PSAA (Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd) has issued it’s formal invitation to the PCC, and Chief Constable.
The invitation is to opt into the national scheme to appoint external auditors. This will provide external audit arrangements for five years commencing 1 April 2023.
The PCC and Chief Constable have the option to arrange its own procurement of external auditors. That’s if they do not wish to join the national collective scheme administered by PSAA.
PSAA’s first appointing period ran for five years from April 2018. The procurement exercise to appoint firms to deliver audits over this period attracted very competitive bids.
However, soon after this process was completed, a series of financial crises and failures in the private sector gave rise to questions about the role of auditors and the focus and value of their work.
At the same time, audit firms were experiencing growing recruitment and retention challenges which have led to delays in the publication of audited financial statements.
PSAA has stated that one of it’s key aims for the next procurement exercise is to encourage market sustainability.
Firms can bid for a variety of differently-sized contracts. That’s so they can match their available resources and risk appetite to the contract.
Contracts need to meet appropriate quality standards and reflect realistic market prices in their tenders.
The PCC is responsible for the decision to appoint an auditor for the Chief Constable. Therefore, it is expected that the PCC will consider the options with the Chief Constable.
A PCC who decides to opt into the scheme must submit a notice of acceptance of the invitation, which also covers the Chief Constable.
If the notice does not do this, the PSAA must make contact to confirm the position. The PSAA will then make separate auditor appointments (of the same audit firm) to the opted in PCC and Chief Constable.
In summary, given the current challenging market conditions, it appears that opting into the PSAA’s sector-led scheme provides the best chance to receive the best external audit service in futures years.
Therefore it is recommended that the the PCC agrees to opt into the national scheme for an appointing an external auditor for both the PCC and Chief Constable.