The Audit Commission should audit, not give out green and red flags

In our book How to cut public spending, we suggested scrapping Comprehensive Area Assessments (CAAs) for local government. They have been scrapped, which is good news. As part of our rationale, we suggested that the Audit Commission should audit accounts and detect fraud, and lose its compliance role entirely. Councils shouldn't be subject to central government enforcement to meet targets and then awarded with stars or green or red flags.

An article by John Seddon over at Conservative Home today echoes these calls - that the Audit Commission should be "ensuring probity". While CAAs have been scrapped, the broader question of what happens next with local government compliance and performance assessment has been left somewhat unanswered. It doesn't strike me that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) want to replace CAAs, but firmly setting out the role of the Audit Commission as an auditor of local government and NHS accounts and nothing else should go some way to putting any doubts to bed.

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