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Spending watchdog consults on new Code of Audit Practice for local auditors

The National Audit Office has launched a consultation on the development of a new Code of Audit Practice, which sets out what local auditors of relevant local public bodies are required to do to fulfil their statutory responsibilities under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

The 2014 Act requires that the Code be reviewed, and revisions considered at least every five years. The NAO said the current Code came into force on 1 April 2015, and its maximum five-year lifespan means it now needs to be reviewed and a new Code laid in Parliament in time for it to come in to force no later than 1 April 2020.

The watchdog added that in order to determine what changes might be appropriate, it was consulting on potential changes to the Code. This would be done in two stages in two stages:

  • Stage 1 involves engagement with key stakeholders and public consultation on the issues that are considered to be relevant to the development of the Code.
  • Stage 2 – to be undertaken in the second half of 2019 – involves public consultation on the draft text for the new Code, which will be developed after considering the responses to the consultation at Stage 1.

The consultation document, which can be viewed here, supports Stage 1 of the process.

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The NAO said it plans to consult on the draft Code text (Stage 2) during September-November 2019, and to finalise the Code by the end of 2019, ready to be laid in Parliament early in 2020.

The new Code will apply from audits of local bodies’ 2020-21 financial statements onwards.

The consultation will close on 31 May 2019.

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