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Quick Guide - Audit Scotland


									    A Quick Guide
to the Auditor General, Accounts Commission
                           and Audit Scotland

Who we are

Audit Scotland
We help the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission check that                  Three principles guide our work
organisations spending public money use it properly, efficiently and effectively.
                                                                                    •	 Auditors are independent of the organisations they audit.
                                                                                    •	 We report in public.
We do this by carrying out performance studies and producing annual audit           •	 We look at more than financial statements – we check whether organisations
reports on public bodies. We cover over 200 organisations including:                   deliver value for money and we examine wider questions about the public
                                                                                       sector’s performance.
•	 72 central government bodies (Scottish Government, non-departmental public
   bodies and others)                                                               Above all, we support public scrutiny that is fair, equal and open, and that leads to
•	 23 NHS bodies                                                                    more effective financial management and value for money.
•	 32 councils
•	 45 joint boards and committees (including police and fire and rescue services)
•	 38 further education colleges
•	 Scottish Water.

Audit Scotland staff and firms of auditors appointed by us carry out the audits.
They check whether the organisations:

•	 manage their finances to the highest standards
•	 achieve the best possible value for public money.

                         Scottish                 Scottish
                         ministers               Parliament

     Accounts          Audit Scotland arranges the audit               Auditor
    Commission         of about 200 public organisations.              General

                                                                                                                                                             Who	we	are		3

The Auditor General                                                                  The Accounts Commission

                           The	Auditor	General	oversees	the	audits	of	most	                                     The	Accounts	Commission	arranges	the	audits	
                           public	bodies	in	Scotland	(except	local	authorities).	                               of	councils	and	police	and	fire	and	rescue	boards.	
                           She	can	also	decide	to	carry	out	performance	                                        It	is	responsible	for	the	Best	Value	audit	of	local	
                           studies	of	particular	organisations,	sectors	or	issues.                              authorities	and	also	carries	out	performance	studies.

 Caroline Gardner                                                                     John Baillie
 Auditor General for Scotland                                                         Chair of the Accounts Commission

 The Auditor General:                                                                 The Accounts Commission:
 •	is	appointed	by	the	Crown	                                                         •	was	set	up	in	1975	
 •	is	independent	                                                                    •	is	independent	of	local	councils	and	of	government	
 •	reports	to	the	Scottish	Parliament	                                                •	can	make	reports	and	recommendations	to	Scottish	ministers.	
 •	is	held	accountable	for	Audit	Scotland’s	work.	
                                                                                      The Accounts Commission’s role is to:	
  The Auditor General’s role is to:                                                   •	appoint	auditors	to	Scotland’s	32	councils	and	45	joint	boards	and	committees
  •	appoint	auditors	to	Scotland’s	central	government	and	NHS	bodies                  •	help	these	bodies	manage	their	resources	efficiently	and	effectively	
  •	examine	how	public	bodies	spend	public	money	                                     •	promote	Best	Value	
  •	make	sure	they	manage	their	finances	to	the	highest	standards	                    •	publish	information	every	year	about	how	councils	perform.	
  •	help	ensure	they	achieve	value	for	money.	
                                                                                      The Accounts Commission has powers to:
  Public bodies that the Auditor General scrutinises include:	                        •	report	and	make	recommendations	to	the	organisations	it	scrutinises	
  •	directorates	of	the	Scottish	Government	                                          •	hold	hearings	
  •	NHS	bodies	                                                                       •	report	and	make	recommendations	to	Scottish	ministers.	
  •	further	education	colleges	
                                                                                      The	Commission	can	also	take	action	against	councillors	and	council	officials	if	
  •	Scottish	Water	
                                                                                      their	negligence	or	misconduct:	
  •	government	agencies	and	non-departmental	public	bodies	(NDPBs)	such	as	           •	leads	to	money	being	lost	or	
    Scottish	Enterprise,	the	Scottish	Prison	Service	and	Historic	Scotland.
                                                                                      •	breaks	the	law.	

                                                                                      Accounts Commission members	
                                                                                      There	are	between	six	and	12	members	appointed	by	Scottish	ministers.	

Our people
Senior management                                                                     Audit Scotland Board
We have around 250 staff, working from offices and audit locations across             Audit Scotland’s work is overseen by its board, made up of the Auditor General,
the country. They are led by a management team, with each member taking               the chair of the Accounts Commission and three other independent non-
                                                                                      executive members appointed by the Scottish Commission for Public Audit
responsibility for a specific area of our work.
                                                                                      (SCPA), a parliamentary body that examines Audit Scotland’s annual budget
              Russell Frith                                                           proposals.
              Assistant Auditor General (Financial Audit)
                                                                                      The board oversees Audit Scotland’s work and seeks to ensure high standards
              Russell is responsible for procurement and resources, auditing and
                                                                                      of governance and management. The board has a remuneration committee and
              accounting standards, technical support and quality assurance.
                                                                                      an audit committee which appoints our internal auditors and receives our annual
                                                                                      accounts and internal audit reports.
              Diane McGiffen
              Chief Operating Officer                                                                 Ronnie Cleland
              Diane is responsible for the internal operations and business                           Chair of the board
              performance of Audit Scotland and chairs the Management Team.

              Lynn Bradley
              Director of Corporate Programmes
                                                                                                      John Baillie
              Lynn is responsible for key areas of development including                              Chair of the Accounts Commission
              corporate knowledge and information management and corporate
              performance reporting.

              Fiona Kordiak
              Director of Audit Services                                                              Katharine Bryan
              Fiona is responsible for the in-house audit services we provide to                      Independent, non-executive member
              the health, central and local government sectors, including the audit
              of financial statements, governance and performance management.

