Notice of Exempt Authority Certification

At the meeting of the Parish Council on Thursday 4th February 2016 the decision was taken to certify the Council as an exempt authority for the purposes of The Local Audit (Smaller Authorities) Regulations 2015.

The Local Audit (Smaller Authorities) Regulations 2015. Part 3, Section 9 (Exempt Authorities) states that an opted-in authority which has certified itself as exempt must publish a notice on its website stating that it has done so and provide an explanation of the effect of that certification in relation to :-

  • the conduct of the audit of the authority;
  • the appointment of an auditor to audit the accounts of the authority.

The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 closed the Audit Commission and established new arrangements in England for the accountability and audit of local public bodies including smaller authorities such as Parish Councils.

The Act uses the general principle that all local public bodies, regardless of size, must account for all the money they receive and spend, wherever it comes from.

Smaller authorities’ annual accounts are subject to an “assurance review”, which involves an auditor issuing a report on the annual return prepared by the authority, rather than a full annual audit.

A smaller authority is an authority that has gross annual income or expenditure (turnover) below £6.5 million.

Smaller authorities with an annual turnover below £25,000 are exempt from the requirement to have a routine annual assurance review and are referred to as ‘exempt authorities.’

Instead of having an annual assurance review, exempt smaller authorities only need to comply with the publication requirements of the Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities, however an auditor must be available to deal with any question or objection to the accounts made by an elector.

From the financial year starting on 1 April 2017, smaller authorities are responsible for appointing their own external auditor. Each year the appointment must be made by the 31 December before the start of the audited year in April. So, by 31 December 2016, smaller authorities must have appointed an external auditor to undertake any assurance review of the 2017/18 accounts

The Secretary of State specified a body that has the power to appoint auditors and set audit fees for smaller authorities. The appointing body makes arrangements to appoint an auditor to all smaller authorities unless they decide to actively opt-out and make the appointment themselves.

Exempt authorities that decide to use an appointing body’s arrangements will not have to have an auditor appointed automatically, unless an elector wishes to ask the auditor a question or make an objection to the accounts. In these circumstances, the local elector will have to contact the appointing body who will then assign an auditor to deal with the question or objection.

Due to the cost and onerous requirements of setting up an Auditor Selection Panel specifically for us, Longsdon Parish Council has decided not to opt out of the appointing body arrangements and will by default be included in the scheme operated by Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Limited 2016, 109 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LD