External audit reports: the role of the audit committee
03 April 2019
As reported in the recent National Audit Office report on local auditor reporting there has been an increase over recent years in the number of audit reports containing qualified conclusions on VFM arrangements and an increase in qualified CCG regularity opinions. Issues raised largely relate to weaknesses in financial management and financial sustainability.
In the context of ongoing financial pressures and change in the NHS, the need for strong financial and governance arrangements is particularly important. Auditors provide a key source of information to audit committee members, and the public, in determining and reporting on the financial statements, VFM arrangements and other matters.
The audit committee has a crucial role in scrutinising these arrangements. Committee members must ensure that they fully understand external audit reports so that they are in a position to effectively scrutinise and challenge actions being taken to address issues being raised.
This short paper is intended to support audit committee members to easily understand the range of external audit reports and additional powers.