External audit is an essential element in the process of accountability for public money and makes an important contribution to the stewardship of public resources and the corporate governance of public services.
Audit in the public sector is underpinned by the following fundamental principles.
- Auditors are appointed independently from the bodies being audited.
- The scope of auditors' work is extended to cover not only the audit of financial statements but also value for money and the conduct of public business.
- Auditors may report aspects of their work widely to the public and other key stakeholders.
The duties and powers of auditors appointed by the Audit Commission are set out in the Audit Commission Act 1998, the Local Government Act 1999 and the Commission's statutory Code of Audit Practice. Under the Code of Audit Practice, appointed auditors are also required to comply with the current professional standards issued by the independent Auditing Practices Board.
Appointed auditors act quite seperately from the Commission and in meeting their statutory responsibilities are required to exercise their professional judgement independently of both the Commission and the audited body.
Annual Audit Letters
All Councils are subject to independent external review by an external auditor with the final conclusions and recommendations being presented to the Council in the Annual Audit Letter. The latest Annual Audit Letter summarises the findings from the work of the external auditor on the Council over the last year.
To assist public accountability, Selby District Council is required to make arrangements to publish its Annual Audit Letter and make it readily available to residents of the district and other interested parties.
The Annual Audit Letter draws on the findings and conclusions from the audit of the Council that has been undertaken in the last financial year.