This paper compares audit regulatory space in local government between the UK’s four countries—England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. It addresses current arrangements and practices, their historical background, and rationales for regulation in order to derive lessons for the future of public audit. It draws on the notion of regulatory space as extended through new audit spaces that specifically include public audit. The study is based on interviews with audit professionals and policy makers in each country, extensive documentation review, and observation. The comparison is structured by four themes: ‘Organisation and fragmentation’ concerns how the system is accredited and imbued with institutional capital. ‘Independence and competition’ addresses the independence of accounting firms and auditors, ‘audit scope’ reporting, and ‘inspection’ the assessments and rankings that have become part of public audit. The four countries exhibited similar emphasis on financial audit and reporting. They treated performance and fairness aspects differently.
Ferry, L., & Ahrens, T. (2022). The future of the regulatory space in local government audit: A comparative study of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Financial Accountability and Management, 38(3), 376-393. https://doi.org/10.1111/faam.12291