Annual Report and Accounts 2020/21

Governance report

Principles of governance

The principles of the governance structure of PSAA are set out in the Articles of Association and the Memorandum of Understanding, such that the company:

  • has a governance structure which transmits, delegates, implements and enforces decisions appropriately;
  • has trustworthy internal controls to safeguard, channel and record resources as intended;
  • works cooperatively with partners while supporting the Board’s duty to protect PSAA’s independence;
  • operates with propriety and regularity in all its transactions;
  • treats its counterparties fairly, honestly and with integrity;
  • offers appropriate redress for failure to meet agreed standards; and
  • gives timely, transparent and realistic accounts of its business and decisions.
Governance structure

PSAA is a private company established under the Companies Act 2006, without share capital and limited by guarantee. It is wholly owned by the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), which in turn is wholly owned by the Local Government Association (LGA).

The primary duty of the company is to discharge the statutory objects and powers set out in its Articles of Association in accordance with the Companies Act 2006 and the company’s founding documents. The principal legislation governing the statutory functions of PSAA is the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

The role of the IDeA, as founder of the company, is to support PSAA in discharging its functions and achieving its objectives. The IDeA acknowledges the independence of the company and the responsibility for running the company as that of PSAA and the Board.

PSAA’s governance structure and corporate governance framework are underpinned by the standards promoted by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

The PSAA Board

The Board as a whole is legally responsible for the management and stewardship of the company in the discharge of its purpose and powers in accordance with the Companies Act 2006 and the company’s founding documents. The Board alone is responsible for agreeing the company’s strategy, and for determining its budget.

The Chairman of the Board is a non-executive director, appointed by the IDeA in February 2015, and subsequently reappointed in 2017 and again in January 2021 for a three-year term. The other four non-executive directors are appointed by the Chairman, with the approval of the IDeA. The Board has developed a succession plan which has been agreed by the IDeA Board. It involves the gradual refreshing of Board membership over the next few years.

As a first step in implementing the succession plan Marta Phillips, was appointed to the Board to succeed Clive Grace who stepped down on 31 March 2021.

The Chairman is the leader of the Board, working closely with the Board, the Chief Executive and the staff of the company. Board members act collectively, and do not have individual executive authority.

Board members attended the following meetings during 2020/21:

Board members Position Board meetings
Steve Freer Chairman 6/6
Caroline Gardner Non-executive director 6/6
Clive Grace Non-executive director 6/6
Stephen Sellers Non-executive director 6/6
Keith House Non-executive director 6/6
Audit committee

The audit committee is chaired by Caroline Gardner, a non-executive director of PSAA. Membership of the audit committee comprised of Stephen Sellers, Keith House, and an independent member. Until July 2020 the independent member was Kathryn Cearns. In August we appointed Marta Phillips as independent member of the audit committee. However, with effect from 1 April 2021 Marta has been appointed to the PSAA Board. Alan Edwards has been appointed to succeed Marta in the role of independent member of the PSAA Audit Committee. Further information about the directors of PSAA are available on our website at: Board members – PSAA.  In March 2021 Stephen Sellers stepped down from the Audit Committee. We thank Stephen for his invaluable contribution.

The audit committee is responsible for scrutinising the company’s internal controls, key risks and risk management, and spending. Broadly, the audit committee is required to oversee production of the annual accounts, consider appointment of the internal and external auditors, and scrutinise aspects of PSAA’s financial, accounting, risk management and governance arrangements and policies.

Chief Executive

The company’s Chief Executive has executive responsibility to the Board for the work of the company and for its staff, and ensures that the Chairman and Board have timely, accurate and clear information to carry out their responsibilities.

The Board has delegated authority to the Chief Executive for the day-to-day management of the company, with responsibility for the overall organisation, management and staffing and for its procedures including conduct and discipline.

The arrangements for the aspects of the company’s operations for which the Chief Executive is responsible are set out in the scheme of delegation in the PSAA corporate governance framework. The Chief Executive receives assurance from the company’s senior managers on the correct operation of these arrangements, and aspects of the arrangements are subject to annual review by the company’s internal and external auditors.

Details of PSAA’s executive team are available on the website: Executive team – PSAA.

Corporate governance framework

PSAA’s corporate governance framework is published on the company’s website. The corporate governance framework sets out clearly which matters are delegated, and which are reserved to the Board, and incorporates the company’s financial policies. The Board and audit committee review the framework regularly. It was reviewed during 2020 and updated in December 2020.

PSAA’s arrangements in relation to risk management are covered in the Strategic Report included in this Annual Report.

PSAA’s internal auditors, TIAA Limited, presented their annual report in October 2020, confirming substantial assurance for payroll, purchase orders and invoices, treasury management and information governance arrangements. In respect of data security, the audit assurance was reasonable, flagging up the need for us to obtain appropriate assurances over control arrangements from our IT services provider, the LGA. We have now taken relevant steps to address this recommendation.

By order of the Board


Steve Freer


23 July 2021

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