Our work programme

work programme

This programme sets out work that Audit Scotland will carry out from 2018/19 to 2022/23 on behalf of the Auditor General for Scotland and the Accounts Commission, who refresh the programme each year and consult with stakeholders on its content.

The work programme covers a range of public sector bodies and services. The programme sets out work in detail for the next two years and indicates the proposed areas of work for the three years beyond. Our programme includes annual audit work and statutory reports. To find out more about the broad range of work that we do, visit our work pages.


Work programme 2018/19 to 2022/23

Click on each date below to see the planned programme for that year. Contact details for key staff involved in specific audit areas are included.

For general programme information, contact us at workprogramme@audit-scotland.gov.uk.

Overview reporting

These reports assess the overall performance of key parts of the public sector, such as the NHS, local government and colleges.

overview reporting

Read more about the overview reports we're doing

NHS in Scotland 2018To be published 2018 on behalf of the Auditor General

This is our annual report on how the NHS in Scotland is performing. The overall aim of the audit is to answer the question: How well is the NHS in Scotland performing and is it equipped to deal with the challenges ahead?

Further information:

Senior Manager: Leigh Johnston


Scotland’s colleges 2018To be published 2018 on behalf of the Auditor General

Scotland’s colleges 2018

Our report will comment on the sector’s performance from a financial and non-financial perspective. We will also highlight any future challenges the sector faces.

Read more about our colleges report

Further information:

Senior Manager: Mark MacPherson


Local government in Scotland: Financial overview To be published late 2018 on behalf of the Accounts Commission

This report provides a high-level independent analysis of the financial performance of councils. It draws upon councils’ audited accounts and other sources of financial information.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Carol Calder


Local government in Scotland: Performance and challengesTo be published spring 2019 on behalf of the Accounts Commission

We will use the wider overview report to highlight issues that the Commission, through its strategy, has identified as being of greatest importance. We will also report on:

  • current and future challenges councils are facing, and the pressures on key services;
  • how councils have responded to budgetary pressures and changing demand on services, for example through workforce reductions and service redesign; and
  • councils’ performance and progress in meeting challenges

Further information:

Senior Manager: Carol Calder

Performance audits

Performance audits reports focus on efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public resources. They can consider issues such as: implementation of public service reforms; value for money; use of resources, and; service performance and sustainability.

performance audit

Read more about the performance audits we're doing

Broadband updateTo be published summer 2018 on behalf of the Auditor General

The rollout of superfast broadband continues to be of significant public and parliamentary interest.

This follow up audit will comment on what has been achieved from the public sector’s two contracts with BT (due to complete at the end of 2017). It will also review progress with the next stage of broadband development, including delivery of the Scottish Government’s vision of world-class infrastructure by 2020, and 100 per cent superfast broadband coverage by 2021.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Graeme Greenhill


Digital progress in central government and healthTo be published 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General

This is the first in a series of audits looking at high level performance against digital strategies, outcomes, leadership, and assurance and governance arrangements.

This audit will look at the progress that the Scottish Government is making in delivering on its digital ambitions. This will include progress against the digital strategy, the impact of new assurance arrangements, and comparison of the approach and progress in the digital directorate in central government and the e-health directorate.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Gemma Diamond


Forth replacement crossingTo be published summer 2018 on behalf of the Auditor General

Forth replacement crossing audit

At a total cost of £1.3 billion, the Forth Replacement Crossing is the largest public sector major capital project in recent years.

The audit will provide assurance on the project’s management and delivery to cost and budget, whilst seeking to identify lessons for the management of other infrastructure investment projects.

It will also include a high-level examination of how consideration of the residual use of the current bridge (ie how long it is anticipated to remain in use, for what purposes, and the associated cost of ongoing maintenance) was considered as part of the overall business planning for the new bridge.

Read more about the Forth replacement audit

Further information:

Senior Manager: Graeme Greenhill


New financial powers and constitutional changeTo be published 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General

Continues the series of reports looking at the devolution of new financial powers and associated constitutional change.

Visit our e-hub to find out more about our work on new financial powers

Further information:

Senior Manager: To be confirmed


NHS workforce 2- community based workforceTo be published 2018 on behalf of the Auditor General

We have reported on significant risks in current NHS workforce planning arrangements and that it is unclear what long-term impact health and social care integration, including the role of integration authorities, will have on the NHS workforce.

