To find out what work we are planning to do over the next five years, see our work programme.
We report in a range of ways on the performance and finances of Scotland’s public bodies, and we use different methods to communicate our work and engage with our stakeholders. These are listed below.
Outputs from the annual audit
We audit over 200 public bodies and we publish various outputs from the annual audit process, including:
- The independent auditor’s report is issued on each set of accounts prepared by the audited body, to comply with statutory requirements and in accordance with International Standards on Auditing. These reports set out auditors’ opinions on the accounts, including whether the financial statements give a true and fair view, and that income and expenditure is lawful
- The annual audit report sets out the conclusions of the audit to the public body concerned, and to the Controller of Audit or the Auditor General. In line with our Code of Audit Practice, these reports also cover: financial management, financial sustainability, governance and transparency, and Best Value and value for money.
These reports assess the overall performance of key parts of the public sector, such as the NHS, local government and colleges.
They draw together key findings from all annual audit work in the relevant sector to summarise key opportunities and challenges. These reports are produced by either the Accounts Commission or the Auditor General.
Performance audit reports
These are national reports that 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. These reports are produced by either the Accounts Commission or the Auditor General, or jointly.
Best Value audit reports
These reports are produced by the Accounts Commission and consider how well councils are meeting the duty of Best Value placed on them under the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003.
This means the continuous improvement of the authority’s functions and how well it is maintaining a balance between the quality of its performance and how much this costs to deliver.
These reports highlight significant issues found during the audit of a public body’s accounts.
In central government and health, Section 22 reports are presented to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee by the Auditor General. In local government Section 102 reports are presented to the Accounts Commission by the Controller of Audit.
These 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. These reports are produced by either the Accounts Commission or the Auditor General.
How councils work
This is a series of publications produced by the Accounts Commission and designed to support improvement in local government.
Housing benefit performance audit reports
These reports help councils to improve their benefit services, and also help to hold councils to account for any poorly performing or failing services. They are produced by the Accounts Commission.
The National Fraud Initiative in Scotland
This is a counter-fraud exercise led by Audit Scotland on behalf of the Accounts Commission, and overseen by the UK Cabinet Office for the UK as a whole.
It uses computerised techniques to compare information about individuals held by different public bodies across the UK, to detect fraud or error. The initiative reports its findings biennially.
Council performance reporting
The Accounts Commission has a statutory power to define what performance information councils must publish.
Other outputs and engagement
We also use a range of methods to communicate our audit work and practices, to engage our stakeholders and ensure our work is accessible and valuable to the people who use and provide public services in Scotland.
Evidence to wide range of parliamentary committees
Written parliamentary submissions
Accounts Commission meetings with councils to discuss report findings
Briefings to boards and audit committees of public bodies
Project scope flyers
Conferences, presentations, roundtable events - UK, international
Online and social media