Appointing auditors and setting fees

Overview of auditor appointments

For audits of the accounts from 2018/19, we appoint an auditor to eligible bodies that have opted into its national scheme.

Appointments are typically made for the duration of a five-year appointing period. The auditor appointment process for an appointing period describes how appointments are made.

Overview of setting fees

The duty to specify scales of fees is one of PSAA’s statutory functions as the appointing person. Before setting a scale of fees, we are required to consult with opted-in authorities, relevant representative associations of local authorities and relevant bodies of accountants. We also consult other key stakeholders to ensure that our consultation is as comprehensive and as productive as possible. Following consultation, we publish the scale of fees on our website.

The fee scale is set each year based on the fee scale applicable for the previous year, adapted where possible for changes in audit requirements. The scale fees for individual opted-in bodies are published on the website. Auditors may subsequently find it necessary to carry out more or less audit work than the level envisaged in the scale fee in order to give their audit opinion. This may be because after the fee scale was set requirements changed, or it may be due to changes in local circumstances.

The regulations allow for more or less fees to be payable where substantially more or less work is required. Additional or reduced fees are evaluated under our fee variations process and are subject to PSAA approval. Where the change in audit work is required on an ongoing basis, we update the fee scale at the next opportunity to reflect the change. In this way we aim to ensure that all fees are systematically updated on a regular basis for any changing audit work requirements. In contrast, non-recurrent changes continue to be dealt with through one-off fee variations each year.

We can approve proposed variations to the scale fee for an individual opted-in authority, to reflect changes in circumstances. We obtain updated fee information from appointed auditors, and explanations for any proposed variations from the scale fee, on a regular basis. We consider the reasonableness of the explanations provided by auditors before agreeing to any variation to the scale fee. Visit our fee variation page to learn more.

Scale fees are based on the expectation that audited bodies are able to provide the auditor with complete and materially accurate financial statements, with supporting working papers, within agreed timeframes.

A variation to the scale fee will be charged from the point at which auditors accept an objection as valid, or any special investigations such as those arising from disclosures under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.