Telling the whole place story

By John Tizard and David Walker | 13 July 2021
  • David Walker

A Fabian pamphlet calls on Labour to commit to a new Place Audit Office (PAO) within the National Audit Office. John Tizard and David Walker explain

S omething vital has been ignored in the recent and welcome revival of interest in place – how public spending in the local space is monitored and assessed. The gap is apparent not just in thinking about local government and advocacy of an expanded role for councils. In NHS plans for integration, audit and accountability get short shrift.

Auditing of council accounts is a mess, but the spending of health trusts, multi-academy trusts and other local bodies is not properly assessed for effectiveness, let alone equity or environmental sustainability. Big changes are needed – and we are not advocating the return of the Audit Commission, but we do say that ideas of ‘total place’ and ‘area-wide spending assessment’ need to be revisited.

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