Consultations on measures to address local audit delays

Published: 6 February 2024

2 minute read

Timely, high-quality financial reporting and audit of local bodies is a vital part of our democratic system. It supports good decision making by local bodies and ensures transparency and accountability to local taxpayers.

The backlog in the publication of audited accounts by local bodies has grown to an unacceptable level. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has worked collaboratively with the FRC as incoming shadow system leader, and other system partners, to develop measures to address the delay in local audit. The proposals that have been developed maintain auditor independence and enable compliance with International Standards on Auditing (UK) (ISAs (UK)). The proposals consist of three phases:

  • Phase 1: Reset involving clearing the backlog of historic audit opinions up to and including financial year 2022/23 by 30 September 2024.
  • Phase 2: Recovery from Phase 1 in a way that does not cause a recurrence of the backlog by using backstop dates to allow assurance to be rebuilt over multiple audit cycles.
  • Phase 3: Reform involving addressing systemic challenges in the local audit system and embedding timely financial reporting and audit.

The development of these proposals has involved widespread engagement since summer 2023 with auditors and finance teams.

To support the further development and testing of the measures, consultations took place, in partnership with the FRC, to receive further feedback and inform the decision on how to proceed. A Joint Statement, issued by all system partners, sets out an overview of the proposals under consultation to support the local audit system to reset and recover. More information on each consultation and supporting material can be found below.


All these consultations concluded in spring 2024.

DLUHC Consultation on the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015

DLUHC sought views on changes to the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 to introduce a backstop date of 30 September 2024 for the publication of audited accounts up to and including 2022/23, and a series of future backstop dates covering the remainder of the PSAA appointment period.

Visit the DLUHC consultation page (external link)

NAO Consultation on changes to the Code of Audit Practice

The NAO sought views on changes to the Code of Audit Practice to support auditors to meet backstop dates and promote more timely reporting of their work on value for money arrangements.

Visit the NAO consultation page (external link)

CIPFA Consultation on temporary changes to the Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting for 2023/24 and 2024/25

The CIPFA/LASAAC Local Authority Code Board issued a consultation on short term England-only measures in the Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom (the Code). The proposals are to aid the recovery of local authority reporting and audit as set out in a joint statement from DLUHC and other system partners issued in February 2024.

Visit the CIPFA consultation page (external link)