Our work programme

Our work programme

This programme sets out work that Audit Scotland will carry out from 2019/20 to 2023/24 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 2019/20 to 2023/24

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 will publish in 2019/20

Scotland’s colleges 2019Published June 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General

Scotland's colleges

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 report on colleges

Further information:

Senior Manager: Mark MacPherson


NHS in Scotland 2019To be published Quarter 3 2019/20 (October to December) on behalf of the Auditor General

NHS in Scotland

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?

Read more about our report on the NHS in Scotland

Further information:

Senior Manager: Leigh Johnston


Local government in Scotland: Financial overview To be published Quarter 3 2019/20 (October to December) on behalf of the Accounts Commission

Local government financial overview

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.

Read more about our financial overview report

Further information:

Senior Manager: Carol Calder


Local government in Scotland: Challenges and performanceTo be published Quarter 4 2019/20 (January to March) 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 audit 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 will undertake in 2019/20

Social securityPublished May 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General

Social security

The Scotland Act 2016 devolves 11 UK social security benefits to the Scottish Parliament, along with powers to top-up other existing benefits and to introduce new ones. With spending estimated to be around £3.3 billion every year once fully implemented, this represents about 15 per cent of overall current social security spending in Scotland.

This audit will examine how effectively the Scottish Government is managing delivery of the devolved social security powers. We have published four audits to date on implementing the range of financial powers and responsibilities of the 2012 and 2016 Scotland Acts. Given the scale, complexity and financial impact of the social security powers, this audit will focus solely on these powers.

Read more about our social security report

Further information:

Senior Manager: Gemma Diamond


Scottish Public Pensions Agency follow-upPublished June 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General

Enabling digital government

In October 2018 the Auditor General submitted a Section 22 report to draw Parliament’s attention to problems with SPPA implementing a major new IT system and the financial implications of the delays.  At the time of reporting SPPA was in discussions with the contractor to establish if either party bore any responsibility and potential financial penalty as a result of the unsuccessful project implementation.  Given this, the Auditor General did not comment on the arrangements for the implementation of the PS Pensions project.  The Auditor General intends to prepare a further update report on this topic in 2019.

Read more about our follow-up report

Further information:

Senior Manager: Tom Reid


Enabling digital governmentPublished June 2019 on behalf of the Auditor General

Enabling digital government

This is the first in a series of audits looking at the progress the Scottish Government is making in enabling and building a digital government. 

The audit will provide an update on our previous reports, assessing the Scottish Government’s progress in delivering against its digital ambitions across central government. This will include examining progress against its digital strategy, the impact of new assurance arrangements, and where possible, a comparison of the Scottish Government’s approach and progress with other countries. It will provide a judgement on the strategic arrangements which will help inform future audit work on individual projects or aspects of digital government.

Read more about our audit on enabling digital government

Further information:

Senior Manager: Gemma Diamond


Revenue financing of assets: the Non-profit distributing (NPD) and Hub modelsTo be published Quarter 2 2019/20 (July to September) on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Revenue financing of assets

The audit will assess whether the NPD and Hub models provide value for money, and how effectively they are contributing to the delivery of infrastructure investment across Scotland. The audit will seek to answer four key questions:

  • Do the NPD/HubCo revenue models provide advantages compared to other ways of financing infrastructure (including previous methods such as PFI)?
  • How much use has been made of the NPD/HubCo models in Scotland and what are the long-term public sector financial commitments relating to all revenue financed infrastructure projects?
  • How well has the Scottish Government, Scottish Futures Trust and HubCos worked together to deliver value for money?
  • To what extent have individual projects been managed well and can they demonstrate they are value for money?

Read more about our report on revenue financing of assets

Further information:

Senior Manager: Graeme Greenhill


NHS workforce planning 2: primary care clinical workforceTo be published Quarter 2 2019/20 (July to September) on behalf of the Auditor General

NHS workforce planning

While a number of stakeholders are involved in workforce planning for the NHS, this audit will look primarily at the national approach to workforce planning. It will consider how effectively the Scottish Government is planning and developing the primary care clinical workforce to meet the current and future needs of the Scottish population.

The audit will focus on GPs and wider multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs), as they are central to shifting the balance of care to community settings. It will not cover the wider social care workforce. It will look at current and future pressures facing the NHS workforce, as well as progress in implementing new ways of working.

Read more about our NHS workforce audit

Further information:

Senior Manager: Mark Ferris


Finances of Scottish universitiesTo be published Quarter 2 2019/20 (July to September) on behalf of the Auditor General

Finances of Scottish universities

Scottish Higher Education Institutions make an important contribution to the economy and wider society. Our 2016 report highlighted a number of financial and funding challenges for the sector.

