DCN responds to consultation on changes to the Local Audit (appointing person) regulations

We welcome the proposals put forward, with some caveats, and take the opportunity to reflect on the ongoing serious challenges within local authority audit at present. The increasing level of complexity of the accounts, rising costs and fragile market mean that audit is a critical concern for district councils.

The allocation of £15m to support local authorities with the ongoing rising cost of audit is welcome but should not be a one-off; it should be made permanent. In a recent survey of our members for example, just under 90% of our 64 respondents reported that their external auditor had sought a variation to the PSAA scale fee resulting in an increased fee. And of those seeing an increase, over half were facing an increase of more than 20% – significantly higher in many cases. One recently reported example is of a district council facing a bill of over £90,000 for 2019-20 compared to £56,000 the previous year. This is clearly not a sustainable position.

Read our full response to the consultation: DCN consultation response – changes to the local audit appointing persons regulations 2015