Audit

Watchdog finds unlawful spending at two councils

06/11/2019

Two councils in Wales have incurred over £290,000 of 'unlawful' expenditure, the Auditor General for Wales has warned.

Reform of primary care in Wales ‘not happening quickly enough’

22/10/2019

Plans to strengthen primary care in Wales have not happened as quickly or as widely as intended, according to auditors.

Council overspends £100k due to ‘poor financial management’

17/10/2019

A town council has been forced to withdraw most the money from its reserves to cover an overspend of £100,000, auditors have revealed.

Call for views on the financial reporting of local authorities

18/09/2019

The Government has called on council workers to give their views to a review on the quality of the financial reporting of local authorities in England.

Social care advice ‘varies’ across Wales, watchdog says

12/09/2019

Standards of advice and help with social care vary from one council to another in Wales, according to the official watchdog.

Council warned to reduce or replace property portfolio by auditors

06/08/2019

Audit Scotland has told a council that it has 'limited time' to curb spending before its reserves run out.

Brokenshire announces review of local finance audits

11/07/2019

A review of the way local authority finances are audited will focus on whether problems are being spotted early enough.

‘Unlawful’ council-owned cafe racks up £234,000 of debt

20/06/2019

Auditors have criticised Connah’s Quay Town Council for failures in decision making and internal control in relation to its opening of a local cafe.

NAO to wade into fair funding review

05/06/2019

The National Audit Office (NAO) is gearing up to scrutinise the Government’s divisive fair funding review, The MJ can reveal.

Government pays £15m to councils after business rate 'error'

03/06/2019

The Government may have to pay out up to £15m to councils after it made yet another error in its business rate pilot administration.

Council criticised for ‘sitting on’ £2.65m of developer contributions

17/05/2019

City of Edinburgh Council has been criticised for ‘sitting on’ £2.65m worth of contributions from the backers of large construction projects.

Hopes for legislative backing behind new code

24/04/2019

An overhaul of financial management in councils could be enshrined in law, according to a consultation that stakeholders must respond to within days to influence.

Scottish councils lose over £120m due to ‘weak’ financial controls

11/04/2019

Systems to prevent public money being lost to mistakes and fraud in local government ‘may be under strain’, Audit Scotland has warned.

Council property firm records losses

10/04/2019

The property company run by Barking & Dagenham LBC has reported losses of almost £4m in its first year of operation.

Birmingham CC receives third warning of ‘financial mismanagement’

26/03/2019

Birmingham City Council has defended its financial record after receiving its third auditor warning in four years.

Review finds lack of due diligence over council's commercial workspace project

21/03/2019

King’s Lynn & West Norfolk BC should ‘build on the lessons learned’ from the construction of a state-of-the-art commercial workspace, the council’s chief executive has said.

Public audit will soon need a spring clean

21/02/2019

John Tizard and David Walker make the case for a new way of auditing how public money is spent that uses evidence before spending decisions are made.

Auditors call for Welsh councils to make scrutiny ‘fit for the future’

12/02/2019

Auditors in Wales have outlined the six steps that Welsh councils need to take in order to improve overview and scrutiny functions.

Planning system ‘underperforming’, auditors say

08/02/2019

The Government’s planning system is ‘underperforming’ and struggling to deliver on its aim of building 300,000 homes a year, auditors have found.

‘Serious concerns’ raised over local councils' internal audit arrangements

17/01/2019

Auditors have warned town and community council in Wales have inadequate and ineffective internal audit arrangements.

Auditor criticises Welsh community councils

12/12/2018

Three community councils in Wales have been criticised for failures in governance arrangements and inadequacies in financial management.

Welsh councils need to ‘think differently’ to deal with cuts

13/11/2018

Local authorities in Wales must 'think and act differently' to deal with spending cuts and other challenges, the Auditor General for Wales has concluded.

MP accuses Reading council of 'financial mismanagement’

05/10/2018

The cost of sorting out Reading Borough Council's 2016/17 annual accounts is likely to reach at least £400,000, it has been revealed.

Ofsted ‘fig leaf’ for Whitehall failures on school standards

07/09/2018

Ofsted is not providing the level of independent assurance about the quality of education that schools and parents need, MPs warn.

Welsh community councils criticised for management ‘failures’

06/09/2018

Four community councils in Wales have been criticised for ‘failures’ in governance and financial management.

Bristol CC misses final accounts deadline

03/08/2018

Bristol City Council has missed the deadline for the submission of its end-of-year accounts because key pieces of work were ‘still in progress’.

