Decision Title: Appointment of External Auditors
Decision Reference Number: WPCC3-0036
Lead Officer: Sara Ansell
If force business, date approved by Chief Officer: N/a
Date: 25th January 2022
If confidential or partly confidential*, rationale:
(* If partly confidential specify which parts are confidential)
To opt-in to the sector-led body procurement, conducted by Public Sector Audit Appointments Limited, for the appointment of the Authority’s external auditors from April 2023.
I confirm that my register of interests declaration is up to date and that none of my interests preclude me from making this decision.
Signature: Philip Seccombe
1. Background information
Under the Local Government Audit and Accountability Act 2014 the PCC is required to appoint an auditor to audit its (and the Chief Constables) accounts each financial year. Our current auditor appointment covers the period up to and including the audit of the 2022/23 accounts.
The attached briefing note, discussed with the Commissioner sets out proposals for appointing the external auditor to the OPCC, which will also include the external audit arrangements for the Chief Constable for the accounts for the five-year period from 2023/24. It concludes with a recommendation to opt-in to a sector-led approach and outlines the next steps for the in implementing the agreed approach.
The decision on the appointment of the auditor is one that must be taken by the Commissioner.
The Commissioner has sought the views of the joint audit and standards Committee at their meeting on the 19th January, and also subsequently those of the chief Constable at the governance board meeting on the 25th January. Both support the recommendation made by the Treasurer to the commissioner to opt in to the national auditor appointment process. In orer to opt into the PSAA process, this decision must be made and communicated to PSAA prior to the 11th March 2022.
2. List of additional information attached as appendices
Briefing note to the Commissioner, and also shared and discussed with the Joint Audit and Standards Committee and the Chief Constable.
3. Expected benefits
The supporting document to this decision includes a comprehensive summary of the anticipated benefits and risks for each option, including the option to opt in.
4. Impact of not approving the application
The PCC would have to put a process in place to appoint external auditors from April 2023. If external audit arrangements are not put in place the Commissioner would not be meeting his statutory responsibilities or complying with the legislative requirements of the Local Government Audit and Accountability Act 2014.
5. Costs (including any identified savings)
There will be no costs for Warwickshire in respect of undertaking a procurement process, and the contact costs for external audit provision from April 2023 will be reliant on outcomes from the the PSAA national procurement process. there is an anticipation that costs may rise as a result of the process, and adequate budgetary provision form 2023/24 onwards will need to be identified.
The current total external audit costs in 2022/23 are £55,800, split as £37,900 for the PCC and £17,900 for the force. The PSAA procurement should help to ensure value for money through economies of scale, but costs will not be known until tenders have been awarded, and auditors appointed.
6. Equality implications
7. Legal comments
The PSAA procurement process will be led in a compliant manner. Following the procurement process, Warwickshire PCC will be allocated an external auditor by the statutory deadline of the 31st December 2022. They will commence from April 2023.
Information in this form is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act) and other legislation. Unless the information provided is covered by an exemption and stated to be either confidential or partly confidential, the information contained in the form will be published on the OPCC website.
Comments from the Treasurer
This decision notice and briefing note provides all the relevant information to enable a decision to be made, it outlines the options available, the advantages and disadvantages of each, the financial and legal implications and risks. The Commissioner has sought the views of his independent Joint Audit and Standards Committee, and those of the Chief Constable. He has also considered the other options fully and feel that by opting in to the national PSAA process, this should provide the optimum chance for appointing an external auditor from April 2023, that provides value for money.
Comments from the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer
Due diligence has taken place to ensure that this is a good decision which ensures that robust processes are in place to secure the services of an Auditor for the period of 5 years from April 2023.