February 2022 news bulletin

Welcome to our sixth e-bulletin.

We are really pleased to have already received over 330 acceptances of our opt-in invitation. The deadline for opting in is 11 March 2022, so please send us your completed Form of Acceptance before this date.

We recently issued our annual audit survey and would encourage you to respond. We also held our fourth Autumn Winter Webinar for eligible bodies which focussed on ‘Our audit services procurement strategy’.

The PSAA Board approved our final procurement strategy and made the decision to begin the formal audit services procurement process.

In other Local Audit news, we highlight the current emergency consultation being undertaken from CIPFA/LASAAC on potential changes to the 2021/22 Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting.

We hope that you find the information to be useful. We welcome your thoughts on this e-bulletin and future topics that you would like us to cover (contact the team).

Yours sincerely Tony Crawley, Chief Executive, PSAA

Content:

Formal invitation to become an opted-in authority

The deadline (11 March 2022) is fast approaching for an eligible body to opt-in to the national scheme for local auditor appointments for the audits of 2023/24 through to 2027/28.  So far over 330 eligible bodies have accepted the opt-in invitation, with a further 110 being progressed. We publish the names of opted-in bodies on our website.

In line with the Regulations, we are unable to accept opt-in notices after the deadline. We encourage you to return your completed Form of Acceptance as soon as possible following the decision to opt-in being made by your authority.

If you have any questions about the process please contact us via [email protected]. You can find the latest information on our preparations for the second appointing period on our website and FAQs.

PSAA Annual Audit Survey

As part of our Quality Monitoring and Reporting Framework we undertake an annual survey of our opted-in bodies to obtain feedback on their audits of accounts.

We really value the feedback that you provide as it helps us to understand your views in the areas of the usefulness of the audit process and outputs and opportunities for improvement. It also informs our discussions with the supplier firms, DLUHC, NAO and others on the state and quality of local audit in England, and has helped shape our current procurement.

We commission the LGA’s Research and Information Team to manage the survey process to ensure independence and transparency.

This year’s survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete, and was issued to finance directors and audit committee chairs on 7 February and will close on 4 March. Thank you if you have already responded, but for those who have yet to do so, we would really like to have your views and comments. If you would like to have the survey link re-sent to you, please contact Roopal Shah at [email protected].

We appreciate your time and input. You can find details of past Annual Client Surveys on our website.

Autumn/Winter free webinar series

Our fourth webinar in our Autumn/Winter series on 16 February focussed on ‘Our audit services procurement strategy’. We were delighted to welcome participants from a range of different bodies, and the slides from this and our previous webinars are available to view on the PSAA website.

The final webinars in the series is:

Wednesday 16 March 1-2pm: Understanding our contract management arrangements

It is aimed at S151 Officers and Audit Committee Chairs and will provide an overview of our current contract management arrangements and how we plan to evolve them for the audit contracts from April 2023. To register to attend please click on the above link, and your joining instructions will follow.

These webinars are mainly aimed at S151 Officers and Audit Committee Chairs, and are an opportunity to find out more about what we do. To register to attend, click on the individual webinar titles above, your joining instructions will follow.

Local audit news from elsewhere 

Emergency proposals for an update of the 2021/22 Accounting Code of Practice

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and the Local Authority (Scotland) Accounts Advisory Committee (CIPFA/LASAAC) has issued an ‘exceptional consultation’ that could affect many if not all of you. The consultation covers emergency proposals to update the 2021/22 accounting Code and potential changes to the 2022/23 Code, and responses must be provided by 3 March.

CIPFA/LASAAC considered a range of options, and has decided to explore two approaches:

  • an adaptation to the Code to allow local authorities to pause professional valuations for operational property, plant and equipment for a period of up to two years (although the initial proposal is for the 2021/22 financial year); this approach also explores the use of an index to be used to increase or reduce that valuation; and
  • deferring the implementation of IFRS 16 Leases for a further year and reversing the planned changes to the 2022/23 code to implement that standard.

The consultation can be found at Emergency update of the 2021/22 and 2022/23 codes | CIPFA, (consultation has closed) along with more information about the consultation, including the options that were not to be explored further, and an invitation to comment that sets out 10 questions and also invites further comments.

As above responses are required by no later than 23.00 on Thursday 3 March 2022, to be sent to [email protected]  Please note that CIPFA/LASAAC has stated that it will not be possible to add any extensions to the deadline due to the exceptional nature of the consultation.

Changes to the Appointing Person Regulations

In our November 2021 bulletin we mentioned that Changes to the Appointing Person Regulations were progressing through Parliament. This process is now complete. The changes:

  • have moved the date for Scale fee date setting from 31 March to 30 November;
  • make provision for standardised fee variations (e.g such as new legislation which could apply to all or a group of opted-in bodies); and
  • clarified that PSAA can appoint auditors to any outstanding years of audit if a body opts in during an appointing period.