UK senior local authority executives said the
possibility of having to appoint their own auditors is ‘not yet on
the radar’ but more guidance would be required if the government
does decide to give them the responsibility, a KPMG UK survey
found.

The government is currently reviewing the
responses received in a public consultation on the future of the
Audit Commission, with one of the possibilities being to give local
authorities the power to procure their own auditors.

More than 44% of survey respondents admitted
neither they nor anyone in their team had been part of a process to
appoint an auditor before and only 24% feel “fairly” prepared for
the process.

The majority of executives said they are
satisfied with their current auditor but a massive 70% think it
would be a “good thing” to be able to appoint their own auditors in
the future, which they believe could result in better value for
money.

KPMG UK public sector audit partner Mike
McDonagh said the firm’s research shows the appetite is clearly
there amongst authorities to appoint their own auditors but “they
now need a detailed timescale and process in order to proceed.”

“For many this will be completely new
territory and the learning curve will therefore be steep,” he
added.

According to KPMG currently around 70% of
local authorities are audited by the Audit Commission.

A draft bill on the future of the Audit
Commission’s audits is expected later this year.