Annual report 2017/18

Annual report 2017/18

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Highlights from the annual report: 310 accounts audited; 18 performance audits; 72904 visitors to our website; 20636 Twitter engagements; £2.4m efficiencies, cost reduction and additional income delivered; new Audit Quality Framework introduced; 4.4 days staff absence rate; £6000 raised by our staff for good causes

Welcome and overview

Ian Leitch

This is a time of significant change for public bodies and the role of public audit is as crucial as ever.

Iain Leitch CBE
Chair of the Audit Scotland Board

Read more from Iain Leitch...

As the Auditor General notes in her report, this is a time of significant change for public bodies and the role of public audit is as crucial as ever. We have developed plans to respond to these changes by investing in our people and strengthening the audit quality regime.

Our role as a board is to oversee the exercise of all functions of Audit Scotland. Its key objectives are to support the Accounts Commission and the Auditor General to provide independent assurance to the people of Scotland that public money is spent properly and provides value for money.

We have met eight times during the year, and I especially welcome the fact that during this time we have opened our meetings to the public.

I am very grateful for the support of fellow board members. During the year we welcomed Graham Sharp, as new chair of the Accounts Commission and gave thanks to Ronnie Hinds for carrying out this role on an acting basis.

I would also like to thank Caroline Gardner as Auditor General, Diane McGiffen our Chief Operating Officer, and the skilled and competent staff at Audit Scotland for all their hard work and contributions over the past year.

Finally, I would like to mention Russell Frith, Assistant Auditor General, who retired at the end of 2017. Russell has been with Audit Scotland since its inception in 2000. He played a major part in the setting up of the new body and has been instrumental in its development since. His knowledge and technical expertise will be missed and we wish him the best for the future.

Caroline Gardner

Our ambition is to remain world class with high-quality audit reports which help make a real difference.

Caroline Gardner
Accountable Officer

Read more from Caroline Gardner...

It’s been another year of significant change for public bodies. We are seeing the roll-out of new financial powers for the Scottish Parliament and continuing financial pressures on the services we all rely on. On top of that we have uncertainties about EU withdrawal.

The Audit Scotland Management Team and I have been busy ensuring that Audit Scotland is in good shape to respond to these challenges.

Scotland has a world-leading public sector audit regime. Working for both the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission means that Audit Scotland is well placed to look across the public sector and audit is not constrained by organisational boundaries.

This gives us the flexibility to draw in expertise from different audit disciplines when needed – from financial core audit work reporting on more than 200 public bodies, to targeted performance audits in areas of public interest and importance, such as early learning and childcare.

We have maintained our focus on the impact of new powers for the Scottish Parliament. This is a critical area where Scotland’s overall budget will be far more closely tied to the performance of the Scottish economy.

All of this has been underpinned by changes we have made internally to continually improve the quality, relevance and value of our work.

I am very grateful to all my talented colleagues in Audit Scotland for their unstinting efforts over the last year. We won’t be resting on our laurels. Our ambition is to remain world class with high-quality audit reports which are clear and accessible and which help make a real difference to the value that the people of Scotland receive from their public services.

Improving Audit Quality

Audit quality is the cornerstone of Audit Scotland’s work. All of our work needs to be of the highest standard.

We introduced enhanced quality arrangements in 2017/18 to support independent scrutiny, assurance and professional support for the in-house teams and the appointed firms. As part of this, we set up two new teams.

Read more in our annual report.

Appointments and Assurance teamOur new Appointments and Assurance team developed our Audit Quality Framework.
Audit qualityThe results of our new approach are in our audit quality annual report.


Annual financial audits

Performance reports

Reporting on Best Value

Climate change and sustainability

Carbon scrutiny

Improving our environmental performance is an important aspect of our world-class audit ambitions. We reduced our carbon emissions by 21 per cent in 2016/17. Read more in our annual report.

International work

International report

Learning from best practice across the world has been at the forefront of our approach to our international work this year, and we have been able to share some of our own knowledge and experience with audit professionals from other countries. Read more in our annual report.

Audit Quality Framework

Audit Quality Framework

The framework applies to all our audit work and combines the highest standards with more comprehensive arrangements for internal quality reviews and enhanced reporting.

Auditing in a changing environment

Identifying issues and key risks that lie ahead is an essential part of what we do. Because of the major implications of EU withdrawal and Scotland’s new financial powers, we set up an in-house team to work on the crucial areas of change.

Their priority is to map out changes, potential scenarios and possible consequences of actions, and put in place effective audit arrangements to enable Parliament to receive independent assurance on new bodies.

Read more in our annual report.

new financial powersOur financial powers e-hub brings together the work we're doing in this area.
Managing the Scotland ActsFind out some of the key facts from our latest report on managing financial powers.
By 2020 £22 billion raised directly in ScotlandBy 2020 the Scottish Parliament will be raising more than half the total Scottish budget

Making an impact

To achieve real impact, the messages from our audits must be clear to all our stakeholders.

We have made more use of graphics, video, and simple interactive tools to break down complex information as well as a wide range of social media.

Read more in our annual report.

Best ValueFor the new Best Value reports we provided posters and electronic bulletins for local stakeholders.
Early learning and childcareWe used findings from our Early Learning and Childcare report to produce a parents' guide and video.
Equal payWe looked at areas which have a huge impact on people's lives such as ferry services and equal pay

Accountability report

Accountability stats: People - 272; Gender 53% female 47% male; Board 40% female 60% male; Management 75% female 25% male; Absence 4.4 days; Turnover rate 12.8%; Trainee auditors 42

Giving something back

We are proud to have different perspectives provided by colleagues drawn from more than a dozen nationalities and ethnic minority groups, and from a variety of educational backgrounds.

We're also very proud of the achievements of our colleagues outside work.

Read more in our annual report.

gender balance male 47% female 53%Our workforce is a balanced gender mix.
Brain Tumour CharityWe've raised over £6000 for our nominated charity, the Brain Tumour Charity
Asif HaseebOur colleague Asif Haseeb received an OBE.

Financial statements


Finance information: 2017/18 outturn £26.7m; Income - audit fees, Scottish Parliament £8.7m; Expenditure - people costs £17.3m, firms £4.4m, other £5m

Reports 2017/18