Appointing auditors and setting fees

Auditor appointment process from 1 April 2018

PSAA is specified as an appointing person under the provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and regulation 3 of the Local Audit (Appointing Person) Regulations 2015. For audits of the accounts from 2018/19, PSAA appoints an auditor to relevant principal local government authorities that have opted into its national scheme. Appointments are made for the duration of a five-year appointing period. The current appointing period covers the audits of the accounts for 2018/19 to 2022/23.

Appointments for all bodies that had opted into the appointing person scheme before 31 December 2017 were confirmed, following consultation, in December 2017. The auditor appointment process outlines the process adopted for making appointments in December 2017.

Occasionally it is necessary to make additional appointments, for example where a newly created body opts in. The process followed in determining the appointment is the same as that followed for appointments for the full five year period made in December 2017.

This link outlines the process to become an opted-in body.

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 genuine and as productive as possible. Following consultation, we publish the scale of fees on our website.

The scale fees for individual opted-in authorities are normally based on the scale fee for the previous year, reflecting the auditor’s assessment of audit risk and complexity. We would only expect variations from the scale fee to occur where these factors are significantly different from those identified and reflected in the fee for the previous year.

PSAA 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. Our procedure for dealing with fee variations is detailed at PSAA fee variation process.

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.

PSAA will charge fees for considering objections 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, as a variation to the scale fee.

Auditor appointments and scales fees for each year are provided here: list of auditor appointments and scale fees