THIS GUIDANCE HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED.
PLEASE REFER TO THE VERSION DATED 1 JULY 2021.
Appendix 1: Protocol for information requests
1. PSAA reserves the right to request information about audited bodies or the conduct of audits from time to time, in order to discharge its statutory responsibilities.
2. PSAA recognises that all requests for information from its audit firms consume expensive and scarce audit resources and therefore will consider carefully the need for and timing of information requests.
3. PSAA will have regard to the overall burden of information requests, and as part of its planning process will challenge the need to request particular pieces of information.
4. Wherever possible information requests will be planned in advance, and consulted on.
5. Where PSAA has to make an ad hoc request for information or the timing of a planned request for information changes significantly, it will provide an explanation.
6. PSAA will think carefully about, and consult on, the timing of individual information requests, so as to:
- minimise the cost and other overheads for audit firms; and
- reflect ‘peaks’ in the annual audit cycle.
7. PSAA will allow auditors a minimum period of 10 working days on all specific requests for information. Wherever possible it will allow longer and especially during ‘peak’ periods of work or over holiday periods.
8. PSAA will take all reasonable steps to ensure that all requests for information are directed to the appropriate contact points within each audit firm, as identified by contact partners.
9. Contact partners or their representatives should ensure that any problems they foresee in terms of the information requested or the timescale for its return are communicated to PSAA at the earliest opportunity.
10. Contact partners or their representatives are responsible for ensuring that:
- information is compiled with due care and diligence, and complete; and
- information is returned by the deadline specified.
11. If auditors receive requests for information which appear unreasonable, either in terms of the timescale for responding or the volume of work required, PSAA should be informed.
12. PSAA may share information obtained with the NAO as appropriate.
13. PSAA will monitor compliance with this protocol.