Public sector managers should not use their auditors as a convenient excuse for failing to improve services, leading audit organisations have warned.

In a response to the Modernising Government white paper, the Public Audit Forum says proposals for introducing 'joined-up government' will challenge existing practice.

But the group, which represents four audit bodies including the National Audit Office and Audit Commission, warns: 'It is important for public sector management and auditors to develop a positive message that the need to ensure proper accountability will not be treated as an excuse for missing opportunities to deliver better value for money.'

Implications for Audit of the Modernising Government Agenda. The Public Audit Forum. www.public-audit-forum.gov.uk