Procurement update

On 7 February 2022 PSAA published two Contract Notices for the procurement of Audit Services:

The main procurement covers the audits of the accounts (as per the Code of Audit Practice) from 2023/24 to 2027/28 for eligible bodies across England that opt into PSAA’s national scheme for the auditor appointments. The Contract Notice can be viewed on the Find A Tender service website. Tenders received for the main audit services procurement will be evaluated to identify the most economically advantageous tenders. The relative weighting of price and quality will be 20:80. The quality of responses at tender stage will be assessed against a range of relevant criteria: audit approach (10 marks), Audit delivery – quality assurance and capability (25 marks), Audit delivery – resourcing and capacity (20 marks), Communications (20 marks) and Social Value (5 marks). Aligned with the Government’s proposal that the ARGA become the local audit system leader, we sought the FRC’s input in developing our approach.

To establish a dynamic purchasing system (DPS) to appoint auditors to cover the audits of the accounts (as per the Code of Audit Practice) of opted-in bodies across England. The Contract Notice can be viewed on the Find A Tender service website. The approach to the assessment of tenders for subsequent call-off competitions under the DPS  will be set out in the ITT documentation for each competition.

Individual call-off competitions undertaken may be for either: one or more named audits, or for a volume of work where the eligible bodies are not named. The scope of each call-off competition will be described in its ITT documentation. It is anticipated that the DPS may be used to procure an auditor appointment to an opted-in body:

  • when a new body requests to join the scheme, for example in the event of local government reorganisation, or if an existing body requests to join the scheme after the main procurement process is complete;
  • where an existing auditor appointment from 2018/19 or 2023/24 needs to be replaced for reasons such as the identification of an independence conflict, the breakdown of auditor-audited body relationship, or as a result of a supplier’s poor performance in line with agreed contract terms; and
  • where one or more of the 2017 audit contracts is extended so we need to make auditor appointments from 2025/26.

Under Section 7 of the Act, eligible bodies must appoint a “local auditor” to audit their accounts. Only Potential Suppliers that are already registered as local auditors on the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) list or that are currently proceeding through the registration process are eligible to participate in this procurement process.

The scope of the work required as an appointed auditor is set out in the Act and determined by the Code of Audit Practice (currently published by the NAO), the format of the financial statements (specified by CIPFA/LASAAC) and the application of auditing standards regulated by the FRC.

It does not include smaller bodies (such as parish councils) and NHS bodies, including accountable care organisations, which are not eligible to opt into PSAA’s scheme. Nor does it include any grant or claim certification work, as PSAA has no power under the Act to make certification arrangements. Any certification work required by grant paying government departments will need to be undertaken using a tripartite agreement between an audited body, an audit firm and the grant paying body, under instructions prepared by the grant paying body.

The timetable and key milestones for the procurement are set out below. The target dates are provisional and may be subject to change.

Key milestone Target Date
Publish Contract Notice and issue documentation on request Noon 7 February 2022
Formal briefing on Contract Terms 16 February 2022
Deadline for submission of Selection Questionnaires Noon 18 March 2022
Issue invitation to tender to short-listed suppliers Noon 7 April 2022
Formal ITT briefing 13 April 2022
Deadline for submission of tenders Noon 11 July 2022
PSAA Board approval of contract awards, assuming a satisfactory outcome August 2022

If you have a specific enquiry about the 2022 procurement strategy, please contact us at [email protected].