Public Sector Audit Appointments Limited (PSAA), the company initially established in 2014 by the LGA, will continue to use its skills and experience to secure efficient and effective arrangements for the independent appointment of auditors on behalf of the sector following confirmation from MHCLG on 20 May 2021. PSAA will continue to fulfil the role of “appointing person” under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and carry out the procurement of audit services for opted-in local government bodies for the audit of accounts from April 2023.
Following lobbying by the LGA and demonstrable support from across the sector, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government specified PSAA as the appointing person in July 2016. The LGA achieved its objective of establishing a national sector led body to deliver efficient and effective external arrangements for the benefit of all authorities who have opted in to this arrangement.
The overwhelming majority of councils and other relevant bodies decided to opt in to the national scheme for the five-year period from 2018/19 to 2022/23. PSAA completed a procurement of audit services to cover this period starting with the audit of accounts for 2018/19. PSAA has an option to extend the contracts for a further two year period to a total of seven years if it chooses to do so.
The procurement in 2017 enabled PSAA to appoint auditors to all councils and other bodies that opted in following a full consultation on the proposed auditor appointments. As PSAA is a not-for-profit body it was also able to pass on the reduction in the winning firms’ bids by reducing audit fees.
A small number of councils made local arrangements to appoint their auditors by setting up auditor panels, either individually or collectively. The LGA offered to support these councils as they made independent arrangements.
PSAA is preparing for the second appointing period which is likely to span the five consecutive financial years from 1 April 2023, covering the audits of accounts for the financial years 2023/24 to 2027/28. PSAA’s is updating its scheme to reflect the changes in audit, and the latest position can be found at appointing period 2023/24 – 2027/28.
PSAA’s plan is that in late September 2021 it will formally invite all eligible bodies to opt into the scheme for the second appointing period. It is likely that bodies will be able to commit to join the scheme until the end of January 2022.