Huge jump in Dorset and Wiltshire fire service audit fees

AUDIT fees are increasing for the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority with the move to a new auditor.

An authority finance meeting was told the new fee could be 50 per cent higher than the £34,650 currently being paid for the service.

The authority’s 2021-2022 audit, carried out by Deloitte, is said to still be “substantially complete”, but still unfinished, mainly due to delays in signing off on the Wiltshire Pension Scheme audit.

The members of the Authority were informed that there were no problems with either of the audits and that no significant risks had been identified.

Deloitte has said it will not continue auditing the authority from next year meaning the fire and rescue authority will move to a new auditor at what is expected to be a higher cost high, possibly another 50%, although this has yet to be confirmed.

The Deloitte report shows its audit fee for 2021/22 was £34,650 with an authority finance meeting in Salisbury announcing there would be an additional payment of around £8,000 for a report on value for money which was commissioned in addition to the audit.

Advisors present at the meeting learned that there were only about ten audit firms in the market recognized for public authority audit work and three of them stated that they did not would no longer offer their services.

Committee chairman Bryron Quayle said despite the uncertainty of a new auditor there could be benefits in reviewing the accounts, with the new company having to go through what he described as a “rigorous process”. to register as a service provider. .

Chief executive Ben Ansell said his national association had noted the expected sharp rise in audit fees for many authorities, but said with so few companies willing to undertake the work, it had become a matter price dictated by supply and demand.

The meeting learned that the National Association of Chief Officers is asking the government for financial assistance to meet the additional expenses.

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