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Government to scrap Audit Commission

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has today announced that the Audit Commission will be scrapped saving the UK government around £50 million a year. This is a body which has been in place since 1983 and basically overlooks the quality of service offered by local authorities around the UK. Despite the fact that the Audit Commission had already been looking towards transferring many of its functions to the private sector this particular news item came out of the blue.

The Commission employs 2,000 people throughout the UK and while the £50 million cost saving will be well received by the UK government it seems rather bizarre to close down a body which is overlooking the quality of service and value for money offered to UK taxpayers. The assumption now is that the vast majority of services offered by the Audit Commission will be transferred to the private sector although this could be on a local authority by local authority basis. But is this the most cost-effective way to audit and monitor value for money for taxpayers?

This is yet another controversial decision by the coalition government which has attracted the headlines of the financial press. It will be interesting to see how the authorities fully justified this particular move although, as expected, Eric Pickles is focusing upon the £50 million a year saving for taxpayers.

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