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Audit Commission announces details of £50 million annual savings for public bodies

The Audit Commission has today announced the reduced scale audit fees it will charge individual councils, health and other public bodies for five years from 2012/13.

Nearly 800 of the larger local public bodies in the Commission's regime will save a total of £250 million over the five years, for most a 40 per cent cut on current rates.

Public bodies set to benefit include single-tier, county and district councils, fire and rescue authorities, police authorities, NHS trusts, primary care trusts, strategic health authorities, national parks authorities, waste disposal authorities, integrated transport authorities, passenger transport executives, and pension fund authorities.

From today, each of these organisations will be able to see online how much it will pay in scale audit fees for the next five years, and compare with similar and neighbouring bodies.

These substantial cuts come not only from the outsourcing of the work of the Commission's in-house Audit Practice, but also from the £19 million a year savings the Commission has made through its own internal efficiencies.

The combination of outsourcing and efficiency means that until at least 2017/18 England's local public bodies will have £50 million more a year to spend on their services.

Chairman of the Audit Commission, Michael O'Higgins says:

'We are now able to put the detail on the savings that will flow from the procurement of public audit announced last month, and from the Commission's own belt-tightening.

'We are pleased to have delivered a more diversified audit market, with savings that clearly demonstrate the benefits of the Commission's national bulk purchasing power. These lower fees, fixed for five years irrespective of inflation, will help public bodies at a time when budgets are under pressure '

Audit fees are the principal way the Audit Commission finances its activities, and it has a statutory duty to cover its costs taking one year with another.

Notes to editors

  1. Two documents explain the Audit Commission's Work Programme and Scales of Fees for Local Government and Police Bodies and for Health Bodies.
  2. The way audit fees are set is explained in our audit fees page.
  3. In a separate procurement contracts have been awarded to audit England's 9,800 smaller local public bodies, mostly parish and town councils and internal drainage boards. The savings mean around half will not have to pay any audit fees at all, and for others fees will be cut by 30 per cent. These fee scales will be published in May.
  4. While the reduction of 40 per cent has been applied to police authority fees, scales of fees for police bodies for 2012/13 have reduced by a net 13 per cent. This reflects the fact that there will be a volume increase in audit work from 2012/13 because of changes introduced by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. The changes require auditors to undertake audits of two statutory bodies in a police area, rather than one.
  5. The Audit Commission is a public corporation set up in 1983 to protect the public purse. The Commission appoints auditors to councils, NHS bodies (excluding NHS Foundation trusts), local police bodies authorities and other local public services in England, and oversees their work. The auditors we currently appoint are either Audit Commission employees (our in-house Audit Practice) or one of the private audit firms. Our Audit Practice also audits NHS foundation trusts under separate arrangements. We also help public bodies manage the financial challenges they face by providing authoritative, unbiased, evidence-based analysis and advice.

For further information please contact:

Mark Nicholson
Media Relations Manager

Tel: 0207 166 2135
Mob: 07813 038132
24 hour press line: 0207 166 128

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