On 31 January 2022, we published a revised strategy for the procurement of the audit services contracts for the second appointing period. This revised version contained a small number of amendments. These reflected the change to the appointing person regulations and the finalisation of our procurement approach in areas such as the lotting structure and bidding rules. The original version of the procurement strategy was approved by the PSAA Board on 15 September 2021 and was published on 22 September 2021.
Our primary aim was to secure the delivery of an audit service of the required quality for every opted-in body at a realistic market price. We also wanted to support the drive towards a long term competitive and more sustainable market for local public audit services.
The objectives of the procurement were to maximise value for local public bodies by:
- securing the delivery of independent audit services of the required quality;
- awarding long term contracts to a sufficient number of firms to enable the deployment of an appropriately qualified auditing team to every participating body;
- encouraging existing suppliers to remain active participants in local audit and creating opportunities for new suppliers to enter the market;
- encouraging audit suppliers to submit prices which were realistic in the context of the current market;
- enabling auditor appointments which facilitated the efficient use of audit resources;
- supporting and contributing to the efforts of audited bodies and auditors to improve the timeliness of audit opinion delivery; and
- establishing arrangements that can evolve in response to changes to the local audit framework.
It is necessary to enter into contracts with a number of audit suppliers to provide sufficient capacity for all of the audits required. This enables PSAA to manage auditor independence issues and, if possible, grow the number of active suppliers in the local audit market.
The procurement covered the audits of the accounts of all eligible bodies that opted into the appointing person scheme for the audit of accounts from 2023/24 to 2027/28. Eligible bodies include local authorities, combined authorities, police and crime commissioners, police, fire and crime commissioners, chief constables, fire and rescue authorities, waste authorities, passenger transport executives and national park authorities.
Following the completion of the opt-in invitation process for the five-year appointing period from April 2023, 470 (99%) of the 475 eligible bodies decided to become opted-in bodies.
Details of the procurement are available on our procurement process page.