Tendering for new audit appointments this year

Tenders for public audit work for 2022/23 to 2026/27 to be invited this autumn

By Alan Alexander, Chair of the Audit Scotland Board

Every five years Audit Scotland undertakes a tendering exercise on behalf of the Auditor General for Scotland and the Accounts Commission to appoint auditors.

Public audit in Scotland supports a mixed-market approach to audit appointments, appointing as auditors employees of Audit Scotland and audit firms. This mixed audit delivery model brings together a wealth of specialist experience and supports a flexible and sustainable supply of cost-effective, high-quality audits.

Tendering every five years ensures best practice by enabling the rotation of auditors, so that a public body doesn’t have the same auditor for an extended period. The latest tender round was planned for last year, but the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission made the decision to extend the current audit appointments for a year, given the disruption, risks and complexity of the Covid-19 pandemic.

I am pleased to announce that we will proceed with the tendering process this year and we will be inviting audit firms to bid for work this autumn. This decision has been made possible, in part, because we have seen the completion of all of the 2019/20 financial audits this year; a real achievement in such difficult circumstances.

We all recognise that life will still not be entirely back to normal, even by the autumn. The currently-appointed auditors will still be working hard completing the work for the 2020/21 audits. So, we are making every effort to ensure that audit firms have as much time to prepare their bids as possible. We will set out the opening and closing dates for tender submissions by the end of April.

We will also publish a new Code of Audit Practice in June, building on the success of the 2016 Code. The new Code will come into effect for audits of financial years starting on or after 1 April 2022. The Code describes the high level purpose and scope of public audit in Scotland. It will be supported by detailed guidance to auditors, and applies to the audit of just over 220 public bodies audited by Audit Scotland and by the audit firms that will be appointed, through a public Invitation to Tender, by the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission.

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