NALC has welcomed the publication of Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd (PSAA) Corporate Plan for the period to 2018. The Plan sets out how the company will discharge the functions delegated to it by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which include managing audit contracts originally let by the Audit Commission and supporting a smooth transition to the new audit regime introduced by the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.
PSAA’s work programme involves two parallel strands: ensuring that the existing audit contracts continue to deliver good quality and positive value for audited bodies and effective assurance to the public; and, providing as much support as possible to assist local bodies to prepare for, and be ready to meet, their new responsibilities as the legislation is fully implemented.
The plan was informed by the fact that the timetable for the expiry of the existing audit contracts is now clear. For NHS bodies and smaller local authorities (mainly parishes and internal drainage boards) existing arrangements will cover the audits up to and including 2016/17. For these bodies the new regime will therefore apply to the audits of the financial year 2017/18 and onwards. For principal local authorities and criminal justice bodies the existing arrangementsare expected to run for a further year covering the audits up to and including 2017/18. For these bodies the new regime will apply to 2018/19 audits and beyond.
As part of its role in supporting local bodies to prepare for their responsibilities under the new regime, PSAA has set up on its website a dedicated Supporting the transition area containing resources to assist local public bodies in making the transition to the new arrangements.
A further important aspect of PSAA's work in relation to the new regime will involve working with the Local Government Association and the Improvement and Development Agency to explore the feasibility of PSAA seeking to become a ‘sector-led body’ with the ability to enter into contracts and appoint auditors to local bodies in the new regime. Further information will be provided on PSAA’s website as this work progresses