Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (448)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

448. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the process that will be in place to audit the spending of property taxes in the local communities in which they are collected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10039/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The introduction of the Local Property Tax will provide a more sustainable funding model for local government, devolve greater responsibility for financial decisions to the local level, and help renew the relationship between the citizen and his or her local authority.

The audit arrangements which generally apply to local authority financial activity will apply to the Local Property Tax.

The governance framework in relation to financial management and reporting in local authorities is contained primarily within the Local Government Act 2001 and the Local Government (Financial Procedures and Audit) Regulations 2002. Local authorities are subject to a number of financial reporting requirements. Some of these requirements are statutory while others form part of the Department’s general governance processes, the financial oversight function s of the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform and also specific requirements relating to the EU/IMF programme of support.

Section 108 of the Local Government Act 2001 requires every local authority to prepare an Annual Financial Statement. The annual financial statements of local authorities are audited by the Local Government Audit Service, which provides independent scrutiny of the financial stewardship of local authorities. The independence of the Audit Service is protected in legislation.

In addition, in line with best practice in corporate governance, audit committees have been established in all County and City Councils. Audit committees have an independent role in advising Councils on financial reporting processes, internal control, risk management and audit matters.