Protecting the public purse

National studies

Our national reports and studies help public bodies manage the financial challenges they face by providing authoritative, unbiased, evidence-based analysis and advice.

Research focuses on financial and other management issues in local public services. It draws on analysis of local and national data and aims to help councils, NHS bodies and other local agencies review and challenge their current arrangements and performance.


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Tough Times 2013

The Audit Commission’s latest research, Tough Times 2013: Councils’ Responses to Financial Challenges from 2010/11 to 2013/14, shows that England’s councils have demonstrated a high degree of financial resilience over the last three years, despite a 20 per cent reduction …

Cover of Protecting the public purse 2013

Protecting the public purse 2013

This report highlights that £178 million of fraud was detected by local government in the last year. Just over three quarters of that total was detected by one quarter of councils. Jeremy Newman, chairman of the Audit Commission says: “We …

claims and returns

Local government claims and returns 2011/12 – The Audit Commission’s report on certification work

For 2011/12, auditors appointed by the Audit Commission certified 1,230 claims and returns totalling £50.7 billion, providing assurance that the grants and subsidies complied with relevant terms and conditions; agreed amendments totalling £36.9 million; issued 355 qualification letters; and continued to find areas where authorities could improve to help reduce the number of errors and issues requiring attention.

Cover of Striking a balance: Improving councils’ decision making on reserves

Striking a balance: Improving councils’ decision making on reserves

The Audit Commission has published Striking a Balance which encourages English councils to focus more attention on the £12.9 billion set aside in their reserves.

Cover of Best practice tariffs and their impact

Best practice tariffs and their impact

How best practice tariffs (BPT) impact locally in the NHS and how to improve implementation. We explore the reasons behind the variation in BPT achievement and identify good practice.

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