Headlines: March 21st, 2012

The Audit Commission is to cut audit fees for the country’s 9,800 smaller local public bodies, mainly parish and town councils.

The Audit Commission has set up five-year audit contracts to start in 2012/13. The savings from the procurement mean almost 4,500, around half of England’s small local public bodies, will not have to pay any audit fees at all. Those small bodies with annual income/expenditure of up to £10,000 will now fall into the ‘nil fee’ band. Currently this applies to just over 1,000 bodies with income/expenditure up to only £1,000. The savings also mean the fees for other small bodies will be cut by 30 per cent.

Chief Executive of the Audit Commission, Eugene Sullivan, says: ‘This shows the bulk purchasing power of the Audit Commission. We have attracted very competitive bids from private audit firms, putting the money saved back into the budgets of local bodies.’

The contracts will be awarded to Littlejohn LLP, Grant Thornton (UK) LLP, BDO LLP Mazars LLP.

This procurement completes the process of outsourcing the work of the Commission’s own in-house Audit Practice to the private sector.