Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Committee considered the Appointment of External Auditors from 2023-24 report by the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive (circulated previously).
The Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive advised the Committee:
· Of the background on the existing arrangement - that the Authority was currently within the national procurement scheme for auditor appointments and that this arrangement was due to expire.
· That a decision whether to opt into the future national procurement scheme was required by the Authority by March 2022.
· The decision was whether to choose to opt into the national procurement scheme (for which the Public Sector Auditor Appointments (P.S.A.A.) would be responsible) or to appoint via locally arranged procurement route.
· The arrangement with the national scheme would stand for five years.
· The Audit fees were currently cheaper than before the Authority had joined the national scheme. The fee for 2020-21 was less than in 2017-18 (before the Council joined the current arrangement).
· The current arrangement had held the Authority in good stead.
· To stay within the national procurement scheme would not guarantee that the same company, or same Audit team, would continue to provide the service. It was noted that Audit teams within companies were generally in place for 3-4 years.
The Chief Executive advised that to appoint ‘locally’ meant that the Authority would have to make its own tender arrangements, rather than appoint a locally-based Auditor.
The Committee noted that there were few (geographically) local firms who could take on such work, as Audits of Local Authorities differed to audits for private and commercial firms. There was no guarantee that the procurement process would result in a local firm being appointed.
RECOMMENDED that North Devon Council opted in to the national scheme for Appointment of External Auditors from April 2023-24.
Report author: Jon Triggs
Publication date: 23/11/2021
Date of decision: 16/11/2021
Decided at meeting: 16/11/2021 - Governance Committee