This audit will look at how the financial position of the sector has changed, three years on. It will include an assessment of the effectiveness of Scottish Government funding to the sector, and how well the Scottish Funding Council and the Scottish Government are working with Higher Education Institutions to plan for the future, in line with key national outcome priorities.

Read more about our report on finances of Scottish universities

Further information:

Senior Manager: Mark MacPherson


Scotland's City Region and Growth DealsTo be published Quarter 3 2019/20 (October to December) on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Scotland's City Region and Growth Deals

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 performance audit is proposed for 2021/22 by which time projects associated with each City Deal should be underway.

Read more about our report on City Region and Growth Deals

Further information:

Senior Manager: Graeme Greenhill


Early learning and childcare: follow upTo be published Quarter 4 2019/20 (January to March 2020) on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Early learning and childcare: follow up audit

This is a follow-up of our 2018 report, and will provide an update on planning for the expansion in funded early learning and childcare to implement the Scottish Government’s goal of delivering 1,140 funded hours by August 2020. The audit will consider several significant risks identified in the 2018 report through interim audit and impact reporting work in 2019/20. It will be followed by a further audit in 2021/22 to assess how effectively the 2020 expansion has been implemented taking place in 2019/20.

Read more about our early learning and childcare follow-up audit

Further information:

Senior Manager: Tricia Meldrum


EU withdrawalTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Provision has been made within the work programme for focused performance audit work on EU withdrawal. The scope, scale and timing of any performance audit work will be dependent on developments within this fast-moving area. Any performance audit work undertaken is likely to be joint work on behalf of the Auditor General and Accounts Commission. The implications of EU withdrawal and potential audit response will continue to be monitored by Audit Scotland’s EU withdrawal team.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Mark Roberts

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.

Best Value audits

Read more about the Best Value reports we will publish in 2019/20

Seven Best Value Assurance Reports:

Clackmannanshire Council: follow-up - Published 27 June 2019

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 we will publish in 2019/20

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 will publish in 2019/20

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 will publish in 2020/21

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.


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?


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: Challenges and performanceTo 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 audit 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 will undertake in 2020/21

Affordable housingTo be published Quarter 1 2020/21 (April to June) on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Affordable housing

The Scottish Government's vision is to provide an affordable home for all by 2020, with four key targets for housing (covering homelessness, fuel poverty, energy efficiency and the quality of social housing). The government has also set targets for new homes for the current and previous parliamentary terms. Councils have a long-standing legal duty to assess and respond to housing need for their area. Council plans also need to consider people in the private sector in terms of housing need. 

Our 2013 report identified that a focus on numbers alone creates a risk that homes could be built where it is easy and most cost-effective, not where they are most needed. Since 2013 there have been changes to funding, for example the Scottish Government launched the Housing Infrastructure Fund in 2016 to help councils with the costs of supporting infrastructure such as roads and drainage

The audit will consider what progress has been made against the national new build target, and how has this supported the policy objectives of reducing homelessness and increasing access to affordable housing for those most in need. It will consider local planning arrangements, variability between council areas, barriers to building enough homes in Scotland, and how the Scottish Government and councils are working together to address these barriers.

Read more about our affordable housing audit

Further information:

Senior Manager: Carol Calder


Educational outcomesTo be published Quarter 1 2020/21 (April to June) on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Educational outomces

This audit will follow up on the Accounts Commission’s 2014 report. Since then the Scottish Government has identified improving educational outcomes and closing the poverty-related attainment gap as its top priority. It has committed an additional £750 million to improve outcomes over the lifetime of this Parliament. Since 2014 there has also been significant change within the education sector, including development of the Scottish Attainment Challenge and Pupil Equity Funding. 

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 the 2014 report.

Read more about our audit on educational outcomes

Further information:

Senior Manager: Tricia Meldrum


Social securityTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

This is the next in the series of performance audits of Scotland's new social security powers.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Gemma Diamond


Digital progress in local governmentTo be published Quarter 2 2020/21 (July to September) 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 to be published Quarter 2 2020/21 (July to September) 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 due to 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: Graeme Greenhill


Social care sustainabilityTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

There are major risks around social care financing, governance and accountability. While we have reported on these in a number of previous reports we believe there to be a strong case for carrying out performance audit work looking at the risks in this area. With increasing pressure on council and health budgets, and complicated arrangements in health and social care, the audit work would likely explore:

  • how social care services are provided across Scotland at a high-level
  • how much is being spent, how this has changed and future spending plans
  • what the main pressures and risks are, particularly in relation to financing and cost pressures
  • the level of medium to long-term planning for the provision of social care
  • outcomes for local populations

