The fee variation process takes a long time. What is PSAA proposing to do to improve this?

PSAA has a robust process to review all fee variations submitted. The process is carried out diligently in line with the expectations of the Local Audit (Appointing Person) Regulations 2015 (Regulation 17(2)). PSAA is conscious that when a determination is made it is legally binding on both an auditor and the audited body, and that it is public money being transacted. This can take some time, especially as the balance between scale fees and the volume of additional fees was never envisaged to be as it is now. It has brought in additional capacity to help process the increased volume.

Other factors include that firms can take time to submit variations and supporting information, and arranging a meeting with the body can sometimes take a while to achieve.

The process is not protracted if information provided by the auditor is sufficient to enable PSAA to comply with its statutory duties in assessing a fee variation. A change in February 2022 to the Local Audit (Appointing Person) Regulations enables the scale fee to be set in November, closer to the start of audit work the following year. This should lead to a reduction in the number of audits that require scale fee variations. If necessary, in the case of significantly protracted audits we can approve interim fee variations.