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Forthcoming publications

Forthcoming publications

Audit Scotland undertakes a number of audits for the Auditor General for Scotland and the Accounts Commission as part of a wider public audit model. This includes the annual audits of over 200 public bodies, some of which are carried out by private firms; reports on significant issues of public interest; performance audits; audits of best value in local government and of Community Planning Partnerships; overview reports on specific sectors; and reports on the National Fraud Initiative.

Reports already published within 2014/15 can be found in the All reports section. Further information on our forthcoming performance and best value audits is set out below or can be obtained from the business manager for this work, Rikki Young, at ryoung@audit-scotland.gov.uk.

Efficiency of prosecuting criminal cases through the sheriff courts

Due for release: September 2015 for the Auditor General

Summary: Our report Overview of Scotland’s justice system (September 2011) found significant inefficiencies in how criminal summary cases progressed through the court system. Cases were often resolved later than necessary, costing significant amounts of public money. We estimated that court ‘churn’ (when a case has to repeat a stage at court) cost around £10 million in 2009/10 and late decisions by the procurators fiscal not to proceed with a case cost around £30 million.

The Scottish Government established a four-year Making Justice Work programme due to be completed by the end of 2014 to improve efficiency in the criminal justice system. More recently, the Scottish Court Service has embarked on a programme of court closures to meet financial pressures.

The Moray Council Best Value follow-up audit 2015

Due for release: October 2015 for the Accounts Commission

Summary:

In September 2013, the Accounts Commission published a Best Value Audit report for The Moray Council. The Accounts Commission’s findings in the report emphasised the need for the council to: continue to strengthen leadership, particularly through its development programmes for officers and members; integrate its various strategic plans and strands of improvement work; and take a more co-ordinated approach to seeking and making use of the views of customers.

This Best Value follow up report will focus on whether the council has made sufficient progress in these areas since the last audit.

NHS in Scotland 2015

Due for release: October 2015 for the Auditor General

Summary: The NHS in Scotland provides a range of vital services across the country to thousands of people every day. Increasing costs and a growing demand for services, combined with continuing pressures on public finances, means the NHS is facing increasing challenges in delivering its services.

Audit Scotland prepares an annual overview on the NHS in Scotland on behalf of the Auditor General for Scotland (AGS). This year's report focuses on the performance of the NHS in Scotland during the financial year 2014/15. Our review will assess the financial performance of the NHS based on information from the annual accounts and audit reports of NHS boards in 2014/15. We will also comment on the broader performance of the NHS and will look ahead to examine how the NHS in Scotland is equipped to deal with future challenges.

Argyll and Bute Council Best Value Audit 2015

Due for release: November / December 2015 for the Accounts Commission

Summary: In July 2014, we published findings from follow-up Best Value audit work in Argyll and Bute Council. Our report noted the progress the council had made against findings of previous Best Value audit work published in October 2013, but also highlighted that it was too early to assess the effectiveness of plans being implemented. The Accounts Commission concluded that there was still much work to be done by the council to secure the improvements that it required in its previous findings and required the Controller of Audit to report on progress by the end of 2015.

In carrying out this Best Value audit work at the council during 2015, we will consider progress in the areas highlighted by the Accounts Commission in its findings on the July 2014 audit report, with particular focus upon the effectiveness of political management arrangements, scrutiny and roles and relationships, including between members and officers.

We have also carried out additional audit work within a year, such as that recently reported on the council’s decision regarding a proposal for a community buy out of Castle Toward, and a recent commissioning process undertaken by the council on behalf of Argyll and Bute Alcohol and Drugs Partnership.

Health and social care integration

Due for release: December 2015 for the Auditor General / Accounts Commission

Summary: This audit will look at the new arrangements that councils and NHS boards are putting in place to integrate adult health and care services. Audit Scotland will lead on an assessment of the progress made in implementing the reforms, working closely with the Care Inspectorate (CI) and Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS).

The new arrangements are to be in place by 1 April 2016. Councils and NHS boards are required to establish an integration authority (IA) to plan, resource and oversee the delivery of adult health and social care services in their area, providing better outcomes for people by improving joint working and sharing resources.

