Agenda item

Appointment of External Auditors 2023/2024-2027/2028


A report of the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) was presented to update the Committee on the allocation of an external auditor for the Council for the financial years 2023/24 to 2027/28.   This followed Middlesbrough Council’s participation in a national selection scheme undertaken by Public Sector Audit Appointments over the summer of 2022.   It was relevant given the Committee’s remit in relation to receiving and considering reports and conclusions reached by the auditor each financial year.


Towards the end of October 2022, notification was received that the Council had been provisionally allocated Mazars LLP as their external auditor from 1 April 2023.  This also applied to the Teesside Pension Fund and would be for the next five years.


The notification outlined the key elements of the selection process and some minor changes to the contracts currently in place.  If there were any comments or objections to the proposed appointment, then those could be made to the PSAA during November. Final appointments would then be confirmed by 31 December in line with statutory requirements.  Following discussion with the other local authorities in the area, it was established that Mazars had been allocated to all five local authorities and that the comments made had been considered in the selection process.  As a result of this, no comments were made to PSAA and the appointment was confirmed at the end of December.


Although the contract with Mazars starts from the 1 April 2023, the existing contract with EY still has some time to run.   The Council was in the final stages of the audit sign-off for 2020/21, almost 15 months behind the statutory deadline.  EY were currently undertaking the main fieldwork phase for the 2021/22 audit with a likely timeline being late 2023 for a potential sign off these accounts.  The closure and preparation of the accounts for 2022/23 would be between April and June this year, with a possible sign off of these accounts (after audit) in mid to late 2024.


It was confirmed that there would be no overlap of audit fees and these would be paid in separate accounting years.


In addition to this, there was continuing work with EY around the Council’s governance qualification from 2020/21 and on-going issues within Children’s Services.  It was likely that the current auditors would be with the Council for a further 1-2 years before this work was complete. The Director of Finance would co-ordinate the remaining work with EY and reports would continue to be produced as updates to the Committee in the normal way.


As yet, there had been no contact between the Council’s senior finance staff and Mazars.  Although the contract from PSAA starts from 1 April 2023, most of their work would be around the financial year-end starting from March 2024.  There would be planning work for them to do based on the budget setting process for 2023/24 and sharing of information and updates with EY on continuing work.  The Committee would be kept up to date with communications between Council officers and Mazars and their senior staff would be introduced to Members in due course.


AGREED as follows that the Corporate Affairs and Audit Committee:

1.         Noted the appointment of Mazars LLP as the Council’s external auditors from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2028.

2.         Noted that there were three set of accounts (2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23) to be finalised/audited by EY and that there would be a transitional overlap between the two auditors whilst this work was completed.

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