Scottish Commission For Public Audit

17/12/2007

The Scottish Commission for Public Audit today published its 1st Report, 2007 (Session 3) recommending that the Scottish Parliament approves Audit Scotland’s Budget Proposal for 2008-2009.

The Commission recognises Audit Scotland’s key role in holding organisations to account for their use of public resources, and the way its business has developed significantly to assist the improvement process in local government. The Commission has also commended Audit Scotland on its international work supporting good governance, particularly in developing countries and emerging democracies.

Convener of the Commission, Angela Constance MSP, said:

“Since the newly-appointed members of the Commission began their work in June we have examined Audit Scotland’s accounts for year ended March 2007, its funding for the current year and its plans for 2008-09.

“Throughout this work we have sought explanations from the Auditor General and Audit Scotland management on a number of specific matters to help us understand the business cycle and the funding it requires.

“In its report, the Commission has approved Audit Scotland’s budget plans. It has also made a number of recommendations to seek further clarification on Audit Scotland’s approach to planned efficiency savings; the way in which Audit Scotland’s business cycle influences its funding requirements and its perceived reliance on end-year flexibility. This will help us ensure that Audit Scotland demonstrates the highest levels of transparency and efficiency in its own budgeting.”

Background

The Commission is a public body established by the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 to scrutinise the expenditure of Audit Scotland (whose budget is independent of Scottish Government control as it is ‘top-sliced’ from the Scottish Consolidated Fund before the Scottish Government decides on allocation of the rest of the Scottish budget). Four Commission members are appointed by the Scottish Parliament’s Corporate Body and the fifth is the person who holds the office of Convener of the Parliament’s Audit Committee. The Commission currently comprises of Robert Brown MSP, Derek Brownlee MSP, Convener Angela Constance MSP, George Foulkes MSP and Hugh Henry MSP.

The Commission’s main responsibilities are; to examine the proposed budget of Audit Scotland, appoint an accountable officer for Audit Scotland; appoint the auditors of Audit Scotland; initiate value for money examinations into Audit Scotland; and consider the audit and value for money reports and ensure such reports are both laid before the parliament and published. The Commission has met four times since June 2007.