Carillion collapse to cost taxpayer £148m, spending watchdog warns

07/06/2018

The liquidation of Carillion will cost UK taxpayers an estimated £148m, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said, excluding around £2.6bn pension liabilities and losses by the firm’s non-government creditors.

Northamptonshire CC faces £16m bill for spending ring-fenced cash

21/05/2018

An investigation into the finances of Northamptonshire County Council has revealed it is facing a £16m grant bill over its use of ring-fenced public health money.

Why the abolition of the Audit Commission was not the answer

05/04/2018

Northamptonshire CC’s woes have been fuelled by a real-time experiment that failed, writes Andy Sawford.

Auditors tell councils to ‘learn lessons’ from school wall collapse

04/04/2018

Auditors have called on councils in Scotland to ‘learn lessons’ from the collapse of a school wall in Edinburgh.

Councils at financial breaking point, watchdog warns

08/03/2018

The financial health of local authorities is ‘getting worse’ due to central Government cuts, auditors say.

County at ‘crisis point’ announces revised budget

28/02/2018

Northamptonshire County Council has announced revised budget savings after being warned by auditors to revise its spending plans.

Auditors warn Northamptonshire CC budget could be ‘illegal’

21/02/2018

Auditors have warned cash-strapped Northamptonshire County Council that its proposed budget could be breaking the law.

Welsh councils must improve financial management, auditors say

26/01/2018

Local authorities in Wales need to improve the governance and financial management arrangements they have in place, Auditor concludes.

Watchdog warns of 'serious concerns' over Clackmannanshire's finances

25/01/2018

Scotland's smallest mainland council must take ‘decisive action’ to find nearly £30m in savings over the next three years, auditors say.

Welsh councils must tackle causes of homelessness, watchdog says

09/01/2018

Local authorities in Wales need to do more to tackle the ‘underlying causes’ of homelessness, auditor says.

Public procurement in Wales needs ‘improvement’, auditors say

17/10/2017

There is ‘clear scope for improvement’ in procurement arrangements at the local level in Wales, auditors find.

Mayor warns about 'reputational damage' caused by LEP

29/09/2017

The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in Cambridgeshire is causing the area ‘reputational damage’ the combined authority’s mayor has warned.

Welsh government’s housing-related support services ‘need improvement’

31/08/2017

The Welsh government’s programme designed to deliver housing-related support services needs ‘improvement’, say auditors.

Councils to save more than £6m a year through new auditing contracts

21/06/2017

Councils are set to save millions after the launch of a new national body which has secured lower-cost contracts for auditing services.

Council makes ‘significant improvements’ with plans to save £20m

01/06/2017

Inverclyde Council has made ‘significant improvements’ in its financial management and service delivery, auditors find.

Major road plans could be scrapped warns watchdog

22/03/2017

The £11.4bn funding plans to upgrade England’s major roads may not be deliverable or affordable, the public spending watchdog has warned today.

A third of upper-tier councils facing ‘severe financial challenges’

17/03/2017

At least one in three of England’s 152 upper-tier councils are facing ‘severe financial challenges’ in 2018/19, a top auditor has warned.

Majority of councils join national auditing scheme

14/03/2017

Nearly all (98%) of local authorities have decided to join the new national scheme, which will negotiate auditors’ contracts on their behalf.

Mayor keen to identify officers responsible for cash failures

10/03/2017

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees is keen to identify the individuals to blame for the state of the council’s finances, The MJ understands.

Welsh councils face accounting ‘challenges’ warns auditor

09/03/2017

Local government bodies in Wales ‘face challenges’ to improve and produce their accounts to meet statutory deadlines, auditor says.

Bristol mayor vows to get a grip on city’s finances

09/02/2017

Bristol’s mayor has vowed to get the city’s finances under control after a report criticised the council for a ‘collective failure of leadership’ in achieving past savings.

Deadline is looming for local government auditor appointments

06/02/2017

Stephen Sellers explains the three main routes that local government can take when appointing an auditor and provides guidance on what authorities must do to comply with the regulations.

Welsh community councils receiving ‘worrying’ amount of qualified audit opinions

31/01/2017

Too many Welsh community councils are receiving ‘avoidable’ qualified audit opinions, auditors say.

Government has ‘huge mountain to climb’ to tackle housing crisis

19/01/2017

Housebuilding has not kept pace with need, auditors say as they warn the number of households formed each year exceeds the annual number of houses being built.

Over 200 authorities join national auditing scheme

17/01/2017

More than 200 authorities have opted to join a national scheme, which will negotiate auditors’ contracts on their behalf.

