Auditor appointment process 2017

PSAA consulted on and confirmed auditor appointments from 2018/19 to opted-in bodies in the period August to December 2017, following award of contracts to audit firms in June. The exercise covered all bodies that had opted in before 31 December 2017.

The process for making these appointments is explained below.

The process for making an appointment to a body that opted into the appointing person scheme after December 2017 is explained here.

Developing proposals

For each firm awarded an audit contract with PSAA (6 firms in total), we put together a balanced portfolio of proposed appointments.

Within the overall context of developing auditor appointments that represent value for money, we had regard to the following six principles approved by the PSAA Board:

  1. ensuring auditor independence;
  2. meeting our contractual commitments;
  3. accommodating joint/shared working arrangements where possible;
  4. ensuring a blend of authority types for each audit firm;
  5. taking account of a firm’s principal locations; and
  6. providing continuity of audit firm, if possible.

The primary consideration in allocating proposed appointments to individual opted-in bodies was to ensure independence, and then to balance the remaining principles. PSAA’s stakeholder advisory panel confirmed its support for these principles.

Consulting audited bodies

We consulted audited bodies on proposed appointments from August 2017, allowing five weeks for the consultation (14 August to 22 September).

Where a body accepted the appointment we proposed, no further action was needed pending confirmation of the appointment once approved formally by the PSAA Board in December 2017.

We recognise that in some instances there could be valid reasons why the proposed firm may not be appointed. Opted-in bodies therefore had the opportunity to make representations about the firm we had proposed to appoint.  Where an audited body objected to their proposed appointment, the reasons had to be set out formally in writing. The following may represent acceptable reasons:

  1. there is an independence issue, of which PSAA had not been informed;
  2. there are formal and relevant joint working arrangements, of which PSAA had not been informed; or
  3. there is another valid reason, for example a body can demonstrate a history of inadequate service from a particular firm.

Representations were considered carefully and a formal response made in each case, whether accepted or rejected. Where representations were accepted, we consulted on a revised appointment proposal. Bodies whose representations are not accepted had a final opportunity to make representations to the Board, providing any additional information to support their case.

Finalising and confirming appointments

The PSAA Board approved all proposed appointments from 2018/19, following consultation with audited bodies, at its meeting in mid-December 2017. The Board’s decision on the appointment of auditors is final. We wrote to each opted-in body on 18 December 2017 to confirm their auditor appointment.