Drawing on responses from a wide range of organisations, the commission says the plan puts taxpayers and service users at the heart of public audit and inspection.
--To raise standards of financial management and financial reporting
--To challenge public bodies to deliver better value for money
--To encourage continual improvement in public services so they meet the changing needs of diverse communities and provide fair access for all
--To promote high standards of governance and accountability
--To stimulate significant improvement in the quality of data and the use of information by decision makers
These principles will guide the Audit Commission through a period of extensive reform as local public services strive to meet the public's demands for improvements. At the same time, public services regulation is being streamlined by reducing the number of inspectorates from 11 to four with responsibility for: local services; health and adult social care; education, children's services and skills; and justice, community safety and custody.
Michael Lyons, acting commission chairman, said: 'Our latest strategic plan continues to emphasise the importance of value for money and sound financial management in the delivery of public services. We are also underlining the important contribution of reliable information. We recognise that all public bodies face increasing pressure to improve services and deliver efficiency savings. Our plan is prepared against that background and against changes in the framework of regulation. It seeks to focus our efforts and resources on working with local agencies to both challenge and support their efforts.'
The Audit Commission's partnerships with the National Audit Office, the Healthcare Commission, the Housing Corporation, and many other bodies will continue to play a major role in delivering regulation that supports the provision of services while meeting the needs of diverse communities and ensuring value for money for the public pound.
* The strategic plan is available here