Audit watchdog to cut fees after making savings

THE spending watchdog for England’s local authorities has said today it will cut audit fees by 40 per cent.

The Audit Commission, which will be abolished this year, said outsourcing and internal cost-savings meant audit fees for most local public bodies will fall by £250m over five years.

The savings will come in part from the award of four contracts to the private sector. Grant Thornton, KPMG, Ernst & Young and Mazars subsidiary the DA Partnership are awaiting confirmation of the deals tomorrow.

Eugene Sullivan, chief executive, said he was “pleased” with the outcome but added: “But we should also acknowledge that this is a pivotal point in the history of public service. We will be losing a distinctive, and publicly-owned, local public audit service and its District Auditors who have helped to protect the public purse effectively for over 150 years.”