PSAA has a robust process to review all fee variations that are 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 the scale fees and the volume of additional fees was never envisaged to be in the state it is now. PSAA has re-assigned 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. The change in February 2022 to the Local Audit (Appointing Person) Regulations enables the scale fee to be set closer to the start of audit work in any one 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.