Further information:

Senior Manager: To be confirmed


Commonwealth Games legacyTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

This will be the fourth report on the 2014 Commonwealth Games and would focus on the delivery of the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council legacy plans, six years after the games. The legacy was a key component of committing £425 million of public funds. Both the government and council developed an evaluation framework and intended to monitor progress regularly up to 2019. Producing an audit output in 2020/21 allows us to consider these evaluations and complete our reporting on the games.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Michael Oliphant


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

This audit will build on the work undertaken as part of the Educational outcomes audit. Data shows a significant gap in attainment and ‘positive destinations’ between children with additional support needs and all children. This comes at a time where the number of children with additional needs is increasing but specialist support staff in schools decreasing. There is a risk that the current focus on addressing the poverty-related attainment gap sees the needs of children with additional support needs missed. The audit will look across services and across the learner journey from early learning and childcare through to college / higher education / skills / employment.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Tricia Meldrum


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

Having the right skills available within the working age population, and equity of opportunity for learners are central to the Scottish Government’s priority of economic growth. This audit will look at how effectively the Scottish Government works with relevant stakeholders (including the Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland) to identify and develop the skills needed for the economy and wider society. The audit will assess the effectiveness of skills planning, and what progress has been made with changes proposed through the Enterprise and Skills Review.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Mark MacPherson


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

This audit will review councils’ progress in reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill in the context of tighter targets and the Scottish Government’s overall climate change objectives. It will compare performance and seek to identify good practice. The timing of audit work at this time corresponds with EU targets for 2020, and action to meet Scottish Government’s 2025 targets.

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.

Best Value audits

Read more about the Best Value reports we will publish in 2020/21

Seven 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 25 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 reports we will publish in 2020/21

Topic of How councils work to be agreed by the Accounts Commission during 2019/20 for publication in 2020/21.

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 in 2020/21

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 will publish in 2021/22

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: Challenges and performanceTo 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 audit 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 will undertake in 2021/22

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

Fair access to higher educationTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Social securityTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

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

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

Digital services: learning or justiceTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission (to be confirmed)

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

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

Workforce planning post-EU withdrawalTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Local government servicesTo be published on behalf of 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.

Best Value audits

Read more about the Best Value reports we will publish in 2021/22

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 we will publish in 2021/22

Future approach to How councils work to be agreed by the Accounts Commission.

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 will publish in 2021/22

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

Enabling digital government

Finances of Scottish universities

NHS workforce 2: primary care clinical workforce

Skills planning and investment

City Deals

EU withdrawal

Revenue financing of assets: the Non-profit distributing (NPD) and Hub models

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 will publish in 2022/23

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: Challenges and performanceTo 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 audit 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 will undertake in 2022/23

Digital in healthTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Social securityTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Strategic capital investment To be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Supporting economic growth: Enterprise and Skills ReviewTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Housing for an older populationTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Mental healthTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

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

Replacing Structural FundsTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission

Local government servicesTo be published on behalf of 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.

Best Value audits

Read more about the Best Value reports we will publish in 2022/23

End of five-year audit appointment cycle.

To be confirmed following 2021/22 shared risk assessment process.

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 we will publish in 2022/23

Future approach to How councils work to be agreed by the Accounts Commission.

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 will publish in 2022/23

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

Commonwealth Games legacy

Educational Outcomes

Housing

Outcomes for children with additional support needs

Social care sustainability

Waste management

Digital progress in local government

Supporting economic growth: the role of local authorities

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 will publish in 2023/24

NHS in Scotland 2023To 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?

Further information:

Senior Manager: Leigh Johnston


Scotland’s colleges 2023To 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.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Mark MacPherson


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.

Further information:

Senior Manager: Carol Calder


Local government in Scotland: Challenges and performanceTo 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

Further information:

Senior Manager: Carol Calder

Performance audits

Performance audit 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 will undertake in 2023/24

Climate change planTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Digital: progress against digital strategyTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Public energy companyTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Scottish investment bankTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Social securityTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

Support to rail servicesTo be published on behalf of the Auditor General

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

Local government servicesTo be published on behalf of 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.

Best Value audits

Read more about the Best Value reports we will publish in 2023/24

New appointment cycle. The approach to Best Value audit in councils is to be agreed.

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 we will publish in 2023/24

Future approach to How councils work to be agreed by the Accounts Commission.

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 will publish in 2023/24

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

Development of Scotland's new agriculture and fishing policy

Fair access to higher education

City Deals 2

Community justice

Digital services: learning or justice

Early learning and childcare series

Improving outcomes for looked after children and young people

Workforce planning post-EU withdrawal

Accounts Commission performance audit