Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA) has been given a clean bill of health by an external review as “an outstanding example of sector led improvement”.
A team from Cardiff Business School found in their report PSAA was “a well thought through, organised, and governed programme which delivered substantively on its objectives to the benefit of local bodies”.
PSAA was set up by the Local Government Association in 2014 just before the abolition of the Audit Commission.
It took on several services formerly provided to councils by the commission including appointing auditors to all relevant authorities, setting and charging audit fees and managing contracts with audit firms.
The report noted that a new code of audit practice would be needed by April 2020 and urged PSAA to explore concerns raised by some chief finance officers over “future audit quality, and [their] preference for a wider scope audit”.
Some felt the code led auditors to concentrate on technical issues while “limited attention is given to work which would provide strategic value to bodies, particularly regarding financial resilience”.
The report found though that 85% of officers would prefer to remain in the PSAA scheme after its present round of contracts ends in 2023.
PSAA’s chief executive Tony Crawley said: “As well as endorsing a variety of aspects of our work to establish an effective appointing person scheme, the report has provided a number of pointers to the next phases of both the scheme and PSAA’s development.”