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AUDIT COMMISSION FACES REVIEW

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The role of the Audit Commission in best value is expected to dominate a review of the quango's functions and effec...
The role of the Audit Commission in best value is expected to dominate a review of the quango's functions and effectiveness.

Local government minister Hilary Armstrong announced the five-yearly review of the watchdog last week.

'Anyone writing in to us will doubtless be taking best value into account,' a government spokesman said.

The Audit Commission welcomed the review as timely a year after the election. Director of local government studies Bob Chilton said: 'Government statements on a variety of policy areas clearly give a strong steer about our future role.'

In addition to best value, Mr Chilton said the review will examine the Audit Commission's role in future relations between local and central government, a greater London authority and partnerships with other inspectors.

In a statement to Parliament, Ms Armstrong said: 'In carrying out the study it is intended that the review team will consult with a wide range of interested parties and would welcome written representations from anyone who has views on the Audit Commission and its work.'

The review will be conducted by retired senior civil servant Paul McQuail, aided by an advisory panel with representatives from local government.

Such reviews have two stages. The first will look at whether the functions carried out by the Audit Commission are needed. The second will examine structure, funding, financial management and methods of operation. All the findings of the report will be made public. Interested parties have until 1 June to respond.

The last such review in 1993 gave the Audit Commission a clean bill of health and praised its efficiency.

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