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Local Government Finance

Volume 498: debated on Monday 26 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) audit and (b) inspection fees the Audit Commission has charged each local authority in England in each of the last three years. (294089)

This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission, and I will ask the chief executive of the Audit Commission to write to the hon. Member direct.

Letter from Steve Bundred, dated 22 October 2009:

Parliamentary Question: what (a) audit and (b) inspection fees the Audit Commission has charged each local authority in England in each of the last three years.

Your Parliamentary Question outlined above has been passed to me to reply.

Attached are two tables providing the audit and inspection fees the Audit Commission has charged to each principal local authority in England in each of the last three years (2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09).

The lists of bodies are different as not all local authorities (as defined by section 270 of the Local Government Act 1972) are subject to the Audit Commission's inspection powers.

Audit fees (Table 1)—tables available in the Library of the House.

The audit fees provided exclude some 9,500 parish and town councils. The vast majority of these have income or expenditure below £1 million and are subject to the limited assurance audit approach set out in Schedule 1 to the statutory Code of Audit Practice. They have fixed audit fees based on the income or expenditure and we have excluded the fees as it would take a disproportionate amount of time to collate the information requested.

The final audit fees for:

the audit of the 2008/09 accounts; and

nine 2007/08 audits, which have yet to be certified as completed (marked by *);

have not yet been determined by the Commission (as required by section 7 of the Audit Commission Act 1998) as not all audits have been completed. We expect the fees to be determined early in 2010.

Inspection fees (Table 2)

The inspection fees provided relate to the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) system. Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) was introduced from 1 April 2009; and with the introduction of CAA, the Commission's income from inspection fees has reduced significantly. Comparing the final full year of CPA (2007/08) with the first year of CAA (2009/10), inspection fee income from local authorities has reduced from £11.6 million to £6.7 million.

A copy of this letter has been placed in Hansard.