Frequently Asked Questions

Is it within PSAA’s remit to determine whether a Full Council decision is required to opt-in?

The requirement for the Full Council of an authority to make the decision to opt into the PSAA (appointing person) scheme is set out in paragraph 19 of the Local Audit (Appointing Person) Regulations 2015. It is not a matter that is under PSAA’s control. A decision to become an opted-in body must be taken in […]

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Is there an issue with the contract management being at one step removed under the PSAA regime, which is perhaps the price for the benefits of centralised procurement?

The local audit framework, the respective roles of the different players, e.g. the FRC, NAO, ICAEW, CIPFA, DLUHC and PSAA, and the nature of public audit means that any contract for the delivery of a code-compliant local audit will be different to a normal services contract.  PSAA (or local bodies) cannot specify the audit work […]

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Our 2020-21 audit has been rearranged to November – are there any implications that we need to be aware of?

We recognise the problems that delayed audits cause. The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 set out the requirements for publishing accounts. There is a statutory deadline for the publication of audited financial statements, but this is only applicable when the body has audited accounts to publish. As a result, Regulation 10(2) provides that where an […]

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Our audit isn’t even starting until after the deadline for publishing the audited accounts – surely there must be scope for a penalty payment in this instance?

This is a result of the current problems, including the resource shortage and backlog, complicated by the impact of Covid which essentially has slowed the whole process down. The FRC’s Ethical Standard precludes contracts that contain fees that vary according to a pre-determined measure (for example specifying a date by which an audit opinion must […]

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Our current auditor disagreed with the approach taken by the previous auditor which created a large amount of work which cost time and effort – how does this work efficiently or even reliably?

Once appointed, auditors are independent and the decisions that they take are down to their professional judgements. There may be differences in judgement between years by individuals from the same firm as views change or where more evidence becomes available.

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Politicians experience adverse publicity due to late audits, how can PSAA get this message out to all councils about these issues and support both councils and the audit partners in explaining this story?

We have spoken and written often of the systemic issues facing the local audit system in the consultation documents and communications sent to S151 officers and Audit Committee Chairs, and will continue to do so. Tony Crawley, PSAA’s Chief Executive, gave evidence at the May 2021 Public Accounts Committee (PAC) enquiry on the timelines of […]

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The fee variation process takes a long time – what are PSAA proposing to improve this?

We have a robust process to review all fee variations that are submitted to us. We carry out this process diligently in line with the expectations of the Local Audit (Appointing Person) Regulations 2015 (Regulation 17(2) and are conscious that when we make a determination it is legally binding on both auditor and authority, and […]

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The proposed 80% quality and 20% price evaluation ratio feels too high for the procurement.

The June 2021 consultation on the draft prospectus sought feedback on our proposal for an ITT evaluation ratio of 80% quality and 20% price. This evaluation ratio for an audit services procurement is consistent with other recently let public sector audit procurement contracts. Our market intelligence was that firms will not engage with bodies that […]

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