

Where a complaint cannot be resolved then you can ask for it to be referred to stage two. However, all efforts will be made to resolve the complaint at stage one.

Stage two

A senior manager will undertake a review of the complaint and how it was handled at stage one.

Timing of complaints

In order to ensure that complaints are dealt with properly, we will not usually accept complaints that are made more than six months after the event in question. If your complaint is older than that, please contact the complaints unit manager, who will advise you on whether or not we will consider it.

Complaints without merit

The Commission reserves the right not to investigate complaints that it considers to be frivolous or without merit; where further investigation would not serve any useful purpose; or where it would otherwise be an inappropriate use of the complaints procedure, with particular regard to the proper use of public funds.

Complaints about Commissioners

The Chairman deals with responses to complaints against individual Commissioners. If a complaint is about the Chairman personally, the Deputy Chairman and another Commissioner will consider whether there is a sufficient case to warrant sending it to the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government for consideration. If there is not a sufficient case, the Deputy Chairman will decide on an appropriate response.