An Auditor Panel was established by the Board in March 2016 in response to the requirements contained within The ‘Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014’. The Auditor Panel met on the 6th October 2016 to consider the appointment of an external auditor. The importance of continuity for the Trust was emphasised in the context of the proposed merger which would require tendering of audit services following the creation of a new organisation. The Auditor Panel therefore recommended that that the Trust procure the audit services from Grant Thornton for a period of one year with the option to extend for up to two years.
This recommendation was considered by the Board on the 29th November 2016. It was agreed to continue with Grant Thornton for a one year period (2017/18 audit) with the option to extend for a further year (2018/19 audit). The option to not take up the full two year extension option was due to the planning date for the proposed merger being ahead of this point at the time the decision was made.
Considering that the date of the proposed merger is now expected to take place in October 2019, there will be a period in which the Trust does not currently have an external auditor appointed (April 2019 onwards). The Auditor Panel reviewed the position and reconfirmed the original recommendation of 6th October 2016 of an option to extend for a further year (or as many months prior to the completion of the proposed merger) – beyond the current approved 2018/19 extension.
The importance of continuity for the Trust in the context of the proposed merger with Aintree University Hospital was reconfirmed by the Auditor Panel. The Auditor Panel therefore recommended that the Trust procure the audit services from Grant Thornton following April 2019 up to the date of the planned merger completion date (up to a maximum of March 2020). This was in line with the original recommendation made by the Auditor Panel from the 6th October 2018 which proposed to offer a new contract, for one year (2017/18) with the option to extend for up to two years (2018/19 and 2019/20) with Grant Thornton.
At its meeting held on 30 October 2018, the Board: