Protecting the public purse

Audit and certification fees

Audit fees

The Audit Commission Act 1998 requires the Commission to prescribe scales of fees in respect of the audit of accounts which are to be audited in accordance with the Act. Before prescribing any scale of fees, the Commission has a statutory duty to consult with associations of local authorities and organisations connected with the NHS and the accountancy profession. We provide other stakeholders and audited bodies with copies of our proposals to ensure that our consultation is genuine and as productive as possible. Following consultation, we publish our work programme and scales of fees on our website each year, together with the scale fee for each audited body.

The scale fees for individual audited bodies are normally based on the scale fee for the previous year, reflecting the auditor’s assessment of audit risk and complexity. We would only expect variations from the scale fee to occur where these factors are significantly different from those identified and reflected in the fee for the previous year.

The Commission can approve proposed variations to the scale fee for an individual audited body, to reflect changes in circumstances. The Commission obtains updated fee information from appointed auditors, and explanations for any proposed variations from the scale fee, on a regular basis. The Commission will consider the reasonableness of the explanations provided by auditors before agreeing to any variation to the scale fee.

The scale fees are based on the expectation that audited bodies are able to provide the auditor with complete and materially accurate financial statements, with supporting working papers, within agreed timeframes.

The Commission will charge fees for considering objections, from the point at which auditors accept an objection as valid, or any special investigations, such as those arising from disclosures under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, as a variation to the scale fee.

Links to more detailed pages on audit fees are provided to the left of this page. Information on fees for 2011/12 and earlier is available in our archive.

Certification fees

The Commission has a statutory duty to make arrangements for the certification of grant claims and returns ‘if so required by the body concerned’. We only make such arrangements where requested to do so. The Audit Commission Act 1998 requires the Commission to charge fees for certification work that cover the full cost of the work.

We have replaced the previous schedule of maximum hourly rates with an indicative fee for certification work at each relevant audited body. The indicative fee is based on the latest actual certification fees available.

Because the amount of work needed for certification varies at individual bodies each year, we need to review the indicative fee each year. We therefore review and reset these fees annually.

The indicative fees for certification work are based on the expectation that audited bodies are able to provide the auditor with complete and materially accurate claims and returns, with supporting working papers, within agreed timeframes.