|PSAA’s audit contracts from 2018/19 cover the audit of accounts of opted-in bodies only. PSAA has no power under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 or the Regulations to make arrangements or appointments for assurance on grant claims and returns.
Where government departments require assurance as grant paying bodies, tripartite agreements are required. Under the transitional arrangements made by DCLG, the final year for which PSAA will make housing benefit subsidy claim certification arrangements is 2017/18, for certification work to be undertaken for the deadline set by the DWP of 30 November 2018.
The DWP is developing its own assurance arrangements from 2018/19 for the housing benefit subsidy claim on a tripartite agreement basis, and issued guidance in Circular HB S1/2017 in January 2017. Local authorities will appoint a reporting accountant (auditor) themselves for this work (for which an auditor panel is not required), using the standardised terms of engagement provided by the DWP. Authorities may choose to use the same audit firm appointed by PSAA for the audit of the accounts, if they are opted-in bodies, subject to the requirements of the authority’s financial standing orders.