Announcement

The Audit Commission - appointment of new commissioners

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has today announced three appointments to the Audit Commission Board, as the Government…

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has today announced three appointments to the Audit Commission Board, as the Government presses ahead with plans to move the audit function of the organisation into the private sector.

In September the Minister for Local Government announced that new commissioners would be recruited to the Board. Brian Landers, Janet Baker and Tony Harris have been appointed following open competition. The three individuals bring significant private sector expertise that will be crucial in steering the organisation as it addresses new challenges.

The Secretary of State has also extended Jennifer Dixon’s term on the Board, so that her expertise on health matters can continue to be utilised by the Commission.

Eric Pickles the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Brian Landers, Janet Baker and Tony Harris as commissioners on the Audit Commission Board. They will bring significant private sector expertise to the Board.

Jennifer Dixon has made a valuable contribution to the work of the Commission and I am delighted to announce that she will be able to continue supporting the Commission through its transition.

Our plans to refocus audit on helping local people and to move the audit expertise of the Commission into the private sector will pass power down to people, replace bureaucratic accountability with democratic accountability and save the taxpayer some £50m a year. The skills and expertise these individuals bring to the Commission will be crucial in managing the smooth transition of the organisation to the private sector in the coming months.

The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced in August plans to disband the Commission after 2012 and refocus audit on helping local people hold councils and local public bodies to account for local spending decisions.

Subject to Parliament enacting the necessary legislation, local audits will be regulated within a statutory framework overseen by the National Audit Office and the profession. Councils will appoint their own independent external auditors and there will be new audit arrangements for local health bodies.

The Audit Commission’s in-house audit practice, which is the fifth largest audit practice in the country, is to be transferred out of public ownership after 2012. Over the next year a range of options will be developed for converting the audit practice into a business independent of Government which could be sold or otherwise transferred into the private sector.

Notes to editors

  1. Brian Landers worked previously as Finance and Operations Director at Penguin Group UK up until 2009, and as Finance Director at Habitat and the retail division at WH Smith in the 1990s. He is Treasurer Designate for Amnesty UK.

Janet Baker started her career in local government, and then as a management consultant at Coopers and Lybrand and Ernst and Young, before moving to PA Consulting Group where she was a Senior Partner until 2006. She was a Board Member and Chair of the Audit Committee of the Healthcare Purchasing Consortium (NHS) until May 2010, and is currently a Non Executive Director on the Board of the Defence Support Group, and on the Treasury Group Audit Committee.

Tony Harris is the ex-Chief Executive of ADT Fire and Security plc (up until 2008), was Managing Director at NTL between 2004 and 2006 and President of Business Services at BT until 2003. His earlier career was at DHL where he was an Executive Board Member for 11 years. He is currently a Non-Executive Director of DEX Corporation, Worcester Rugby Club and the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust where he is Chairman of the Integrated Governance Committee and a member of the Audit Committee.

  1. The Audit Commission currently helps citizens to hold public bodies to account for their spending - and whether they offer value for money and improve quality of life in local areas. The Commission works across local government, health, housing, community safety and fire and rescue services; together, these 11,000 organisations spend around £200bn a year.

  2. The appointment of Brian Landers, Janet Baker and Tony Harris, and the extension of Jennifer Dixon’s term have been made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice for ministerial appointments to public bodies. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public.

  3. The appointments and extension will cover the period from 1 November up until 31 December 2012. The Commissioners will be paid £14,358 per annum based on a time commitment of three days per month.

  4. Brian Landers does not currently hold any other public appointments. He has declared that he has not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.

Janet Baker holds other public appointments at the Defence Support Group (a trading fund of the Ministry of Defence), and HM Treasury’s Audit Committee and Infrastructure Funding Board, with remuneration of £20,000 per annum and £10,000 per annum respectively. She has declared that she has not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.

Tony Harris holds a public appointment with the Royal Surrey Hospital, with remuneration of £10,000 per annum. He has declared that he is Treasurer of the Cobham Branch of the Esher and Walton Conservative Association.

Jennifer Dixon does not hold any other public appointments. She has declared that she has not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.

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