HL Deb 01 February 2005 vol 669 cc8-9WS
Lord Rooker

My right honourable friend the Minister for Local and Regional Government has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have laid the Audit Commission's revised code of audit practice for consideration by the House. If approved, the code will prescribe the way in which auditors, appointed by the commission, are to carry out their functions to audit local government and NHS bodies under the Audit Commission Act 1998.

The Act requires the code to be approved by both Houses at least every five years. The current version of the code was approved in March 2000. The legislation also provides for the preparation of a "different Code" with respect to the audit of accounts of health services bodies. The Audit Commission has decided to prepare separate codes for local government and the NHS, primarily to reflect the increasingly divergent accounting, corporate governance and performance management frameworks in the two sectors, but also to facilitate the process of agreeing with the Healthcare Commission those elements of the draft NHS code which relate to auditors' local value for money work.

The new codes reflect the significant changes both in the operating environment of local government and NHS bodies and in auditing standards and practice since the current code was prepared.