Scrutiny improvement

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Scrutiny coordination

Audit Scotland works with other scrutiny bodies to make sure the scrutiny of public sector bodies is better targeted and more proportionate in relation to identified risks.The main focus of our development work is on local government, on behalf of the Accounts Commission.

Scrutiny coordination in local government is led by the Strategic Scrutiny Group (SSG). The SSG comprises Scotland's main public sector scrutiny bodies and aims to deliver efficient and effective, well-coordinated scrutiny that supports improvement. It is convened and chaired by the Accounts Commission and is supported by the Operational Scrutiny Group (OSG). The purpose of the OSG is to develop and support the delivery of:

The main scrutiny bodies involved in local government scrutiny are:

National scrutiny plan

The national scrutiny plan summarises all planned and announced strategic scrutiny activity in each of Scotland's 32 councils and is updated every six months to ensure it is up-to-date and comprehensive.

September 2019

Scrutiny programme 2019/20

Click on the council name to see a summary of scrutiny activity announced for it in 2019/20 underneath:

Aberdeen City Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Inspection of justice social work services Care Inspectorate and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland January to March 2020
Career information, advice and guidance services Education Scotland September to December 2019
Engagement on Gypsy Traveller minimum site standards Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Aberdeenshire Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Best Value Assurance Report Audit Scotland February to April 2020
Report to Accounts Commission: October 2020
Career information, advice and guidance services (follow-up) Education Scotland February 2020
Engagement on: service quality; services for people who are homeless; Gypsy Traveller minimum site standards Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Angus Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Engagement on services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Argyll and Bute Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Best Value Assurance Report Audit Scotland Beginning October 2019
Report to Accounts Commission: April 2020
Inspection of community learning and development services (further inspection) Education Scotland Before end of March 2020 (TBC)
Engagement on services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Clackmannanshire Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Engagement on services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Dumfries and Galloway Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Inspection of justice social work services Care Inspectorate and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland October to December 2019
Career information, advice and guidance services Education Scotland October 2019
Engagement on: services for people who are homeless; Gypsy Traveller minimum site standards Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Local area inspection of fire services HM Fire Services Inspectorate July to September 2019
Dundee City Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Best Value Assurance Report Audit Scotland February to April 2020
Report to Accounts Commission: September 2020
Fieldwork for Improving outcomes for young people through school education Audit Scotland September 2019
Engagement on: services for people who are homeless; gas safety Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
East Ayrshire Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
No planned scrutiny
East Dunbartonshire Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Career information, advice and guidance services Education Scotland September to December 2019
Engagement on services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
East Lothian Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Supported and validated self-evaluation – community justice partnerships Care Inspectorate January to March 2020
Engagement on: services for people who are homeless; Gypsy Traveller minimum site standards Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
East Renfrewshire Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Engagement on services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
City of Edinburgh Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Best Value Assurance Report Audit Scotland February to April 2020
Report to Accounts Commission: August 2020
Career information, advice and guidance services (follow-up) Education Scotland September 2019
Engagement on services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Local area inspection of fire services HM Fire Services Inspectorate 2019/20
Eilean Siar - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Career information, advice and guidance services Education Scotland September to December 2019
Inspection of community learning and development services (further inspection) Education Scotland Before end of March 2020 (TBC)
Engagement on services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Falkirk Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Best Value Assurance Report Audit Scotland April to June 2020
Report to Accounts Commission: November 2020
Career information, advice and guidance services Education Scotland September to December 2019
Engagement on services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Fife Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Fieldwork for Improving outcomes for young people through school education Audit Scotland September 2019
Engagement on services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Glasgow City Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Inspection of community learning and development services (further inspection) Education Scotland Before end of March 2020 (TBC)
Engagement on services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Highlands Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Best Value Assurance Report Audit Scotland Fieldwork complete
Report to Accounts Commission: October 2019
Inspection of community learning and development services (further inspection) Education Scotland Before end of March 2020 (TBC)
Engagement on: services for people who are homeless; Gypsy Traveller minimum site standards Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Inverclyde Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Inspection of justice social work services Care Inspectorate and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland Fieldwork completing in September 2019
Career information, advice and guidance services (follow-up) Education Scotland October 2019
Engagement on: services for people who are homeless; planned stock transfer Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Midlothian Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Joint inspection of services for children and young people in need of care and protection Care Inspectorate, Education Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland January to March 2020
Engagement on: service quality; services for people who are homeless; Gypsy Traveller minimum site standards Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Moray Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Best Value Assurance Report Audit Scotland Beginning November 2019
Report to Accounts Commission: May 2020
Inspection of community learning and development services (further inspection) Education Scotland Before end of March 2020 (TBC)
North Ayrshire Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Best Value Assurance Report Audit Scotland January to April 2020
Report to Accounts Commission: June 2020
Career information, advice and guidance services Education Scotland January to March 2020
Engagement on services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
North Lanarkshire Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Engagement on services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Orkney Islands Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Joint inspection of services for children and young people in need of care and protection Care Inspectorate, Education Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland Fieldwork completing in September 2019
Engagement on service quality Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Perth and Kinross Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
No planned scrutiny
Renfrewshire Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Fieldwork for Improving outcomes for young people through school education Audit Scotland September 2019
Scottish Borders Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Best Value Assurance Report Audit Scotland Fieldwork complete
Report to Accounts Commission: October 2019
Services for older people (progress review) Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland October to December 2019
Engagement on Gypsy Traveller minimum site standards Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
Shetland Islands Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Fieldwork for Improving outcomes for young people through school education Audit Scotland September 2019
Supported and validated self-evaluation – community justice partnerships Care Inspectorate October to December 2019
Engagement on: service quality; services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
South Ayrshire Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
No planned scrutiny
South Lanarkshire Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Joint inspection of services for children and young people in need of care and protection Care Inspectorate, Education Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland October to December 2019
Stirling Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Career information, advice and guidance services (follow-up) Education Scotland February 2020
Engagement on: service quality; services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
West Dunbartonshire Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Engagement on: services for people who are homeless; Gypsy Traveller minimum site standards Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20
West Lothian Council - Scrutiny programme 2019/20
Scrutiny activity Scrutiny body/bodies Fieldwork/ engagement dates
Joint inspection of strategic planning Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland January to March 2020
Engagement on services for people who are homeless Scottish Housing Regulator 2019/20