The aim of the audit is to establish if IAs are making good progress in integrating health and social care services, in line with the provisions and requirements set out by the Scottish Government. Our report will set out what progress councils and NHS boards have made to integrate health and social care services; if they are establishing clear and appropriate governance and financial arrangements; and what challenges and risks are emerging to the development of effective integrated health and social care services.

Implementing the Scotland Act 2012: an update

Due for release: December 2015 for the Auditor General

Summary: From this year, the Scotland Act 2012 introduces new financial powers for the Scottish Parliament that change the environment for public finances in Scotland substantially.

In December 2014, we published a report assessing the Scottish Government's progress in preparing for the introduction of the financial measures in the Scotland Act 2012. We carried out this audit while preparations were ongoing, and assessed progress to early November 2014. This audit will provide an update on progress since then.

We will examine how effectively the Scottish Government and Revenue Scotland have implemented and are managing the financial powers introduced by the Scotland Act 2012. This will include how the Scottish Government is working with HM Revenue and Customs to prepare for the introduction of the Scottish rate of income tax in April 2016. Our report will also provide an update on how the Scottish Government is developing its financial management and reporting in response to these new powers.

Major capital investment in councils: Targeted follow-up

Due for release: January 2016 for the Accounts Commission

Summary: In March 2013, the Accounts Commission reported on major capital investment in councils. The audit focussed on major capital projects over £5 million and assessed how well councils directed, managed and delivered capital investment. The report outlined an improvement in councils' governance structures for investment but it also identified weaknesses in the management of capital projects and investment programmes.

This targeted follow up audit will provide an update on councils' progress against the recommendations in the original report, and highlight what improvements they have made in the management of their capital investment programmes and projects since publication of the 2013 report. This includes actions taken to strengthen monitoring arrangements, use of the checklists and whether councils have applied lessons learned to their latest capital projects.

Changing models of health and social care

Due for release: March 2016 for the Auditor General / Accounts Commission

Summary: NHS boards and councils face increasingly difficult financial challenges at the same time as demand for health and social care services is increasing due to demographic change. This includes, the growing population of elderly and very elderly people; the number of people with long-term health conditions; and people’s rising expectations of care. To tackle these challenges, the Scottish Government set out an ambitious vision in September 2011 for health and social care to enable everyone to live longer, healthier lives at home or in a homely setting by 2020.

There is limited evidence of evaluating whether health and care services can adapt to changes in demand and if there is sufficient capacity to implement the Scottish Government's 2020 Vision for health and social care. We aim to examine these issues, using a series of scenarios and case studies, to examine the implications for social care and NHS resources over the longer term.

This work will provide a better understanding of the pressures NHS boards and councils are facing. It will show how resources could be used to provide different models of care and support in the future to better match needs using modelling, taking into account service users’ views and highlighting good practice. We will attempt to provide an estimate of the scale of change required and the resource implications for NHS boards and councils of implementing the 2020 Vision.

Supporting Scotland's economic growth: The role of the economic development agencies

Due for release: June 2016 for the Auditor General

Summary: Since 2007 the Scottish Government's overall purpose has been to increase sustainable economic growth. Progress towards the government’s purpose is measured through a number of targets and outcomes in its National Performance Framework (NPF). While all public bodies have a role in supporting economic growth, the Scottish Government expects its economic development agencies – Scottish Enterprise (SE) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) – to have a principal role in delivering its economic outcomes.

SE and HIE support economic growth through a range of financial and non-financial support to businesses at an estimated cost of £380 million each year. There is little public awareness of what this money is spent on or what it achieves.

The audit will assess the roles of SE and HIE, including how they work with the Scottish Government to deliver outcomes in the NPF. The audit will not assess economic development activity by other bodies, such as councils (which are responsible for local economic development). It will provide an independent assessment of how well SE and HIE determine their priorities, make investment decisions and monitor impact. It aims to provide assurance that public money is being invested appropriately, ie in line with strategic priorities and where successful outcomes are most likely to be achieved.

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