Frequently Asked Questions

In what circumstances can an auditor be changed during the five year appointing period, and how does this differ from locally procured arrangements?

The main circumstances in which PSAA will consider changing an auditor appointment during the five year appointing period are: for independence reasons, such as the identification of a conflict of interest involving the existing audit firm; the emergence of new joint working arrangements where the appointment of the same auditor to all partners would be […]

Read more on In what circumstances can an auditor be changed during the five year appointing period, and how does this differ from locally procured arrangements?

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 in to 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 […]

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

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, MHCLG 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 or […]

Read more on 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?

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 […]

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

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 […]

Read more on 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?

Our current auditor disagreed with the approach taken by the previous auditor which created a large amount of work which costing 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. We are reviewing the circumstances that you describe for the next contract to see if […]

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

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 recent (May 2021) Public Accounts Committee enquiry on the timelines of […]

Read more on 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?

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 […]

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