The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, has announced Jeremy Newman as his preferred candidate for the position of Chairman of the Audit Commission Board. Jeremy is the former Chief Executive (2008-2011) of BDO International and prior to that was managing partner (2001-2008) of BDO’s UK firm. Earlier this year he acted as an interim consultant to RSM Tenon PLC. He is a chartered accountant by profession.
Jeremy will attend a pre-appointment hearing at the Communities and Local Government Select Committee on 3 September. The Committee will then issue a report setting out its views on the candidate’s suitability for the post.
The Government announced its intention to close the Audit Commission in August 2010, and the inspection function of the Commission has already ceased and the work of its in-house audit practice outsourced to the private sector. A draft bill containing proposals for the future audit regime was published in July 2012. In the future, councils will be free to appoint their own independent external auditors from a more competitive and open market and there will be a new audit framework for local health bodies.
The full programme of reforms will bring in a more localist approach and is expected to save £650million in public money over the next five years.
The current Chairman’s term of appointment will end on 30 September 2012. The new Chairman will lead the Commission to an effective and efficient closedown, and oversee the delivery of its reduced functions until the organisation is formally disbanded.
Notes to editors
The Chairman is appointed by the Secretary is State under the Audit Commission Act 1998 part 1, 1 (3).
Appointments to the Audit Commission are regulated by the Office for the Commissioner of Public Appointments. The Department for Communities and Local Government advertised for a Chairman throughout June 2012 and interviewed on 26 July 2012. The selection process followed the process set out in the code issued by the Office for the Commissioner of Public Appointments. The code can be found at: http://publicappointmentscommissioner.independent.gov.uk/the-code-of-practice (external link).
DCLG published a draft bill on 6 July 2012 and is currently consulting proposed new audit framework for local public bodies, the process for the appointment of auditors, and the regulatory framework for local public audit. The consultation can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/draftlocalauditbill.