The Removal of a Specialist Oversight Body for Local Public Audit: Insights from the Health Service in England
Forthcoming in Financial Accountability and Management
Posted: 3 Nov 2013 Last revised: 11 Nov 2013
Date Written: November 2, 2013
The abolition of the Audit Commission in England and Wales removes the ‘protector of the public purse’. The oversight body and its audit practice are largely replaced by the private sector regime and audit firms. We analyse the audit market for health service foundation trusts, an area of local public audit that operates without oversight from the Commission. We find evidence of premiums paid to some Big4 firms and that the presence of specialist public service auditors results in fee discounts. The firms limit their liability and assurance of audit quality is reduced under new audit regimes and governance structures.
Keywords: audit oversight bodies, specialist auditors, premium audit fees, audit quality, audit independence, governance, foundation trusts
JEL Classification: M4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation