Protecting the public purse

Appointing auditors

Local government and NHS auditors

The duty to appoint auditors to local government and NHS bodies is one of the Audit Commission’s core statutory functions in relation to audit.

The fact that local government and NHS bodies do not appoint their own auditors helps to ensure that auditors are entirely independent and, just as important, are seen to be independent.

The Commission currently appoints auditors to audit the accounts of:

  • 353 local authorities;
  • 304 NHS bodies;
  • 76 police bodies (police and crime commissioners, including the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, and chief constables, including the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis); and
  • 64 other bodies, including the Greater London Authority and its associated bodies, fire and rescue authorities, national parks authorities and transport bodies.

To find the appointed auditor’s details for an individual body please see our Directory of auditors for principal bodies or email auditor-appointments@audit-commission.gsi.gov.uk

Small bodies

The Commission also appoints auditors to nearly 10,000 ‘small’ bodies (such as parish and town councils, parish meetings and internal drainage boards).

To find the name of the appointed auditor for a small body please see our Directory of auditors for small bodies

The contact details for the appointed auditor are available in: Auditor appointments to small bodies from 2012/13 (this document was updated in July 2013).

The Commission does not appoint auditors to central Government departments. The National Audit Office (external link) is responsible for this work.

Who we appoint

Under the Audit Commission Act 1998 (the Act), the Commission may appoint

  • An officer of the Commission.
  • A firm.
  • An individual who is not an officer of the Commission.

Following the outsourcing of the Commission’s in-house Audit Practice, all auditor appointments are of private firms.

Officers of the Commission and any other individuals, who may be appointed in exceptional circumstances, must be appropriately qualified (as defined in the Act). The Commission may also appoint individuals to assist the appointed auditor.

The Act gives the Commission flexibility in appointing one or more auditors to undertake the whole, or specified parts of, the audit. In practice, however, we appoint a single auditor to carry out the whole of the audit under the Code of Audit Practice (the Code).

Consulting on appointments

Before making appointments of auditors to local government bodies, the Commission has a statutory duty to consult the body. In the spirit of openness and transparency, the Commission has extended this to health bodies.