The Audit Committee has sole responsibility for assessing the independence of the external auditor, BDO LLP. Each year, the Committee seeks reassurance that the external auditor and its staff have no family, financial, employment, investment or business relationship with the Group. The Committee requires the external auditor and its associates to confirm this in writing, and detail the procedures which the auditor has carried out in order to make this confirmation. The Committee also ensures that all partners engaged in the audit process are rotated at least every five years, and assesses the likely impact on the auditor’s independence and objectivity before awarding it any contract for additional services. It is Group policy to require Audit Committee approval for all non-audit services provided by the independent auditor.
The consideration of auditor independence is a standing agenda item at each Audit Committee meeting.