The Auditor General for Wales reviews and sets scales of fees for the audit of local government bodies annually, which are also applicable to the audit of NHS bodies. The fee scales are one of the Auditor General's tools for regulating the cost of public audit in Wales, through setting limits and by reviewing fees against those limits. Fee scales also provide a framework for auditors to assess the amount of annual audit worki necessary and the fee to be charged for that work at a particular audited body.
The Auditor General's fee scales are underpinned by a zero-based approach to audit planning which takes account of variation in aspects of the opposing resource drivers of complexityii and qualityiii. Resource requirements are then converted into fee scales directly based on the costs of delivering the work, which include travel and subsistence. The resultant fee scales are curved in shape with a diminishing dependence on the size of audited bodies, rather than having a simple linear dependence on gross expenditure or operating expenses.
The fee scales are benchmarked against fees charged by other UK audit agencies, where appropriate.
Whilst fee scales are not applicable to the audits of unique central government bodies, a zero-based approach to audit planning will still be applied, with resource requirements converted into bespoke fees directly based on the costs of delivering the work.
To view the graphic version of the fee scale for a particular type of audited body (overlaid with appropriate benchmarking data if required and available) please select the appropriate graphic from the list below:
|Fee scale||Without benchmarking||With benchmarking|
|Unitary authorities, local health boards and NHS trusts (excluding ambulance trusts)||Link to graphic||Link to graphic|
|Fire and rescue authorities and ambulance trusts||Link to graphic||Link to graphic|
|National park authorities||Link to graphic|
Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables (provisional)
|Link to graphic|
Probation trusts and other types of local government bodyiv
|Link to graphic||Link to graphic|
Auditors are required to use their professional judgment, informed by the Code of Audit Practice, relevant accounting and auditing standards and guidance issued by the Auditor General to determine where a particular audited body lies on the prescribed fee scale for that type of body.
Where proposed fees fall outside of the prescribed fee scale or have changed by more than ±5 per cent year-on-year the Auditor General will review the proposed fees to ensure that they are adequately explained by relevant circumstances or are amended accordingly. This mechanism guards against the potential for excessive or inadequate fees to arise. Following the application of these controls the fee will be discussed with the relevant audited body and, subject to any further information arising that affects the work to be done, will be confirmed as the fee to be charged to that body.
i Annual audit work includes all work undertaken in relation to the audit of accounts, value for money examinations and studies, and assessment work carried out under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, where applicable. Annual audit work does not include that which goes beyond the general duties of auditors, such as elector challenge, extraordinary audit, special inspections and work in relation to the prevention of unlawful expenditure. Separate fee rates also apply to work undertaken to certify claims and returns in respect of grants paid or subsidies made to local government service bodies.
ii Audited body risks and other factors such as its political demands, financial reporting framework and business decisions may, in the auditor's judgement, have a bearing on the amount of audit work necessary to allow the proper discharge of the auditor's responsibilities.
iii The impact of the controls and arrangements that the audited body has put in place to achieve its objectives and in doing so to manage and mitigate the effects of complexity, risks and other factors can have a bearing on the auditor's ability to properly discharge their responsibilities.
iv The fee scale for probation trusts and other types of local government body is applicable to town and community councils and other types of local government bodies where income or expenditure exceeds £1 million per annum. Town and community councils and other types of local government bodies with income or expenditure up to £1 million are subject to a 'limited assurance' audit regime - for more details please see the Auditor General for Wales' consultation letter on his local government fee scale proposals for 2013-2014.