The UK National Audit Office (NAO) has launched a public consultation on its proposed update of the Code of Audit Practice ahead of it coming into effect in April 2020.

The Code sets out what local auditors of relevant local public bodies (such as councils, police, fire and NHS bodies) are required to do to fulfil their statutory responsibilities under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. The head of the NAO, the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), is responsible for reviewing the Code every five years and maintaining the Code throughout a maximum five-year lifespan.

Effective local audit provides the public and stakeholders with assurance about how their money is spent, and ensures that local public bodies can be held to account for their spending of taxpayers’ money. The Code has a significant influence on the work and reports of local auditors.

Key changes proposed in the draft Code include a sharper focus on value for money and clearer expectations on timely and effective auditor reporting.

The consultation will remain open until 22 November 2019. Respondents can read the draft code and fill in a consultation form on the NAO website. The new Code will come in to force no later than 1 April 2020 and will be in place for the next five years.

Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO, said: “The new Code of Audit Practice is an important opportunity to refocus local audit: offering robust assurance, transparency and accountability for local taxpayers on how well their money is being spent. The Code will bring a greater emphasis on value for money and aims to ensure auditors report in a more timely and impactful way.”

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