The best way to find out what it's like to work at Audit Scotland is to meet the people who already do:
Peter Worsdale, Audit Manager, Performance Audit and Best Value
I was attracted by Audit Scotland's good reputation, and the opportunity to contribute to its high profile public role. My job here seemed to follow naturally from my previous business improvement role in the public sector. Working in PABV in Audit Scotland means you also have to see the bigger picture of how organisations are working to improve the lives of people in Scotland. And developing clear findings on how well they do this is a challenging process.
All audits are different. They may examine specific issues in detail, or take a broad look across a whole sector such as health or local government. Some audits can take you to fairly remote locations or cover a wide geographic area. One of my first audits was in Shetland – this gave me an insight into the different issues facing island councils, and not least the challenges of getting there in winter!
One of the most intensive parts of the job is the planning and preparation needed before going on-site. Another pressure point is preparing for the media release once we have made our findings – we can never be sure what details the press will pick up on or what angle they will take. We do our best to manage this, working with our media and communications teams to convey our messages and to anticipate what questions we may be asked. This is always an interesting process – and who knows - one day you may end up on Newsnight!
Kirsty Ridd, Auditor, Performance Audit and Best Value
I was attracted to join Audit Scotland due to the good reputation it has and the high profile interest that its work attracts. The opportunity to contribute to work that can make a difference to the performance of Scotland’s public services was also important to me.
I joined in 2009 and since then I have worked on audits at organisations the length and breadth of the country, from the Shetland Islands to the Scottish Borders. No two audits are quite the same and I have carried out work on a wide range of themes including partnership working, performance management, workforce planning, the delivery of outcomes for local communities, charging for services and roads maintenance.
The most enjoyable thing about my role is the variety it offers. It gives me the opportunity to get really involved in our audit activity, carrying out a wide variety of tasks from analysing performance data, to carrying out interviews and focus groups with councillors and officers, and report drafting.
I think people would be surprised by the range of backgrounds Audit Scotland staff have – we are not all accountants! Financial audit is a core part of what we do but we also carry out performance audits, Best Value audits, ICT audits and audits of community planning partnerships.
Before joining Audit Scotland I worked as a researcher and then intelligence analyst in the police service and had studied politics and public policy at university. In my team I work with colleagues who have worked in various areas including housing, social work, committee services and teaching and who have degrees in sociology, economics, geography…and even zoology! For me this range of experience is a real strength of Audit Scotland’s.
Jillian Matthew, Audit Manager, Performance Audit and Best Value
I was attracted to Audit Scotland by the opportunity to work in a national, high profile organisation and to help public services to improve. I enjoy the variety of the work and interaction with different people within the organisation and externally, within the public bodies we audit and the Scottish Parliament where we present our national reports.
There isn’t really a typical day at Audit Scotland. You can come into work thinking you know what lies ahead and then something can come completely out of the blue that you have to deal with that can turn your whole day around. Some of the main activities my job entails are interviewing, background reading and research, analysing and making judgements on complex analysis, and report writing. Generally I work in Edinburgh and spend periods of time travelling around Scotland depending on the stage of a project.
Delivering projects on time, to quality and budget can be challenging. One of the most interesting and challenging audits I’ve worked on is a review of how patients are managed on NHS waiting lists across Scotland. It was a high profile audit that received a lot of media attention. We had to quickly respond to an area of concern and provide assurance to the Scottish Parliament and the public, and recommend areas for improvement.
People may be surprised to know we’re not all accountants at Audit Scotland, although a good understanding of public sector finance is essential. Our staff come from a variety of backgrounds from the public sector, research organisations and wider, which means there is a wide breadth of experience and knowledge across the organisation. The environment here is hard-working, yet with flexible working arrangements. Our audit work is constantly developing and evolving to reflect the external environment.
Ross Hubert, Auditor, Audit Services Group
I joined Audit Scotland in October 2011, after being accepted on to their Professional Qualification Scheme.
The main attraction for me was the opportunity to build my career with an independent and influential public body but an additional incentive was the chance to become a CA with ICAS which would provide me with an internationally recognised qualification that would be highly portable should my career ideas or life plans change in the future.
I have always enjoyed investigating and analysing new things, something that I get to do regularly as part of my job as an auditor. For each audit area or audited public body you need to quickly build a thorough understanding of what is going on, which for some organisations is not immediately straightforward.
The challenging aspect of my work is then trying to reflect these complexities in a report which is sharp, concise and understandable to a wide variety of readers.
Over my time I have worked on a number of audits mainly involving the Scottish Government. I have had the opportunity to be involved in work examining the further devolution of financial powers to Scotland – something that I have found fascinating. It is a complicated and fast moving environment and one that is inviting a great deal of comment from across the political landscape.
It has been interesting trying to keep on top of all of it – making sure that you have considered all the angles before coming to a judgement.
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The Healthy Working Lives (HWL) award is a NHS initiative designed to help create a safer, healthier and happier workforce. We were awarded a Bronze award in 2014 for our approach to supporting wellbeing.
We are committed to equal opportunity and to a culture that respects difference. As an employer and public body, and in our audit role, we can play a leading part in the promotion and application of best practice in the areas of Diversity and Equality. As users of the disability symbol, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the vacancy minimum criteria. The general level of competence is set out in the job description/person specification of each individual vacancy profile.
The Best Companies survey is a well-established, highly regarded independent professional survey which includes companies and public bodies across the UK. We are proud to say that Audit Scotland has retained the Best Companies’ ‘One to Watch’ status.
Audit Scotland has been accredited as a Living Wage Employer and welcomed to the Living Wage community.
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