Following the closure of the Audit Commission on 31 March 2015 an independent company created by the Local Government Association, called Public Sector Audit Appointments Limited (PSAA) has been responsible for overseeing the Audit Commission’s current external audit contracts with audit firms from 1 April 2015 until December 2017 or up to 2020.
It manages the contracts and exercises statutory powers to appoint auditors and set and determine fees.
The PSAA has confirmed the extension of the Mazars LLP contract with the Chief Constable and PCC for one year. This enables them to audit the accounts for 2017/18. At the end of this audit, the contract with Mazars will finish.
External auditor appointments must be made for the 2018/19 audit of accounts by 31 December 2017, as required by section 7 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. Appointments may be made by the audited body itself, by groups of audited bodies, or by a specified appointing person.
Appointments may be made by the audited body itself, by groups of audited bodies, or by a specified appointing person. The relevant regulations require that the decision on which option to take is made by the corporation sole.
PSAA has been specified by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government as the appointing person for principal local government bodies under the provisions of the 2014 Act. This means that PSAA will make auditor appointments to relevant principal local government bodies that choose to opt into the national appointment arrangements PSAA is developing. PSAA is inviting the Chief Constable and PCC to opt in, along with all others, so that it can procure a number of contracts with appropriately qualified audit firms and appoint a suitable firm to be the Council/Authority’s auditor. The timetable it has outlined for appointing auditors under the scheme means it has now issued a formal invitation to opt into these arrangements.
Formal notification of ‘opt in’ needs to be received by PSAA by 9 March 2017.
The Audit Committee is responsible for advising the PCC and Chief Constable of Cleveland Police on the appointment of external auditors. A report went to their meeting in December 2016, for them to consider the changes to the arrangements for appointing external auditors, the options available and the PCC Chief Finance Officer and the Chief Constable’s Chief Finance Officer joint recommendation to the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable in this respect.
The recommendation of the Committee is reflective of the decision that the PCC is being asked to make.