Information Specific to Local Government Audit
The Local Government (Northern Ireland) Order 2005, as updated by the Local Government (Northern Ireland) Act 2014, provides that the Department for Communities (the Department) may, with the consent of the Comptroller and Auditor General (the C&AG), designate a member of NIAO staff as the Local Government Auditor. Once designated, this Auditor carries out their statutory and other responsibilities, and exercise their professional judgment, independently of the Department and the C&AG.
The statutory responsibilities and powers of the designated Local Government Auditor are set out in the 2005 Order and the 2014 Act. In discharging these, the Local Government Auditor is required to carry out their work in accordance with a Code of Audit Practice. The scope of external audit in Local Government is extended to cover not only the audit of the financial statements, but also the audited bodies arrangements for securing economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources, as well as councils’ performance improvement responsibilities. The Code focuses on how the Local Government Auditor should carry out their wider range of functions and the audit of the financial statements is conducted in accordance with International Auditing Standards issued by the Financial Reporting Council
The Local Government Auditor can, if considered appropriate, make a Public Interest Report on any matter coming to notice in the course of an audit. In addition they can, if considered appropriate, conduct a Special Inspection of a local council in relation to its performance improvement responsibilities.
The Local Government Auditor is responsible for auditing:
- Local Councils;
- Joint Committees; and
- Other local government bodies.
The results of work undertaken by the Local Government Auditor are reported to the Members of Local Councils and local government bodies. The report on each set of accounts is published with the accounts by the audited body. They also provide an Annual Audit Letter to each body, which is also published by the audited body. In addition, a summary of key findings at each local council in relation to the improvement audits and assessments are published in the Local Government Auditor’s Annual Improvement Reports, which are available here.