Sharing intelligence

Shared Risk Assessment (SRA)

Scrutiny bodies share intelligence and agree scrutiny risks in each of Scotland's 32 councils using the shared risk assessment process (SRA). The process is designed to identify where we think scrutiny will make the most difference in terms of helping councils to improve and providing assurance to the public. It also provides a focus for more coordinated engagement between councils and scrutiny bodies.

Local government scrutiny bodies work together through local area networks (LANs) to share local intelligence and to carry out the SRA process. There are 32 LANs, one for each council area. The LAN is led by the council’s appointed auditor.

The Sharing Intelligence for Health and Social Care Group

Data about health and social care services is shared and considered by the Sharing Intelligence for Health and Social Care Group. Audit Scotland works with the Care Inspectorate, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland and NHS Scotland on this group which aims to:

  • provide a forum to identify potential or actual risks to the quality of health and social care and, where necessary, initiate further action in response to these risks, and
  • promote coordination of activity between these partner organisations, respecting the statutory responsibilities of each.

The group's latest report for 2018-19 was published in August 2019:

Scrutiny collaboration

A wide range of our work is carried out collaboratively, for example joint inspections of services for children and adults and inspections of the Scottish Attainment Challenge authorities. The SSG is committed to this approach and plans to explore broader opportunities for scrutiny collaboration around important issues facing councils and the public, where all scrutiny bodies have an interest.

In 2019 the SSG published Principles for community empowerment based on work with councils and other partners to understand this developing area and how they could incorporate it in scrutiny programmes.

The SSG plans further collaborative work where this can add most value. As this develops, further details will be available here.