Terms of appointment and further guidance 1 April 2018



3. Auditing the financial statements and reporting the results of audit work

3.1  This section covers audit target dates and how auditors are required to report the results of audit work. This includes:

  • audit target dates;
  • the audit report and opinion;
  • reporting to PSAA; and
  • annual audit letter.


Audit target dates

3.2  Auditors should meet the audit target dates as advised by PSAA. Where delays are expected to occur, PSAA must be notified as soon as possible by recording the delay via the ‘audit issues’ survey on Outreach, including an explanation for the delay (for example, late production of draft accounts). Auditors must update PSAA when the matter has been resolved. This requirement covers (where applicable):

  • the audit opinion (including the pension fund opinion where applicable);
  • the value for money arrangements conclusion;
  • the WGA assurance report;
  • the audit certificate; and
  • the annual audit letter.


The audit report and opinion

3.3  The audit opinion, value for money arrangements conclusion, audit certificate and any statutory reports must be signed by a Key Audit Partner, as defined in paragraph 1.4 of the Terms, for and on behalf of the audit firm. This also applies to the auditor’s assurance report on the whole of government accounts return, Statements of Reasons and other correspondence in relation to the exercise of an auditor’s statutory duties.

3.4  Auditors must notify PSAA, via the ‘audit issues’ survey on Outreach, if they intend to issue a non-standard report (a non-standard financial statements opinion or VFM arrangements conclusion). All final non-standard reports should be submitted to PSAA via the ‘audit issues’ survey on Outreach. Summarised data from the information provided to PSAA may be shared with the NAO. Non-standard reports are those where the auditor is using a wording that differs from the firm’s template and typically will have sought advice from the firm’s technical department.

3.5  Copies of the draft and final non-standard audit report should be submitted to PSAA via the ‘audit issues’ survey on Outreach.

3.6  Auditors must also notify PSAA if as a result of their work they intend to issue an audit report or other report or letter that includes any of the items set out below:

  • any matters reported in the public interest in the course of, or at the conclusion of, the audit;
  • any statutory recommendations; and
  • the exercise of any other powers of the auditor under the relevant legislation.

3.7   Where an auditor intends to exercise the specific powers and duties of local government auditors (making statutory recommendations, issuing a public interest report or exercising other powers), then the process for notifying PSAA set out in Section 4 should be followed.

Reporting to PSAA

3.8  PSAA may require further information from time to time and auditors must comply with requests received.

3.9  Such additional requests will be kept to a minimum, and a protocol for information requests is included in Appendix 1. A protocol for liaison between PSAA and appointed auditors is included in Appendix 2.

Annual audit letter

3.10  Auditors should submit annual audit letters to audited bodies in accordance with the relevant target date specified by PSAA. The target date is normally one month after the statutory date for an audited body to publish its financial statements. If it is not expected that the target date will be met then auditors must notify PSAA of the expected submission date via the ‘audit issues’ survey on Outreach. Auditors should update PSAA when the letter has been issued. Where it is not possible to issue the annual audit letter by the publishing date (e.g. there has been a delay in the issuing of the financial statement opinion auditors should submit their annual audit letter within one month of the issuing of the opinion.