We continue to work closely with a range of local audit stakeholders including DLUHC, the FRC, the NAO, CIPFA, ICAEW and the LGA to help identify and develop further initiatives to strengthen the local audit. Our e-bulletins provide details of recent developments.
We know that there is a long way to go before something approaching a complete whole-system solution is crafted which must involve more local auditors and/or less audit work – preferably both. PSAA is ready to do everything we can as part of a collective systemwide effort to deliver the critical changes required.
Since 2018 PSAA has taken several initiatives to support improvements in local audit including:
- proactively and constructively engaging with the numerous high-profile industry reviews, including the significant Redmond Review into Local Authority Financial Reporting and External Audit;
- commissioning an independent review undertaken by Cardiff Business School of the design and implementation of our appointing person role to help shape our thinking about future arrangements;
- commissioning an independent review by consultancy firm Touchstone Renard of the sustainability of the local government audit market, which identified a number of distinctive challenges in the current local audit market. We published the report to inform debate and support ongoing work to strengthen the system and help to deliver long term sustainability;
- working with DLUHC to identify ways to address concerns about fees by developing a new approach to fee variations. This would seek wherever possible to determine additional fees at a national level where changes in audit work apply to all or most opted-in bodies;
- establishing of a Local Audit Quality Forum, which holds in-person events and webinars that are free for opted-in bodies to discuss relevant topics;
- using our Advisory Panel and attending meetings of the various Treasurers’ Societies and S151 officer meetings to share updates on our work, discuss audit-related developments, and listen to feedback;
- maintaining contact with those registered audit firms that are not currently contracted with us, to build relationships and understand their thinking on working within the local audit market;
- undertaking research to enable a better understanding of the outcomes of electors’ objections and statements of reasons; and
- sharing our experiences with, and learning from, other organisations that commission local audit services such as Audit Scotland, the NAO, and Crown Commercial Services.