§ Mr. Macdonald
[holding answer 22 July 1998]: Internal audit is a fundamental element of the financial and management controls which local authorities are responsible for having in place. As part of their routing regulatory work, the external auditors of local authorities assess the quality of the internal audit against set CIPFA standards. Where the auditors identify weaknesses in the council's internal audit process, they will recommend action, either to council officials or members depending on the nature of the shortcoming. Any recommendations made by the auditors are checked to ensure that they have been fulfilled. Where they are not, and if there is something fundamentally wrong, the auditor can choose to report this to the Controller of Audit, which might lead to a Special Report being made to the Secretary of State.