Sam Clayden 23 March 2016

LEPs not transparent enough warns auditors

LEPs not transparent enough warns auditors image

The National Audit Office (NAO) has issued a warning over the transparency of local enterprise partnerships (LEPs).

In a new report, the auditors said that the approach taken to overseeing growth deals by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) risked future value for money.

The NAO also said the department had failed to come up with quantifiable objectives for what it hoped to achieve through growth deals.

Head of the NAO, Amyas Morse, said: ‘LEPs’ role has expanded rapidly but they are not as transparent to the public as we would expect, especially given they are now responsible for significant amounts of taxpayers’ money.

‘While the DCLG has adopted a light touch approach to overseeing growth deals it is important this doesn’t become no touch.’

Chair of the public accounts committee, Meg Hillier, warned that throwing money at LEPs would not relieve the Government of accountability.

She said: ‘The majority of LEPs do not publish information on senior staff pay and 30% do not have any form of independent scrutiny over investment decisions they make with taxpayer money.’

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