              Barbara Hurst
                                                                                                      Caroline Gardner
              Director of Performance Audit
                                                                                                      Auditor General and Accountable Officer for
              Barbara leads a team which conducts performance audits across                           Audit Scotland
              central government, health and local government.

              Fraser McKinlay                                                                         John MacLean
              Director of Best Value and Scrutiny Improvement, and                                    Independent, non-executive member
              Controller of Audit
              Fraser manages a team which is responsible for carrying out Best
              Value audits and developing scrutiny coordination. It also produces
              overview reports, statutory reports and handles correspondence to
              Audit Scotland. He is also Controller of Audit.
                                                                                                                                                               Our work 5

Our work

How we report on what we find                                                           The impact of our work
We produce a wide range of local and national reports about the                         We provide assurance that public money is spent properly and help public
performance and financial management of Scotland’s public bodies.                       bodies follow and develop good practice and improve public services.

Annual audits                                                                           Our work helps the organisations and services we audit to continuously improve,
We publish annual audit reports for all the public bodies we are responsible for        particularly in the following categories (shown below with examples from past
auditing. Auditors give detailed reports directly to the organisations they audit, as   reports). We also publish impact reports for each of our major studies. These are
well as many other pieces of work during the financial year. They also report to        available on our website.
either the Auditor General or the Accounts Commission.
                                                                                        Economy and efficiency                      Effectiveness and quality
Public reports                                                                          •	 An overview of Scotland’s criminal       •	 Cardiology services
We publish a wide range of reports on matters of public interest. These include            justice system                           •	 A review of telehealth in Scotland
overview reports on how different sectors perform during each financial year.           •	 Scotland’s public finances: addressing   •	 How councils work: an improvement
Other reports focus on particular issues, either in an individual organisation or          the challenges                              series for councillors and officers
across a sector. These reports are considered by the Scottish Parliament and/or         •	 Transport for health and social care     •	 Modernising the planning system
the Accounts Commission.                                                                •	 Review of Community Health
                                                                                           Partnerships                             Accountability
We also assess the progress of councils, and fire and police authorities in                                                         •	 Annual reports on accounts
meeting their Best Value and Community Planning duties, and publish reports             Planning and management                     •	 Governance reviews and reports
about this.
                                                                                        •	 Commonwealth Games 2014: planning        •	 Risk assessments
                                                                                           for the delivery of the XXth Games       •	 Best Value audits of councils
                                                                                        •	 Commissioning social care                •	 Overview reports on local government
                                                                                        •	 The role of community planning              and the NHS
                                                                                           partnerships in economic development
                                                                                        •	 Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Our vision                                                                                                                   Our vision

                                                                                           To be a world-class audit organisation that improves the use of public money
Our vision is to be a world-class audit organisation that improves the use of
public money.
                                                                                                                            Why we exist
In shaping this vision and our priorities for the coming years, we have focused on                  To provide independent assurance to the people of Scotland
the difficult financial climate in which public bodies now operate and the need to                that public money is spent properly and provides value for money
ensure that we operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.

The diagram opposite sets out our priorities, the aims of our work and how we                                        What we do – our priorities
will do it. It highlights the areas we will focus on to deliver our duty to provide                            Helping to improve by holding to account
assurance to the people of Scotland that public money is spent properly and
provides value for money.                                                             Auditing                       Reporting                      Recommending actions
                                                                                      We conduct relevant and        We report our findings and     We identify risks and
The diagram is based firmly on the values of our organisation:                        timely audits of the way the   conclusions in public          make clear and relevant
                                                                                      public sector manages and                                     recommendations for
•	 Independence, integrity and objectivity.                                           spends money                                                  improvement and follow
•	 Valuing people and ensuring equality and fairness.                                                                                               these up
•	 Effective communication.                                                           Annual audits of 200+ public   Annual audit reports           Identifying key areas for
                                                                                      bodies                         Performance audit and Best     improvement
                                                                                      10–12 performance audits a     Value reports                  Report recommendations
                                                                                      year                           Section 22 and Controller of   Local follow-up
                                                                                      5–8 Best Value audits a year   Audit reports                  Self-assessment checklists
                                                                                      Coordinating scrutiny across   Biennial NFI reports           Tracking and reporting on the
                                                                                      local government                                              impact of our work
                                                                                      32 risk assessments in local
                                                                                      National Fraud Initiative
                                                                                      Housing benefit audits

                                                                                                                            How we do it
                                                                                      Quality & improvement:         Knowledge management:          Innovation:
                                                                                      We apply effective quality     We seek out and                We develop new and
                                                                                      assurance and constantly       manage information and         improved products to
                                                                                      seek better ways of            intelligence to deliver        maximise the impact of
                                                                                      working                        excellent audits               audit

                                                                                      Value for money:               Personal performance:          One organisation:
                                                                                      We maximise our efficiency     We empower and support         We work together to deliver
                                                                                      and effectively manage our     our people to be engaged,      excellent audits
                                                                                      resources to reduce the        highly skilled and perform
                                                                                      costs of audit                 well
Contact us
Head office
110 George Street
Edinburgh EH2 4LH
T: 0845 146 1010
(from abroad): +44 131 625 1500

Bob Leishman
Audit Scotland
110 George Street
Edinburgh EH2 4LH
T: 0845 146 1010

Freedom of Information
Alex Devlin
Audit Scotland
110 George Street
Edinburgh EH2 4LH
T: 0845 146 1010

Press office
For enquiries from journalists regarding our work, please contact our press office,
which is open from 9am till 5pm, Monday to Friday.
T: 0845 146 1010

Information correct as at July 2012.

Audit Scotland, 110 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4LH
T: 0845 146 1010 E:
ISBN 978 1 907916 69 4

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