Headlines: April 17th, 1998

The taxpayers’ watchdog of local government and the health service, the Audit Commission, is being subjected to review. The Commission appoints auditors to audit the accounts of councils and health service bodies and carries out studies to assess the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of services.The review team will be led by Paul McQuail, a retired senior civil servant in the former Department of the Environment. An Advisory Group, with representatives from the Audit Commission, the health service and local and central government,  will be set up to oversee the review.

The first stage of the review will be a prior options study focusing on whether the functions carried out by the Commission are needed and, if so, whether they  are best undertaken by the Commission or some other body. The second stage will examine the structure, funding, financial management and methods of operation.

The review team will consult with a wide range of interested parties and would welcome written representations from anyone who has views on the Audit Commission and its work. Comments and written representations should be sent to: Ian Taylor, Local Government Sponsorship Division, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Zone 5/B1, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London, SW1E 5DU (or by e-mail to lgs.detr@dial.pipex.com). Comments should arrive no later than 1 June 1998.