Headlines: June 29th, 2009

The Audit Commission is talking to unions about planned job cuts. It is proposing to cut its field force numbers by 100 with the planned redundancies taking place during this financial year.

The Commission says its recommending the reduced workforce following the move to Comprehensive Area Assessment, which is shortly to be known as ‘oneplace’, because of the lower levels of inspection involved. Local government reorganisation and the move to more unitary authorities has also cut the number of public bodies that need to be audited.

Headquarters staff numbers and corporate services are also under review, as well as staff pay and grading. The Commission has also confirmed that a third of its central London office space has been re-let after staff adopted more streamlined working practices.

The Commission’s Chief Executive, Steve Bundred, said: “We want to be exemplary in our commitment to providing value for money, demonstrably practising what we preach over new ways of working, shared services and use of technology.”

In an attempt to help councils, primary care trusts and other audited bodies the Commission is subsidising the extra costs of bringing in new international financial reporting standards and it will shortly begin consultations on a proposed scale of fees for 2010-11 and indicative fees for the following two years. The proposed fees will recognise the financial pressures that public bodies are facing during the downturn.