Wales ‘on track’ for fiscal devolution

01/12/2016

The Welsh government is ‘on track’ to take on its fiscal devolution responsibilities, says auditor - but there are still ‘significant challenges’.

Scottish councils facing financial shortfalls warns watchdog

29/11/2016

Councils in Scotland have managed their finances well but face big challenges ahead, spending watchdogs have warned.

Council apologises ‘unreservedly’ for controversial loan

24/11/2016

Northampton Borough Council has admitted controversial football club loan went ‘badly wrong’ and apologised unreservedly.

Welsh councils should think ‘strategically’ about charging for services

10/11/2016

Local authorities are not using all the options at their disposal to generate income because of weaknesses in their policies and in how they use data, auditors say.

Report reveals Welsh community safety issues

18/10/2016

Community safety in Wales is being undermined by new responsibilities and working arrangements, according to a new report.

Council told to be 'more ambitious' to achieve savings target

04/10/2016

Spending watchdogs have told a Scottish council it must ‘up the pace of change’ if it is to achieve big spending cuts.

May orders audit to tackle racial disparities in public services

30/08/2016

All Whitehall departments will need to publish information on how outcomes differ for people of different racial backgrounds under a new audit of public services.

Councils call for oversight of academy finances after string of abuses

26/08/2016

Council chiefs are calling for local oversight of all school finances following a series of abuses by academies and free schools.

Welsh councils must ‘improve’ financial arrangements, auditors say

18/08/2016

The financial planning of Welsh councils is ‘strengthening’, but there is still scope to improve the way savings are identified and delivered, auditors say.

Holyrood 'must do more' to roll-out broadband, auditors say

18/08/2016

The roll-out of high-speed broadband in Scotland is making ‘good progress’, but more needs to be done to extend coverage to rural areas, auditors say.

Scottish councils ‘urgently’ need to share services to improve roads

04/08/2016

Councils should ‘collaborate more’ in order to improve Scotland’s road network, auditors say.

LGA company to negotiate auditors' contracts for councils

25/07/2016

A company set up by the Local Government Association has been chosen as the officially approved body to negotiate auditors' contracts for local authorities.

Whitehall lacks ‘coherent framework’ for enacting long-term policy, NAO says

21/07/2016

The Government has no 'coherent framework' for implementing decisions made in the spending review, auditors say.

Council guilty of mismanagement and wastage, auditors say

16/06/2016

A city council has been criticised in a public interest report for ‘governance failings’ in the management of several major projects.

Bed blocking continues to put health services under strain

26/05/2016

‘Bed blocking’ is costing the NHS £820m a year and putting care services under strain, according to the latest set of figures from an official watchdog.

Thanet could face police probe into European funding fraud

17/05/2016

A criminal investigation into the way Thanet District Council spent European funding should be conducted, according to the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA).

Auditors urge Government to retain accountability in new devolution deals

20/04/2016

The Government must ensure it remains accountable for the 'new and experimental' devolution deals being offered to local areas, auditors have warned.

Whitehall’s Green Deal cost £240m but failed to generate energy savings says watchdog

14/04/2016

The body responsible for auditing the Government’s accounts has concluded the energy department’s Green Deal has not achieved value for money because it failed to persuade householders that energy efficiency measures are worth paying for.

Council hires ‘ethical hackers’ to test computer network security

12/04/2016

Leicester city council have hired ‘ethical hackers’ to help them improve their cyber security.

Welsh councils need to improve financial management, says auditor

17/03/2016

Auditor voices concerns around the financial management and governance of Welsh councils, despite noting improvements in the delivery of end of year accounts.

Warning that a third of major projects may be ‘unachievable’

06/01/2016

A third of major government projects due to be delivered in the next five years are at risk of being ‘unachievable’ unless action is taken, the National Audit Office (NAO) is warning.

Implementation of Scotland’s devolved financial powers making ‘good progress’

10/12/2015

Good progress is being made in the implementation of Scotland’s new devolved financial powers, according to a new report.

Councils dealing with nearly 2,000 cases following closure of Kids Company

29/10/2015

Local authorities are reviewing 1,900 cases passed to them by the now defunct Kids Company, according to an investigation into its funding.

Safety in social care the 'biggest concern' for inspectors

15/10/2015

The safety of health and adult social care services is a ‘significant’ concern, according to a review by inspectors.

Falkirk Council urged to be more ambitious by spending watchdog

27/08/2015

Falkirk Council must commit to ‘a more ambitious’ financial plan if it is to secure £46m savings over the next three years, a public spending watchdog is warning.

