Fury over audit costs

NUMBER crunchers have been blasted after demanding huge increases on fees paid by local authorities for checks on their finances. Mid Suffolk District Council has labelled increases proposed by the Audit Commission “outrageous” and has called for an inquiry into how the figures were calculated.

NUMBER crunchers have been blasted after demanding huge increases on fees paid by local authorities for checks on their finances.

Mid Suffolk District Council has labelled increases proposed by the Audit Commission “outrageous” and has called for an inquiry into how the figures were calculated.

The Audit Commission, an independent public body charged with ensuring public money is spent properly, is asking for a 14 per cent increase to its fees for the financial year starting in April.

This comes despite an increase in the council's government settlement this year of just 1.8 pc.


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Tim Passmore, leader of MSDC, said: “The Audit Commission's proposal is outrageous and completely unacceptable at a time when we have enormous pressures on our budget.

“The public rightly expects us to reduce our costs and be efficient; we expect the Audit Commission to do the same

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“They would do well to practice what they preach and apply the principles of 'value for money' and to bear in mind their three parameters of economy, efficiency and effectiveness”.

Mid Suffolk claims the rising fees could end up being passed on to residents as it may have to raise council tax by an additional 0.5pc to cover the cost.

A spokeswoman for the Audit Commission said: “The total cost of the Commission's fees will decrease for most local authorities.

“This is because there will be a significant reduction in inspection fees due to the introduction of a lighter touch form of assessment of local public services, Comprehensive Area Assessment.”

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