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Spending watchdog publishes final draft of new Code of Audit Practice ahead of expected implementation in April

The National Audit Office has this week published the final draft of the new Code of Audit Practice, which sets out what local auditors of relevant local public bodies including councils, police, fire and NHS bodies are required to do to fulfil their statutory responsibilities under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

The final draft has been presented to Parliament by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Subject to Parliamentary approval, the new Code will come into effect in April 2020.

The NAO said key changes to the new Code “include the introduction of a narrative-style commentary on bodies’ arrangements for securing value for taxpayers, a sharper focus on arrangements supporting financial sustainability, governance, and improving value for money, and clearer expectations on timely and effective auditor reporting”.

The NAO has also published a document summarising the points raised through a public consultation on the draft Code in 2019, and the most significant changes that have been made since then to the final Code.

Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO, said: “The new Code of Audit Practice puts greater emphasis on timely and effective reporting by local auditors. Its focus on the areas that are important to local bodies will help them to strengthen their arrangements for securing value for taxpayers, and provide transparency and accountability for the public on how well their money is being spent.”

The new Code and consultation response document can be found on the NAO website.