Protecting the public purse

2014/15 work programme and scales of fees

27 March 2014

Following consultation, the work programme and fee scales for the audit of the accounts for 2014/15 have been confirmed for local government, fire, police and health bodies.

Past and present information about the audit of ‘small bodies’ can be found on our dedicated small bodies fees page.

Scale fees

We do not plan to make changes to the work programme for local government, fire and police bodies for 2014/15. Following consultation, we have therefore set 2014/15 fees for these bodies at the levels applicable for 2013/14.

We have reduced scale fees for some NHS trusts, removing auditors’ work on quality accounts at acute and mental health trusts. We have also reduced fees for clinical commissioning groups, as set out in our consultation, following the first year of audit.

The Commission made significant reductions of up to 40 per cent in audit and indicative certification fees in April 2012, on the basis that these lower fees will apply for the five years of the contracts let to audit firms, from 2012/13 to 2016/17. Fees are subject to annual review and consultation before the Commission sets the fees for an audit year.

The Audit Commission expects to close on 31 March 2015, as a result of the provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. The Commission will set the fees and work programme for 2015/16, which will be the first year of audit following our closure.

The Commission’s current contracts with audit suppliers run until 2016/17, with a possibility of extension for up to three years. The responsibility for overseeing these contracts until they end, and for setting fees under them, will pass to a transitional body from April 2015. Ministers have announced that an independent private company to be set up by the Local Government Association (LGA) will be the transitional body.

Work programme

The ‘Work Programme and Scales of Fees 2014/15: local government and police bodies – March 2014′ document sets out the work the Commission plans to undertake at local government, fire and police audited bodies during 2014/15, with the associated scale audit and indicative certification fees.  

The ‘Work Programme and Scales of Fees 2014/15: Health bodies – March 2014′ document sets out the work the Commission plans to undertake at NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups, with the associated scale audit fees.

Consultation feedback

Under section 7 of the Audit Commission Act 1998, the Commission has a statutory duty to prescribe scales of fees for the audit of accounts. Before doing so, it consults audited bodies, their representative associations, key national stakeholders and the accountancy profession. Once the Commission has prescribed a scale of fees, the applicable fee becomes payable by the body.

We invited responses to the consultation from 866 audited bodies and other stakeholders. The consultation began on 21 October 2013 and closed on 10 January 2014. We received only 13 responses. A summary of the consultation responses and our feedback is available in the document ‘Work programme and scales of fees 2014/15 – Consultation Feedback’.

Most responses to our consultation welcomed the Commission’s proposal not to make changes to the work programme. The low level of responses suggests that stakeholders are content that we have maintained our commitment to lock in fee reductions and inflation-proof scale fees.