Protecting the public purse

Statement of responsibilities of auditors and audited bodies

The Audit Commission (the Commission) is responsible for appointing auditors and determining their terms of appointment, as well as for preparing a Code of Audit Practice, which prescribes the way in which auditors are to carry out their functions. The Commission has prepared a Code for the audits of local government bodies and a Code for the audit of local NHS bodies. From time to time, the Commission issues guidance to auditors under section 3(8) of the Audit Commission Act 1998 (the Act) and paragraph 7 of Schedule 1 to the Act. This statement sets out guidance on general responsibilities relevant to audits in both sectors and so supports each Code.

The purpose of this statement is to assist auditors and audited bodies by summarising where – in the context of the usual conduct of an audit – the different responsibilities of auditors and of the audited body begin and end, and what is to be expected of the audited body in certain areas. Throughout this statement, the term ‘audited body’ covers both the members of the body (for example, elected members in local authorities and directors of NHS bodies) and its management (the senior officers of the body).

The responsibilities of auditors are derived from statute (principally the Audit Commission Act 1998) and from the Code. Nothing in this statement is intended to limit or extend those responsibilities. In particular, audited bodies should note that, because auditors must not prejudice their independence of the audited body, the audit role does not include providing financial or legal advice or consultancy to the audited body.

Auditors may wish to refer to, and/or incorporate, this statement in audit planning documents, annual audit letters, reports and other audit outputs.


Statement of responsibilities: Local government – effective for audits from 1 April 2010
Statement of responsibilities: NHS – effective for audits from 1 April 2010 (updated April 2014)
Statement of responsibilities: Small bodies – effective for audits from 1 April 2010