This audit will involve more detailed audit work on the community based workforce, including its changing role, challenges and working arrangements, and provide an update on the first NHS workforce planning report.

Further information:

Senior Manager: To be confirmed


Scottish Fire and Rescue ServiceTo be published spring 2018 on behalf of the Auditor General

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service audit

This audit will follow-up on the recommendations made in the 2015 report, and will provide an update on the progress made by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on its financial sustainability, its continued transformation to a national service and how effectively it is now performing.

The audit will provide assurance to the Scottish Parliament and the public that the Service has appropriate arrangements in place to deliver its preventative and emergency responsibilities across Scotland. It will highlight good practice and lessons learned to support continued improvement across the Service.

Read more about our Scottish Fire and Rescue Services audit

Further information:

Senior Manager: Mark Roberts


Arm's-Length External organisations (ALEOs)To be published spring 2018 on behalf of the Accounts Commission

ALEOs audit

The Commission noted in its 2011 How Councils Work report Arm’s-length external organisations (ALEOs): are you getting it right? that it is not always clear whether ALEOs have met their objectives. The Commission has also noted that whilst councils’ governance of ALEOs is improving, there is still some variation across councils.

This audit aims to provide public assurance over councils’ use of ALEOs and the extent to which they are achieving their intended benefits. The audit will also help to share good practice and lessons learned between councils.

Read more about our audit on ALEOs.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Carol Calder


Children and young people's mental healthTo be published autumn 2018 on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Children and young people's mental health audit

Improving mental health and wellbeing is a major public health challenge for Scotland. The social and economic costs of mental ill health are high. One in eight children aged ten to 15 report symptoms of mental ill health, with most adult mental health problems first occurring in adolescence. Mental health problems in childhood and adolescence are also associated with poorer outcomes in later life.

Our 2009 Overview of Mental Health Services report found that provision of specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAHMS) varied considerably across Scotland, and that there was a lack of early intervention and preventative services. It also found evidence of children and young people waiting significant periods of time to access services.

This audit aims to establish how effectively children and young people’s mental health services are delivered and funded in Scotland. The audit will look at provision of services across all four tiers of CAHMS, including voluntary and private sector services where relevant. Throughout the audit we will engage with children and young people, as well as their parents and carers, about their views and experiences

Read more about our audit on children and young people's mental health

Further information:

Senior Manager: Leigh Johnston


Health and social care integration: part 2To be published autumn 2018 on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Health and social care integration follow upIn December 2015, we published the first of three national reports looking at the integration of health and social care. In the report we recognised that The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014 introduced a significant programme of reform affecting most health and care services, and over £8 billion of public money. The reforms are far reaching and have scope to address barriers to providing the right care for people closer to home.

We also reported significant risks to the success of health and social care integration, including complex governance arrangements, difficulties in budget-setting and consequent delays in strategic planning.

We will carry out a second audit in 2018, now that integration authorities are more established, to look at progress and to follow up on these risks. The audit will also examine changes to the system, including evidence of shifts in service delivery from acute to community based and preventative services, and the impact on the lives of local people.

Read more about our update on health and social care integration

Further information:

Senior Manager: Leigh Johnston


Value for money of non-profit distributing projectsTo be published 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Our last report on the use of private finance to fund public sector infrastructure investment was published in 2002. Private finance remains an important way to fund infrastructure investment, with nearly a third of capital projects by value (£2.3 billion out of £7.2 billion) which are currently underway being funded through non-profit distributing (NPD) models.

This audit will use a case study approach to assess whether NPD has achieved its aim of curtailing excessive private sector profits. It will also assess the impact of the Office for National Statistics decision to classify NPD projects such as the Aberdeen West Peripheral Route as being subject to public sector control.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Graeme Greenhill

Audits of Best Value

These reports audit how well councils are meeting their statutory duty of Best Value. This includes an assessment each year of aspects of Best Value as part of an integrated annual audit. In addition, a public Best Value Assurance Report (BVAR) for each council will be published at least once in a five year period that will bring together an overall picture of the council drawn from a range of audit activity and the work of other scrutiny bodies. This five-year rolling programme is agreed each year by the Accounts Commission.

Best Value audits

Read more about the Best Value reports we're doing

Six Best Value reports:

  • Dumfries and Galloway Council
  • East Ayrshire Council
  • East Lothian Council
  • Fife Council
  • Glasgow City Council
  • West Dunbartonshire Council

Best Value assessments featured in the annual audit reports for the other 26 councils.

