Audit Committee Member – Public Sector Audit Appointments Limited (PSAA)
Public Sector Audit Appointments Limited (PSAA) is an independent company limited by guarantee, incorporated by the Local Government Association. The company was established in August 2014 to fulfil a short-term and time-limited role as a transitional body following the closure of the Audit Commission in March 2015. From April 2015 the company undertook functions delegated by the Secretary of State, including making and managing auditor appointments and setting fees for local public bodies in England, under contracts originally let by the Audit Commission.
In July 2016 the Secretary of State appointed PSAA to a long-term role as the appointing person for principal local government bodies. The requirements of the appointing person are set out in the Local Audit (Appointing Person) Regulations 2015, issued under provisions of the 2014 Act. The role of the appointing person is to lead the development, implementation and management of a collective scheme for appointing auditors for principal local government bodies and setting scales of fees. Principal local government bodies as defined by the Act, including police and fire bodies, can choose either to organise their own processes to make their auditor appointment or join the collective scheme provided by PSAA as the appointing person. NHS bodies appoint their own auditors without a collective scheme.
The legislation requires the appointing person to discharge its responsibilities for consecutive appointing periods of five years. The first appointing period began in April 2018 and covers the audits of the financial years 2018/19 to 2022/23. Following its appointment, PSAA had a period of eighteen months in which to develop and implement its appointing person arrangements. The appointing person role became fully operational from 1 April 2018.
Further Background & Responsibilities
PSAA was successful in achieving opt-ins of 98% of eligible bodies in 2017, with 484 of the total 494 bodies eligible at that time choosing to opt into the scheme. Once opted-in, an authority remains in the scheme for the duration of the appointing period. There has been a small reduction in the number of eligible bodies as a result of local structural changes in some areas, but the level of opt-ins remains at 98%, with any new bodies established after the start of the appointing period largely choosing to opt in. Since the PSAA scheme was launched, only seven councils, one combined authority and the local police and fire bodies in one area have chosen either collectively or individually to make their own auditor appointment arrangements.
PSAA is responsible for:
• Appointing auditors to local public bodies, including councils, police and crime commissioners, chief constables, and fire and rescue authorities;
• Setting scales of fees, and charging fees, for the audit of accounts of local public bodies;
• Overseeing the delivery by its appointed auditors of consistent, high-quality and effective external audit services to local public bodies; and
• Ensuring effective management of contracts with audit firms for the delivery of external audit services to local public bodies.
Before 1 April 2015 these responsibilities were undertaken by the Audit Commission.
The PSAA Board comprises a non-executive Chairman, Steve Freer, and four other non-executive directors: Caroline Gardner, Clive Grace, Stephen Sellers and Keith House.
The primary duty of the Board is to discharge the statutory objects and powers set out in the Articles of Association in accordance with the Companies Act 2006 and the company’s founding documents.
The Board is responsible for:
• Establishing and taking forward the statutory functions and objectives of PSAA consistent with its overall strategic direction;
• Ensuring that PSAA operates within the limits of its statutory authority and in accordance with any other conditions relating to the use of public funds, primarily the principles of Managing Public Money;
• Ensuring that any statutory or administrative requirements for the use of public funds (including those within the principles of Managing Public Money) are complied with;
• Ensuring that it receives and reviews regular financial information concerning the management of PSAA, and is informed in a timely manner about any concerns about the activities of PSAA;
• Approving the annual accounts and governance statement;
• Demonstrating high standards of corporate governance and independence at all times;
• Taking a balanced view of the Company’s approach to managing opportunity and risk; and
• Imposing no more than proportionate and defensible burdens on audit firms.
The Board is supported by a small executive team comprising a Chief Executive, Tony Crawley, and five permanent members of staff.
The Audit Committee currently comprises three non-executive directors: Caroline Gardner (Chair), Stephen Sellers and Keith House, and one independent member, which is the role to be filled through this recruitment.
The company's governance ensures that the Audit Committee will meet at least twice each year. The Committee’s terms of reference are:
- To oversee the production of the Company’s annual accounts and to recommend them to the Board for approval;
- To recommend to the Board the appointment of the Company’s external auditors;
- On behalf of the Board, to scrutinise any aspect of the work of the Company against a benchmark of best practice and to report as appropriate. The Committee will review, and challenge where appropriate:
- The Company’s financial, accounting, tax and IT policies, practices and processes;
- The Company’s internal control systems including policies for addressing fraud and arrangements for internal audit; in particular to appoint the internal auditors, approve their work plan and review their reports and the responses of management;
- The implementation of recommendations from internal and external audit reports;
- The arrangements for controlling and reporting Company expenditure;
- The Company's assessment and management of risk, including failure to comply with laws and regulation;
- The results of the external audit, including the auditor’s management letter and the response by management.
- To report annually to the Board on the committee’s views of the governance of the Company and on the Committee’s own effectiveness;
- To review the Company’s treasury management and banking policy at least once a year, including the criteria used to define those bodies on the approved lending list;
- To review and recommend any necessary changes to the financial policies and the financial procedures at least once a year;
- To approve any significant changes to insurance cover that increase risk to the Company; and
- To approve any changes to the Company’s internal audit arrangements.
The Audit Committee will make recommendations to the Board as it considers appropriate.
PSAA is seeking to recruit a suitably experienced person to serve alongside Directors as an independent member of the company's Audit Committee. Candidates should have:
- An understanding of the nature of PSAA's business and of the responsibilities of local public auditors;
- A passion for the positive contribution which an effective Audit Committee can make to the company as a whole;
- Board level experience in a significant, well governed public, private or voluntary sector organisation;
- An understanding and appreciation of good practice in relation to financial reporting, governance, risk and control arrangements;
- The capacity to bring independent judgement and a high level of objectivity to their work;
- The ability to work collaboratively with others to form an effective team;
- The ability to scrutinise all aspects of the company's policies and performance;
- An understanding of the changing audit market;
- An enthusiasm for continuous improvement;
- Strong strategic thinking skills; and
- Good communication skills.
Please submit the following:
- A copy of your CV;
- A covering letter (maximum two pages) explaining why this appointment interests you and how you meet the person specification;
- Equalities Monitoring Form (downloadable below).
Documentation can either be submitted via the WIG website using the Apply Now button above, or by email to Paige Torrance, Talent Manager, The Whitehall & Industry Group (WIG) via [email protected]
If you have any questions about this opportunity, or would value a confidential discussion, please contact Paige Torrance, Talent Manager, via [email protected] or on 0207 222 1166.
The deadline for applications is Midday, Monday 1 June 2020.
After the closing date, the appointment panel shall compile a shortlist, assessing candidates’ suitability for the role based on evidence provided in the CV and covering letter.
Panel interviews will held on Friday 19 June 2020. These are likely to be conducted virtually.
The appointment (subject to references) will commence in early July 2020.Public Sector Audit Appointments WIG Recruitment Pack May 2020.pdf