Welsh council closes accounts in record time

29/07/2015

Torfaen County Borough Council has been praised for closing its account a record ten weeks early.

Staff shortages at CQC delaying inspections warns watchdog

22/07/2015

Fresh findings by the National Audit Office show the Care Quality Commission is still deferring target dates for inspecting health providers due to staff shortages.

Councils ‘turning their back’ on care leavers

17/07/2015

Councils are failing to support young people leaving their care, with two-thirds providing inadequate services, according to the public spending watchdog.

Auditors attack 'flawed' land sale in Wales

15/07/2015

The Welsh Government has failed to show the sale of land and assets provided value for money, according to a damning report from auditors.

Council funding cuts risk blocking devolution gains, warns watchdog

09/07/2015

Funding cuts could hamper local efforts to manage devolved powers, according to an investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO).

Do it yourself on improvement - or DCLG will

18/06/2015

Inspection and improvement in local government has remained a thorny issue ever since former communities secretary Eric Pickles announced he would scrap the Audit Commission, just a few weeks after the 2010 General Election, writes Heather Jameson.

Recruitment freeze means civil service workforce is aging

05/06/2015

Significant reductions in staff numbers and the civil service salary bill since 2010 is resulting in older staff within the Government, a report today by the National Audit Office found.

Welsh councils facing financial ‘tipping point’ warns watchdog

02/04/2015

Councils in Wales are facing a ‘tipping point’ and need to improve their financial management and planning, auditors are warning today.

Scottish councils urged to better control borrowing

19/03/2015

Scottish councillors must improve scrutiny over borrowing if local authorities are to manage their near £15bn of debt – auditors have warned.

Birmingham improvement panel announced

22/01/2015

The panel drafted in to help improve Birmingham City Council to work with the troubled authority has been announced.

Auditors praise progress at Caerphilly but request ‘buy out’ decision

12/01/2015

Auditors have found Caerphilly Council has still not made a lawful decision on the controversial ‘buy out’ of chief officers’ holiday and car allowances.

Watchdog raises accountability concerns in final report

11/12/2014

Only 11% of parish councils - 1,015 in total - had their accounts qualified in 2013/14 - according to a new report from the Audit Commission.

Baby ashes scandal inquiry to be led by ex-council chief executive

10/12/2014

An investigation into infant cremations in Shrewsbury where no ashes were returned to bereaved families will be conducted by the former chief executive of Dorset.

Spending watchdog ‘concerned’ over Edinburgh’s budget cuts

04/12/2014

Auditors have expressed ‘growing concerns’ over the budget shortfall at the City of Edinburgh Council.

Record numbers of children in care, finds watchdog

27/11/2014

Numbers of children in care have reached a 20-year high, with the Coalition making ‘no progress’ on improving the system – auditors have warned.

Universal Credit delays risk multi-billion pound bill, say auditors

26/11/2014

Delays to the Coalition’s flagship Universal Credit scheme risk creating a multi-million pound bill for the taxpayers, auditors have warned.

DCLG demands return of funding from social enterprise

26/11/2014

A demand notice for £1.4m has been issued against Social Enterprise North West (SENW) following ‘serious irregularities’ in its accounts were uncovered.

Tower Hamlets mayor hits out at ‘excessive’ Government intervention

19/11/2014

The Government’s decision to intervene over governance failures at Tower Hamlets are ‘disproportionate and excessive’, according to the London borough’s mayor.

DCLG fails to understand impact of council cuts, says watchdog

19/11/2014

The Government department responsible for local authorities has ‘limited understanding’ of the pressure cutbacks are having on councils, the spending watchdog has warned.

Commission published figures for party donations

13/11/2014

The Tories received the largest amount in donations during the third quarter of this year, registering more than £6.7m.

Pickles proposes Tower Hamlets intervention over governance failures

04/11/2014

A damning report has questioned the capability of leadership at Tower Hamlets, claiming the town hall has failed to comply with ‘best value’ grant arrangements.

Revised pay-off for Pembrokeshire chief agreed

31/10/2014

The severance pay for Pembrokeshire Council’s chief executive has been reduced by £52,760, leading to the auditor withdrawing the Advisory Notice served on the council this week.

Spending watchdog slams school inspection regime

30/10/2014

The regime for inspecting standards in English schools has come under fire in a report from the National Audit Office.

Pembrokeshire chief pay-off ‘unlawful’

30/10/2014

Pembrokeshire County Council has been warned its decision to enter into a settlement agreement with its chief executive would incur ‘unlawful’ expenditure.

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