How councils work

This is a series of publications designed to support improvement in local government.

how councils work

Read more about How councils work reports

The Accounts Commission is currently considering which topic it will select for its next How Councils Work report.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Mark McCabe

Impact reports

These reports summarise the impact of a performance audit. They are published around 18 months after the audit report, and cover the response to the report, and how conclusions and recommendations were acted upon by audited bodies and others, such as the Parliament.

impact reports

Read more about the impact reports we're doing

Overview reporting

These reports assess the overall performance of key parts of the public sector, such as the NHS, local government and colleges.

overview reporting

Read more about the overview reports we're doing

NHS in Scotland 2019To be published 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General

This is our annual report on how the NHS in Scotland is performing. The overall aim of the audit is to answer the question: How well is the NHS in Scotland performing and is it equipped to deal with the challenges ahead?

Further information:

Senior Manager: Leigh Johnston


Scotland’s colleges 2019To be published 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General

Our report will comment on the sector’s performance from a financial and non-financial perspective. We will also highlight any future challenges the sector faces.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Mark MacPherson


Local government in Scotland: Financial overview To be published late 2019 on behalf of the Accounts Commission

This report provides a high-level independent analysis of the financial performance of councils. It draws upon councils’ audited accounts and other sources of financial information.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Carol Calder


Local government in Scotland: Performance and challengesTo be published spring 2020 on behalf of the Accounts Commission

We will use the wider overview report to highlight issues that the Commission, through its strategy, has identified as being of greatest importance. We will also report on:

  • current and future challenges councils are facing, and the pressures on key services;
  • how councils have responded to budgetary pressures and changing demand on services, for example through workforce reductions and service redesign; and
  • councils’ performance and progress in meeting challenges

Further information:

Senior Manager: Carol Calder

Performance audits

Performance audits reports focus on efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public resources. They can consider issues such as: implementation of public service reforms; value for money; use of resources, and; service performance and sustainability.

performance audit

Read more about the performance audits we're doing

A9 duallingTo be published 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General

The dualling of the A9 trunk road consists of 11 separate projects with a likely combined cost of around £3 billion once completed in 2025.

This audit will consider the delivery to date of the projects within the overall dualling programme, including delivery to cost and time budgets, and governance arrangements, with a view to identifying learning points for subsequent projects.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Graeme Greenhill


Higher education (finances)To be published 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General

This audit will follow up on the financial aspects of our 2016 report on higher education in Scottish universities. In that report it was noted that the strong overall financial position masked underlying risks within the sector. Surpluses and reserves were concentrated in a small number of universities, with some heavily reliant on Scottish Government funding at a time when this is reducing.

Universities were placing greater reliance on generating income from fee-paying students from the rest of the UK and outside the European Union (EU). The effects of Brexit will potentially affect this position.

This audit will review the position based primarily on universities 2018/19 financial statements and information from the Scottish Funding Council.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Mark MacPherson


New financial powers and constitutional changeTo be published 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General

Continues the series of reports looking at the devolution of New Financial Powers and associated constitutional change.

Further information:

Senior Manager: To be confirmed


Skills planning and investmentTo be published 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General

There have been some significant developments in this area in recent years, including the introduction of Skills Investment Plans, regionalisation of colleges, new foundation and graduate apprenticeships, and the Scottish Government’s Enterprise and Skills Review.

This audit will look at how the Scottish Government determines, in conjunction with relevant stakeholders, the role the public sector should play in anticipating and developing the skills needed for the economy and, more widely, society. It will consider how effective interventions have been and, potentially, the value for money of specific interventions.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Mark MacPherson


Digital progress in local governmentTo be published early 2020 on behalf of the Accounts Commission

This audit will enable the Commission to focus on whether councils are making best use of digital technologies and methods to transform services and improve outcomes for citizens. This would include looking at the effectiveness of leadership and collaboration across councils.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Gemma Diamond


Supporting economic growth: the role of local authoritiesTo be published early 2020 on behalf of the Accounts Commission

Building on our 2016 report on the role of the enterprise agencies in supporting economic growth, this audit will consider the issues and risks to other areas of the economic development landscape. This includes local economic development and regeneration activity in councils, and the role of the Business Gateway service.

