We received a very encouraging response to the consultation, with 90 replies in total (almost double the number of replies to our most recent fees-related consultation, on the 2020/21 fee scale, in January 2020).
Opted-in bodies accounted for 80 (89%) of the replies, with the remaining 10 replies from representative organisations of local government and police bodies (6%), audit firms (4%), and one response from a member of the public. Responses from opted-in bodies covered most opted-in body types, including councils, police, fire bodies, and other local government bodies. Responses from councils were from district councils, county councils, metropolitan districts and London boroughs.
The consultation asked for feedback on five questions, as well as providing the opportunity to make general comments. The five questions and the proportion of positive responses in each case were:
|1. Do you agree that fee variation arrangements should be changed to improve the efficiency of the process and to help manage the pressures on senior finance staff and auditors?||94%|
|2. Do you agree that a system based on two distinct categories – national variations and local variations – would be a logical approach?||94%|
|3. Do you agree that PSAA should lead on national variations, carrying out research to enable it to assess appropriate additional fees for groups of bodies with similar characteristics, with appropriate consultation?||94%|
|4. Do you agree that local discussions between the auditor and the audited body should continue to be a requirement in relation to additional audit work arising from factors which are specific to a particular audited body?||100%|
|5. Do you agree that the fee rates applicable to fee variations should be increased in recognition of the importance of maintaining a sustainable local audit market?||64%|