In a bold move to improve the effectiveness of its audits, Lambeth LBC is one of the few in the country to invite bids to run its 'financial watchdog'. The contract, worth over£1.5m, covers planned and routine audits plus specialist computer and contract auditing. An in-house service will remain, led by the chief internal auditor (client) for follow-up and value-for-money studies.
The council's corporate anti-fraud team will continue its work within the chief executive's office. Six Lambeth employees will be transferring to Coopers & Lybrand.
Five firms put in bids for the contract, including four of the big six UK accountancy firms. Coopers & Lybrand was selected as the lead tenderer in February. Since then the council has used the 'negotiated approach' to develop partnership arrangements, including regeneration objectives. Coopers & Lybrand proposed several innovative ideas, including controls awareness training to equip Lambeth managers with the skills they need to minimise systems risk and improve controls.
Coopers & Lybrand partner, Gareth Oakland, who will be responsible for the service was delighted to be working with Lambeth to help them achieve their objectives. He said:
'This will be a significant challenge for us as Lambeth goes through a period of unprecedented change. We expect to make a major impact in all areas of service delivery.'