§ Mr. Drew
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what investigations are currently under way into the auditing procedures for town and parish councils; 
(2) what recent discussions have been held between officials of his Department and representatives of the National Association of Local Councils the auditing procedures faced by town and parish councils. 392W
§ Ms Beverley Hughes
[holding answer 5 November 1999]: Audit procedures are a matter for the independent Audit Commission. Their officials have been discussing with the National Association of Local Councils a pilot exercise to investigate whether the cost of audits of town and parish councils can be reduced whilst maintaining the necessary level of assurance.