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National Audit Office to investigate local government governance and accountability

The National Audit Office is to conduct a study of local government governance and accountability that will “examine key elements of local arrangements in the light of current pressures”.

The watchdog will also examine how the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which is responsible for maintaining the overall accountability system for local government, is exercising its responsibilities as the steward of the system.

The NAO said: “Council governance and accountability arrangements are key in securing value for money locally. However, these arrangements are being tested by the current financial circumstances in the sector. Increasingly difficult decisions need to be made to protect key services and ensure financial sustainability. This includes the design and delivery of large service transformation programmes and the pursuit of new sources of revenue income through commercial investments.

“Local governance and accountability arrangements provide assurance about decision making processes and support the mitigation of risk in this increasingly challenging and complex environment.”

The NAO report is expected to be published in early 2019.

A report from the Committee for Standards in Public Life on local government ethical standards is due to come out later this year.