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 we are conscious 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. We have redeployed additional staff to help process the increased volume.
Other factors include that firms can take some time to submit variations and supporting information to us, and when we need to talk to authority staff arranging a meeting can sometimes take a while to achieve.
We hope that the amendments to the Regulations that govern the setting of scale fees will reduce the volume of fee variations required.