Launched two years ago and updated annually, the calendar aims to give local authorities and inspectorates a clear plan of the audit and inspection work that will affect them in the next 12 months. It can also be used by the public, the media and interested parties, such as school governors or residents' associations, as an alert for upcoming reports on key services in their area.
The clear partnership working, which has led to better coordination of activity between agencies and improved planning arrangements for councils, is a main focus of the commission's strategic regulation approach. Strategic regulation focuses on targeting inspection on authorities in the most need, principally those rated 'poor', 'weak' or 'fair' under the annual comprehensive performance assessment.
This approach also places inspection and audit within the broader improvement planning context, showing how the work of auditors and inspectors relates directly to councils' individual improvement priorities.
The online calendar contains:
.links between planned audit and inspection activity and councils' priorities for improvements;
.the scope and timetabling of planned audit and inspection activity;
.dates for planned outputs (for example, a published inspection report or an audit report); and
.details of all the organisations involved in delivering the regulatory activity.
Frances Done, managing director for local government at the Audit Commission, said: 'The calendar is a transparent view of the work of the leading local government inspectorates for the year ahead. It will help councils better prepare for inspection activity and allow the public and media to know when reports on key services are due. This project reflects the Audit Commission's commitment to Strategic Regulation, with better partnership working avoiding unnecessary inconvenience for inspected bodies.'
The coordinated audit and inspection calendar can be found here.
The multi-agency calendar is hosted by the Audit Commission in partnership with the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate, Commission for Social Care Inspection, Ofsted and other organisations that carry out work in local authorities, such as the Healthcare Commission, HM Inspectorate of Probation and the Food Standards Agency.