Fire Minister Bob Neill has announced reappointments to the board of the Audit Commission as part of plans to move its audit functions into the private sector.

Lord Adebowale of Thornes and Bharat Shah have both agreed to continue to serve on the board until the end of 2012. In addition to these reappointments, further commissioners will be recruited to the board by open competition in order to bring in new private sector expertise.

EricPicklesIn August Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced plans to disband the commission after 2012, and refocus audit on helping local people hold councils and local public bodies to account for local spending decisions as part of the coalition government's 'localism' agenda. The organisation's in-house audit practice is to be transferred out of public ownership after 2012. Over the following year, a range of options will be developed for converting the audit practice into a business independent of government which could then be sold or otherwise transferred into the private sector.

Mr Pickles thanked Dame Denise Platt, Dr Raj Rajagopal, and Jenny Watson, whose terms as commissioners finished in August, for their contributions to the work of the Audit Commission.

Bob Neill said: "I'm pleased to announce that Lord Adebowale and Bharat Shah have both agreed to continue to serve as commissioners. There will also be some new appointments to the Commission as we make plans to move it into the private sector. These appointments will be by open competition and we are keen to bring in private sector expertise and skills to help with the upcoming transition.

"This department will be working closely with the Audit Commission, the accountancy profession, and the local government and health sectors to develop the detailed design of the new systems. I would like to thank all departing commissioners for their contributions to the Audit Commission's work."

In the future it is planned that councils will be free to appoint their own independent external auditors from a more competitive and open market. There will also be a new audit framework for local health bodies.