Regulator fines Mazar £314,000 for audit failures


The Financial Reporting Council has fined Mazars LLP £314,000 for failures relating to an audit of an unnamed local authority’s 2019 financial statements.

Local audit’s perfect storm


Has the local audit system finally reached its breaking point? Naomi Larsson investigates.

Wales’ fuel poverty scheme should be ‘greener’


The Welsh government's Warm Homes Programme needs to be greener, clearer and more tightly managed, auditors say.

Regulator 'disappointed' at timeliness of local government auditor reporting


Half of the local government audits chosen for review by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) had to be replaced as they were not finalised and signed on time.

South Ayrshire Council’s slow transformation ‘frustrating’, auditors say


South Ayrshire Council’s services perform well but the council has been slow at making necessary changes to the way it delivers these services, auditors say.

Auditor uncovers ‘significant deficiencies’ in four Welsh councils


An audit has revealed significant breakdowns in financial management and internal governance arrangements at four councils in Wales, which resulted in unlawful expenditure at one of the local authorities.

Auditors question financial sustainability of Welsh councils


Auditors have questioned the sustainability of local authorities in Wales despite the improved financial position Welsh councils have experienced as a result of pandemic support.

Welsh councils must provide ‘ambitious leadership’ to revive high street


Local authorities in Wales have been urged to use their existing powers and resources to make town centres sustainable.

Local government auditing close to 'breaking point'


The timeliness and quality of auditing local government spending is undermining accountability and effective spending decisions, a watchdog has warned today.

Scottish council told to improve housing and education services


Aberdeen City Council has been warned to improve its housing and education services by the public spending watchdog.

‘Wholesale improvements’ required at Slough


External auditors have issued a scathing report on financial management at Slough BC.

Watchdog urges 'revaluation' of councils' role


The ‘role and value’ of councils in Wales should be revaluated in face of rising demand and financial pressures, according to a new report.

Fewer than half of local audits done by deadline, watchdog finds


Fewer than half of local public bodies’ 2019-20 audits were completed by last November, despite a deadline already pushed back due to COVID, says a spending watchdog.

Northampton dealings with football club ‘unlawful’


‘Significant failures of corporate governance’ at Northampton BC may have been unlawful, an auditor has found in a public interest report.

Edinburgh council can do more to ‘fulfil its potential’, auditors say


The City of Edinburgh Council should do more to ‘fulfil its potential’ and improve the lives of its citizens, particularly given the additional pressures caused by COVID-19, auditors say.

Councils play ‘critical role’ in fighting climate change but lack resources, watchdog says


Local authorities play ‘critical role’ in improving air quality and the natural environment but they lack the necessary resources and expertise, watchdog says.

Rapid review into Croydon’s ‘dysfunctional governance’


The Government is conducting a rapid review into Croydon Council, focusing on its government, culture and risk management.

Council apologises following ‘serious’ issues with its financial situation


Croydon Council has apologised after a report uncovered ‘serious concerns’ about it’s financial decision making and governance over a number of years.

Review calls for new local government audit regulator


A new local government audit body should be created and ministers should change the way they judge the financial stability of councils, a review of local government audit has found.  

Leader of Northumberland Council is deposed


The leader of a scandal-hit council compared to North Korea has been deposed after a vote of no confidence at a fiery meeting.

Drive to replace dangerous cladding ‘lagging behind’, warn auditors


Auditors investigating the programme for replacing dangerous cladding on high-rise buildings have found that progress has ‘lagged behind’ expectations.

Government confirms extension to council accounts deadline


Councils will be given more time to publish their audited accounts due to the increasing demands of dealing with Covid-19.

Glasgow CC ‘successfully delivered’ £500m in equal pay claims, watchdog says


Glasgow City Council has successfully delivered a project to finance £500m in equal pay claims, Scotland’s local authority watchdog says.

More than 200 local councils fail to publish audited accounts on time


A third of town and community councils in Wales failed to publish their audited accounts on time, a report has warned today.

Auditors call for ‘clarity’ of privately financed contracts


Auditors in Scotland have called for ‘more clarity’ when it comes to financing public infrastructure projects.

Victims of domestic abuse let down by 'fragmented' system


Victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence are being let down by 'inconsistent, complex and short term' services in Wales, according to a new report.

Watchdog finds unlawful spending at two councils


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’


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’


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


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


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


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


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


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


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'


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


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


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


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


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’


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


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


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’


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


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


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

Auditor criticises Welsh community councils


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


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’


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


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’


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

Bristol CC misses final accounts deadline


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


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


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


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


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


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

County at ‘crisis point’ announces revised budget


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’


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


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


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


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


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


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’


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


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


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

Major road plans could be scrapped warns watchdog


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’


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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

Council apologises ‘unreservedly’ for controversial loan


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

Welsh councils should think ‘strategically’ about charging for services


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

LGA company to negotiate auditors' contracts for councils


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


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

Council guilty of mismanagement and wastage, auditors say


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


‘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


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


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


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


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

Welsh councils need to improve financial management, says auditor


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’


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’


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


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

Theres a whiff of purpose once more on devolution image

There's a whiff of purpose once more on devolution

Devolution should rock the status quo and create a new culture of governance which pushes everyone who currently holds decision-making power out of their comfort zones, says deputy chief executive of New Local Jessica Studdert.
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