One in five councils do not have proper arrangements in place to secure value for money for taxpayers, a new report has warned today.
The report, published by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), found some local bodies were also failing to put enough information in the public domain about their performance.
The committee is calling for a ‘step change; in transparency and for local authorities to take immediate action when failings are identified by auditors.
Meg Hillier, chair of the PAC Committee, said: ‘Taxpayers must be assured that their money is well-spent but in too many cases local bodies cannot properly safeguard value.’
The report also warned that partnership working could weaken accountability arrangements as local auditors are only able to achieve a partial view on how a partnership is performing. It calls for central departments to ensure that partnership funding arrangements and lines of accountability are transparent.
Ms Hiller added: ‘It is vital that local bodies take auditors’ concerns seriously, address them swiftly and ensure meaningful information on performance is made accessible to the public.
‘Our report sets out ways central government can help to drive improvements at local level and we urge it to respond positively to our recommendations.’