This is a topic which is of priority interest to the Commission. This will assume even greater significance as a consequence of the potential impact of Scotland’s new financial powers on local government funding, and the increased emphasis that Scottish local authorities are placing on supporting economic growth as part of their efforts to create sustainable communities and address inequalities.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Gemma Diamond


Community assetsTo be published 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

With the Strategic Scrutiny Group (SSG) we have undertaken a range of work to help develop our work on community empowerment, including: establishing an advisory group with scrutiny partners and external experts; learning and making connections; developing a broader understanding of the key issues and implications for scrutiny; and developing a coordinated approach to the scrutiny of community empowerment across all scrutiny bodies.

We will review our progress in 2018 and provide an update to inform audit work planned for 2019/20. The audit will build on the ongoing joint development work with the SSG and will assess how organisations across the public sector are working with local communities to make best use of community assets, and the local impact of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act

Further information:

Senior Manager: Carol Calder


Educational outcomesTo be published early 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

This audit will follow up on our 2014 report on school education. Since then, the Scottish Government has identified improving educational outcomes and closing the poverty-related attainment gap as its top priority, and has committed to investing an additional £750 million to improve outcomes over the lifetime of this Parliament.

The audit will look at trends in educational outcomes and spending across Scotland, and assess the impact of actions by the Scottish Government and councils to improve outcomes. It will also follow up on progress against the recommendations in our 2014 report

Further information:

Senior Manager: Tricia Meldrum


HousingTo be published 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

The scope of this work is still to be decided and will be informed by the Round Table scheduled to take place during 2018/19., It is likely to focus on issues of housing supply and progress that has been made in delivering the Scottish Government housing action plan. It would follow up on the issues identified in the 2013 Housing in Scotland report in the context of the changed policy context and ambitious improvement targets that the Scottish Government has set in this area, in particular to increasing the supply of affordable homes.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Carol Calder


Innovative Financing: City DealsTo be published 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

The Scottish Government considers City Region Deals as having a major role in driving the economy, boosting investment and innovation, and supporting inclusive economic growth. Around £2.3 billion has been committed in respect of the four City Region Deals agreed to date, with most councils actively involved in their development.

The audit will review progress to date, with particular emphasis on governance and project management arrangements. A further City Deals audit is proposed for 2021/22 by which time some of the projects associated with each City Deal should be under way.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Graeme Greenhill


Waste managementTo be published 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

The overall aim of the audit will be to assess how well Scotland is performing in meeting its current and future waste management targets. It will consider the level of investment in new waste management facilities and the impact of the Scottish Landfill Tax on the levels of waste sent to landfill.

The audit will follow up on previous reports on sustainable waste management in 2007, and the 2010 protecting and improving Scotland’s environment report

Further information:

Senior Manager: Graeme Greenhill

Audits of Best Value

These reports audit how well councils are meeting their statutory duty of Best Value. This includes an assessment each year of aspects of Best Value as part of an integrated annual audit. In addition, a public Best Value Assurance Report (BVAR) for each council will be published at least once in a five year period that will bring together an overall picture of the council drawn from a range of audit activity and the work of other scrutiny bodies. This five-year rolling programme is agreed each year by the Accounts Commission.

Best Value audits

Read more about the Best Value reports we're doing

Seven Best Value reports:

To be confirmed following the 2018/19 shared risk assessment process.

Best Value assessments featured in the annual audit reports for the other 25 councils.

How councils work

This is a series of publications designed to support improvement in local government.

how councils work

Read more about How councils work reports

The Accounts Commission will in consider in late 2018, as part of its wider refresh of the work programme for 2019/20 – 2023/24, potential topics and scheduling of any future How Councils Work activity.

Impact reports

These reports summarise the impact of a performance audit. They are published around 18 months after the audit report, and cover the response to the report, and how conclusions and recommendations were acted upon by audited bodies and others, such as the Parliament.

impact reports

Read more about the impact reports we're doing

The order in which reports are published might change depending on any significant policy developments that impact on audit recommendations:

Overview reporting

These reports assess the overall performance of key parts of the public sector, such as the NHS, local government and colleges.

overview reporting

Read more about the overview reports we're doing

NHS in Scotland 2020To be published on behalf of the Auditor General

This is our annual report on how the NHS in Scotland is performing. The overall aim of the audit is to answer the question: How well is the NHS in Scotland performing and is it equipped to deal with the challenges ahead?


Scotland’s colleges 2020To be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Our report will comment on the sector’s performance from a financial and non-financial perspective. We will also highlight any future challenges the sector faces.


