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BEIS White Paper: Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published a consultation on strengthening the UK’s framework for major companies and the way they are audited ('the White Paper'). 

The White Paper sets out the Government's proposals to respond to over 150 recommendations arising from independent reviews carried out by Sir John Kingman ('Independent Review of the Financial Reporting Council'), the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ('Statutory audit market services study') and Sir Donald Brydon ('The quality and effectiveness of audit: Independent review') (all links to BEIS website).

The proposed reforms in the paper set out how the Government plans to address the findings of each review and include a number of new measures in relation to directors, auditors and audit firms, the audit regulator and shareholders. The reforms are focused on the largest companies as this is where there is greatest public interest in ensuring that audit and corporate reporting are functioning effectively.  The Government wants its reforms to be effective and is therefore looking to make decisive changes. Previous attempts at incremental reform have not prevented the problems identified by the reviews. The proposals in the White Paper are therefore intended to be significant, targeted measures.

The most significant proposals covered in the White Paper are:

The comment period for the proposals closes on 8 July 2021.

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