A review of the way local authority finances are audited will focus on whether problems are being spotted early enough.
Communities secretary James Brokenshire said the review would examine the effectiveness of local authority financial reporting and audit regime.
He told the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) annual conference that there are far reaching consequences when audits are not carried out properly.
The review will be led by the former CIPFA president Sir Tony Redmond.
He is expected to report his initial recommendations in December with the final report published in March next year.
Mr Brokenshire said: 'A robust local audit system is absolutely pivotal to work on oversight, not just because it reinforces confidence in financial reporting but also service delivery and, ultimately, our faith in local democracy.
'There are potentially far-reaching consequences when audits aren’t carried out properly and they fail to detect significant problems.
'I am delighted Sir Tony Redmond will be leading this work and I await his report towards the end of this year.'