Local government in Scotland: Financial overview To be published on behalf of the Accounts Commission

This report provides a high-level independent analysis of the financial performance of councils. It draws upon councils’ audited accounts and other sources of financial information.


Local government in Scotland: Performance and challengesTo be published on behalf of the Accounts Commission

We will use the wider overview report to highlight issues that the Commission, through its strategy, has identified as being of greatest importance. We will also report on:

  • current and future challenges councils are facing, and the pressures on key services;
  • how councils have responded to budgetary pressures and changing demand on services, for example through workforce reductions and service redesign; and
  • councils’ performance and progress in meeting challenges

Performance audits

Performance audits reports focus on efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public resources. They can consider issues such as: implementation of public service reforms; value for money; use of resources, and; service performance and sustainability.

performance audit

Read more about the performance audits we're doing

New financial powers and constitutional changeTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

NHS workforce 3To be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Supporting economic growth: impact of enterprise and skills reviewTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Commonwealth Games legacy - six years onTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Digital services (learning or justice)To be published on behalf of the Auditor General or the Accounts Commission to be confirmed dependent on audit coverage

Flood risk managementTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Health and social care integration part 3To be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Improving outcomes for looked after childrenTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Teacher workforce planningTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Youth justiceTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Audits of Best Value

These reports audit how well councils are meeting their statutory duty of Best Value. This includes an assessment each year of aspects of Best Value as part of an integrated annual audit. In addition, a public Best Value Assurance Report (BVAR) for each council will be published at least once in a five year period that will bring together an overall picture of the council drawn from a range of audit activity and the work of other scrutiny bodies. This five-year rolling programme is agreed each year by the Accounts Commission.

Best Value audits

Read more about the Best Value reports we're doing

Six Best Value reports:

To be confirmed following the 2019/20 shared risk assessment process.

Best Value assessments featured in the annual audit reports for the other 26 councils.

How councils work

This is a series of publications designed to support improvement in local government.

how councils work

Read more about the How Councils Work series

The Accounts Commission will in consider in late 2018, as part of its wider refresh of the work programme for 2019/20 – 2023/24, potential topics and scheduling of any future How Councils Work activity.

Impact reports

These reports summarise the impact of a performance audit. They are published around 18 months after the audit report, and cover the response to the report, and how conclusions and recommendations were acted upon by audited bodies and others, such as the Parliament.

impact reports

Read more about the impact reports we're doing

The order in which reports are published might change depending on any significant policy developments that impact on audit recommendations:

Forth replacement crossing

NHS workforce 2

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service: follow-up

Arm's-Length External Organisations

Children and young people's mental health

Innovative financing: City Deals

Overview reporting

These reports assess the overall performance of key parts of the public sector, such as the NHS, local government and colleges.

overview reporting

Read more about the overview reports we're doing

NHS in Scotland 2021To be published on behalf of the Auditor General

This is our annual report on how the NHS in Scotland is performing. The overall aim of the audit is to answer the question: How well is the NHS in Scotland performing and is it equipped to deal with the challenges ahead?


Scotland’s colleges 2021To be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Our report will comment on the sector’s performance from a financial and non-financial perspective. We will also highlight any future challenges the sector faces.


Local government in Scotland: Financial overview To be published on behalf of the Accounts Commission

This report provides a high-level independent analysis of the financial performance of councils. It draws upon councils’ audited accounts and other sources of financial information.


Local government in Scotland: Performance and challengesTo be published on behalf of the Accounts Commission

We will use the wider overview report to highlight issues that the Commission, through its strategy, has identified as being of greatest importance. We will also report on:

  • current and future challenges councils are facing, and the pressures on key services;
  • how councils have responded to budgetary pressures and changing demand on services, for example through workforce reductions and service redesign; and
  • councils’ performance and progress in meeting challenges

Performance audits

Performance audits reports focus on efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public resources. They can consider issues such as: implementation of public service reforms; value for money; use of resources, and; service performance and sustainability.

performance audit

Read more about the performance audits we're doing

Development of Scotland's new agriculture and fishing policy post BrexitTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

NHS workforce 3To be published on behalf of the Auditor General

New financial powers and constitutional changeTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Progress against digital strategy - five years onTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Social securityTo be published early on behalf of the Auditor General

Community justiceTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Early learning and childcare seriesTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Housing 2To be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Innovative financing - City Deals 2To be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Outcomes for children with additional support needsTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Audits of Best Value

These reports audit how well councils are meeting their statutory duty of Best Value. This includes an assessment each year of aspects of Best Value as part of an integrated annual audit. In addition, a public Best Value Assurance Report (BVAR) for each council will be published at least once in a five year period that will bring together an overall picture of the council drawn from a range of audit activity and the work of other scrutiny bodies. This five-year rolling programme is agreed each year by the Accounts Commission.

