AN AUDITING firm which inspects the county council’s accounts has been put under special measures for its poor performance last year after it was revealed half of its inspected audits needed “significant” improvement.

Grant Thornton, which has inspected the accounts of Worcestershire County Council since 2015 and is set to do so until 2023, was named the worst performer by auditing watchdog Financial Reporting Council (FRC) as part of its annual reviews of the audits by the UK’s biggest accountants.

The FRC said half of the eight Grant Thornton audits it inspected for 2017/18 required “significant” improvement.

A damning report from the FRC found that none of the UK’s top auditors had reached the 90 per cent quality target and accused accountants of failing to properly challenge information supplied to them.

Grant Thornton, which also audits the accounts for the Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority and the chief constable and the police and crime commissioner for West Mercia Police as well as Wyre Forest, Redditch and Bromsgrove district councils,

The FRC has placed Grant Thornton’s audits under “increased scrutiny” after the report found just 50 per cent were good or required limited improvements.

Over the past five years, 26 per cent of Grant Thornton’s inspected audits have required significant improvement.

The firm has also come in for criticism for its audits of collapsed café chain Patisserie Valerie, which has already closed its store in Worcester.

The FRC has put Grant Thornton on a new improvement plan and said it would be increased the number of audits it will inspect next year.

Worcestershire County Council declined to comment.