This book explains, from a public law perspective, the constitutional purpose and significance of audit, a topic which has been largely neglected, and casts light on important aspects of accountability in the British system of government. The book suggests that audit, as an accountability mechanism, has been underplayed to date and that greater significance should be attributed to its role in delivering both democratic accountability and, within government, managerial accountability. The focus of the book is central government audit in Britain, but the constitutional role of audit at a local level and at a European Union level is also considered. The book begins by explaining, in a non -technical way, the basic concepts of accounting and audit, and sets audit in its historical context. The different types of audit and the institutional framework within which audit is conducted are then analysed. Any shortcomings in each area are identified and suggestions for change are explored.
The constitutional significance of the changes to the role of audit that are currently taking place are analysed, as are the effects of developments, such as the creation of agencies, contracting-out, and more recently, resource accounting and budgeting and devolution, on the constitutional role of audit. The fundamental principles, both institutional and substantive, of public sector audit are identified and new tasks that audit could fulfil at central government level are proposed.
`Audit, Accountability and Government...provides a useful and important contribution to the literature...is sensitive to the variety of audit forms and practices, and seeks to locate and understand this diversity...Overall, White and Hollingsworth have provided an important and well-researched reference point for scholars in accounting, social policy and political science as well as public law.'
Michael Power Public Law 2000.
highly recommended for those interested in British politics, public administration and consitutional issues. Well researched and written, the authors handle their material well and make excellent use of comparative material and case law. Josie Brooks, New Institutionalism and Organizational Theory, 2000.
a scholarly and well-written book. There is a considerable wealth of detail of the working of central accounting and auditing methods, written in an accessible format. Josie Brooks, New Institutionalism and Organizational Theory, 2000.
`This book makes a significant contribution to the debate on the accountability of the public sector in Britain ... in non-technical language ... The authors explain well the complicated relationship between the C&AG, the NAO and their principal audience the PAC.'
Josie Brooks, New Institutionalism and Organizational Theory, 2000.
List of Abbreviations
1: Audit, Accountability and Government
2: Accounting and Audit
3: The Framework of Central Government Audit
4: The Jurisdiction of the Comptroller and Auditor General
6: The Audience(s) for Audit
7: The Audit Commission
8: The European Court of Auditors