Best Value audits

Read more about the Best Value reports we're doing

Six Best Value reports:

To be confirmed following the 2020/21 shared risk assessment process.

Best Value assessments featured in the annual audit reports for the other 26 councils.

How councils work

This is a series of publications designed to support improvement in local government.

how councils work

Read more about How councils work reports

The Accounts Commission will in consider in late 2018, as part of its wider refresh of the work programme for 2019/20 – 2023/24, potential topics and scheduling of any future How Councils Work activity.

Impact reports

These reports summarise the impact of a performance audit. They are published around 18 months after the audit report, and cover the response to the report, and how conclusions and recommendations were acted upon by audited bodies and others, such as the Parliament.

impact reports

Read more about the impact reports we're doing

The order in which reports are published might change depending on any significant policy developments that impact on audit recommendations:

A9 dualling

Digital in central government and health

Higher education finances

Skills planning and investment

Community assets

Educational outcomes

Value for money of non-profit distributing projects

Waste management

Overview reporting

These reports assess the overall performance of key parts of the public sector, such as the NHS, local government and colleges.

overview reporting

Read more about the overview reports we're doing

NHS in Scotland 2022To be published on behalf of the Auditor General

This is our annual report on how the NHS in Scotland is performing. The overall aim of the audit is to answer the question: How well is the NHS in Scotland performing and is it equipped to deal with the challenges ahead?


Scotland’s colleges 2022To be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Our report will comment on the sector’s performance from a financial and non-financial perspective. We will also highlight any future challenges the sector faces.


Local government in Scotland: Financial overview To be published on behalf of the Accounts Commission

This report provides a high-level independent analysis of the financial performance of councils. It draws upon councils’ audited accounts and other sources of financial information.


Local government in Scotland: Performance and challengesTo be published on behalf of the Accounts Commission

We will use the wider overview report to highlight issues that the Commission, through its strategy, has identified as being of greatest importance. We will also report on:

  • current and future challenges councils are facing, and the pressures on key services;
  • how councils have responded to budgetary pressures and changing demand on services, for example through workforce reductions and service redesign; and
  • councils’ performance and progress in meeting challenges

Performance audits

Performance audits reports focus on efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public resources. They can consider issues such as: implementation of public service reforms; value for money; use of resources, and; service performance and sustainability.

performance audit

Read more about the performance audits we're doing

New financial powers and consitutional changeTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Replacing structural fundsTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Digital progress across governmentTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Mental health 3To be published on behalf of the Auditor General or the Accounts Commission to be confirmed dependent on audit coverage

Progress in addressing child povertyTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Audits of Best Value

These reports audit how well councils are meeting their statutory duty of Best Value. This includes an assessment each year of aspects of Best Value as part of an integrated annual audit. In addition, a public Best Value Assurance Report (BVAR) for each council will be published at least once in a five year period that will bring together an overall picture of the council drawn from a range of audit activity and the work of other scrutiny bodies. This five-year rolling programme is agreed each year by the Accounts Commission.

Best Value audits

Read more about the Best Value reports we're doing

End of five-year audit appointment cycle.

Next steps to be confirmed in 2021.

How councils work

This is a series of publications designed to support improvement in local government.

how councils work

Read more about How councils work reports

The Accounts Commission will in consider in late 2018, as part of its wider refresh of the work programme for 2019/20 – 2023/24, potential topics and scheduling of any future How Councils Work activity.

Impact reports

These reports summarise the impact of a performance audit. They are published around 18 months after the audit report, and cover the response to the report, and how conclusions and recommendations were acted upon by audited bodies and others, such as the Parliament.

impact reports

Read more about the impact reports we're doing

The order in which reports are published might change depending on any significant policy developments that impact on audit recommendations:

Digital in local government

Supporting economic growth - role of local authorities

City Deals 2

Flood risk management

Improving outcomes for looked after children

Youth justice