Non-Executive Director, Public Sector Audit Appointments Limited

Public Sector Audit Appointments Limited (PSAA) is an independent, not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee, incorporated by the Local Government Association in August 2014.

The PSAA Board currently comprises a non-executive Chairman, Steve Freer, and four other non-executive directors: Caroline Gardner, Keith House, Marta Phillips, and Stephen Sellers. Stephen will step down from the Board in January 2022 and Caroline will do so in March 2022. Both are founding members of the Board and have contributed enormously to the development of the company and its work over the past seven years. We are therefore seeking to recruit two new members to succeed Caroline and Stephen; one starting in February 2022 and the other in April 2022.

  • Job Description - The Board
    The Board approves strategy and exercises oversight in relation to the company’s work in a range of important areas, including:

    · Procuring audit services from registered local audit suppliers;
    · Ensuring effective management of contracts with suppliers;
    · Appointing auditors to each of the eligible bodies that opt into the company’s national scheme;
    · Setting scales of fees and, where appropriate, determining fee variations, payable by audited bodies; and
    · Managing relationships with local bodies, contracted firms and other organisations involved in local audit with the aim of building a more stable, resilient and sustainable system.

    The Board’s detailed responsibilities include:

    · 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 or administrative requirements relating to the use of public funds;
    · Receiving and reviewing regular financial information concerning the conduct and management of PSAA’s business, and ensuring that it is informed in a timely manner about any relevant matters in relation to the company’s activities;
    · Approving and publishing the company’s annual report and accounts;
    · Demonstrating high standards of corporate governance and independence; and
    · Taking a balanced view of the company’s approach to managing opportunity and risk.

    The Board is supported by a small, experienced executive team led by Chief Executive, Tony Crawley.
  • Person Specification
    PSAA is seeking to recruit two suitably experienced individuals to join the Board. Candidates should be able to demonstrate:

    · A good understanding of the nature of PSAA’s business, the public audit regime, and the responsibilities of local public auditors;
    · Knowledge of and familiarity with the sectors included within PSAA’s remit and a commitment to ensure that the relevant interests of all entities concerned will be given due consideration;
    · Experience and understanding of the drivers which are required to enable the provision of efficient, high-quality local public services and their continuous improvement;
    · Knowledge of and a well-developed interest in the valuable contribution which an effective external audit service can make to help assure delivery of efficient local services and support public accountability;
    · Board or equivalent experience of strategic leadership and governance responsibilities in a significant, well-governed public, private or voluntary sector organisation;
    · An understanding and appreciation of governance, risk and control arrangements;
    · The capacity to bring independent and objective judgement to the Board’s deliberations;
    · The ability to work collaboratively with others to form an effective team;
    · The ability to contribute to the leadership and effective oversight of all aspects of the company’s policies and performance, including engaging in and adding value to the Board’s strategic discussions.
  • Background

    In July 2016, the Secretary of State specified PSAA as the appointing person for principal local government and police bodies under the provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and the Local Audit (Appointing Person) Regulations 2015. In this role PSAA is responsible for appointing auditors and setting scales of fees for relevant principal authorities that choose to opt into our national scheme, overseeing issues of auditor independence and monitoring compliance by the auditor with the contracts we enter into with the audit firms.

     

    The period from 2018 has featured particularly intense scrutiny of the role and performance of auditors. Following a number of high-profile corporate failures in the private sector, the Government commissioned three related independent reviews led by Sir John Kingman, the Competition & Markets Authority and Sir Donald Brydon.

     

    In 2019 a fourth review, led by Sir Tony Redmond, was commissioned to examine local authority financial reporting and external audit. It reported in September 2020, highlighting a range of significant challenges facing the local audit system and making recommendations to address them.

     

    In December 2020 the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) (now the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC)), published its response to the Redmond Review. Subsequent statements published in May and July have explained how Government is tackling the implementation of the Review’s recommendations, including its intention to position the proposed new Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA) as Local Government  Audit System Leader on its creation in 2023. The Department is taking a leading role until then.

     

    PSAA is working closely with DLUHC  as it considers potential options and undertakes further work to strengthen the local audit system. Rigorous, independent external audit plays a key role in ensuring both responsible stewardship of public money and effective public accountability. Both the Board and the staff of PSAA are fully committed to playing our part in helping to develop and deliver a more resilient, sustainable local audit system.

     

    At present PSAA is undertaking a complex major project to prepare for the next appointing period which will span the audits of the accounts covering the five financial years 2023/24 - 2027/28. We have recently published a prospectus to accompany invitations to 476 eligible bodies to opt into our national scheme. We have also published a procurement strategy in preparation for a major procurement of audit services which will take place next year.  All of this work is taking place against the backcloth of a local audit market which continues to be impacted by many of the challenges identified in the various independent reviews, including most particularly the Redmond Review, and is struggling to meet the needs of the sector for delivery of timely audit opinions. You can find out more about our preparations for the next appointing period on our website.
  • Application Process
    • Applications are to be submitted by midday on 6th December 2021 via the WIG website (https://www.wig.co.uk/career-opportunities/career-listing.html) or via email to Katy Crothall – Talent Manager, The Whitehall & Industry Group via [email protected]
    • To apply, please upload a CV, covering letter and Equalities Monitoring Form – downloadable via the WIG website https://www.wig.co.uk/career-opportunities/career-listing.html)
    • After the closing date, the appointing panel will assess candidates’ suitability for the role based on evidence provided in the applications against the Person Specification criteria outlined above.
    • The interview date for those shortlisted is likely to be held on the 10th January
    • For further information about the role, please refer to the posting on our website, or contact Katy Crothall – Talent Manager, The Whitehall & Industry Group via [email protected] or 0207 222 1166
    Equalities Monitoring Form.docx 3 Recruitment of PSAA Board members.pdf