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Protect responds to UK audit reform report

A review calling on a total overhaul of the UK audit profession, following a series of corporate scandals has been welcomed by Protect.

Former London Stock Exchange Chairman, Sir Donald Brydon was tasked with reviewing the auditing sector, and his report,  ‘Assess, Assure and Inform, Improving Audit Quality and Effectiveness, states: ‘Audit is not broken but it has lost its way and all the actors in the audit process bear some measure of responsibility.’

The report calls fo a redefinition of audit, separating audit work from accountancy and reinforcing its role as a public interest function

Protect Acting Chief Executive, Liz Gardiner said: “We welcome the Brydon report’s proposals, and in particular the recognition that whistleblowing protections do not go far enough. As we have seen with recent scandals from Carillion to Patisserie Valerie, all too often wrongdoing can go undetected. There needs to be far greater transparency in auditing, and better protections for those who speak up.

“Going to an auditor may be an obvious choice for a whistleblower if the concerns are financial, but auditors are not generally prescribed persons. We support Sir Donald’s call for changes to the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) to widen the categories of concern so that they include financial misrepresentation, and so that a broader list of people – including shareholders and suppliers – are protected if they raise concerns about financial wrongdoing.”

Protect is campaigning to update PIDA and has drafted a Whistleblowing Bill which has greater scope and better protections than the current law.