Our work programme for 2013/14
Managing early severance in the Scottish public sector
Due for release: May 2013 for the Auditor General / Accounts Commission
Summary: This project brief sets out proposals for a report on early severance across the Scottish public sector examining the numbers, costs and value for money of severance schemes. As it covers a wide range of public organisations, the audit will be carried out on behalf of the Accounts Commission and the Auditor General.
The report will provide information on the number and costs of early departures, some examples of current practice in terms of governance and value for money, and a reminder of the principles of good practice.
- Opens in new windowProject brief - Managing early severance in the Scottish public sector (PDF | 101 KB)
The Audit of Best Value and Community Planning - City of Edinburgh Council
Due for release: May 2013 for the Accounts Commission
Summary: Audit Scotland undertakes best value and community planning audits of local government authorities where a risk assessment identifies that either specific or a range of issues warrant further scrutiny work. The assurance and improvement plan (AIP) is developed through a shared risk assessment with partner scrutiny and inspection organisations. The AIP for the City of Edinburgh Council identifies that, in the context of a range of scrutiny risks and uncertainties, a best value audit should take place in 2012/13.
The audit will consider the progress made by the council in taking forward its improvement programme since the last best value audit in 2007. Our audit will also consider how the council, along with its community planning partners, is responding to the challenges and delivering improving outcomes for the people of Edinburgh. The audit will focus on four main areas:
• The council’s vision and strategic direction.
• The effectiveness of elected member scrutiny.
• The impact of the council’s self-assessment activities on service performance.
• The impact of partnership working on service delivery and outcomes.
Developing financial reporting in the devolved Scottish public sector
Due for release: June 2013 for the Auditor General
Summary: Scotland's public sector spends approximately £37 billion each year. It receives the majority of its funding from the UK government, but this is changing. The Scotland Act 2012 introduces greater financial autonomy, including tax raising and borrowing powers, and the continuing debate about Scotland's constitutional future may lead to more changes in future. These changes have implications for the Scottish Government’s financial reporting.
The audit is intended to contribute to the debate on developing financial reporting in the Scottish public sector, commenting on the issues and risks for future budgets arising from the assets and liabilities reported in Scottish public sector bodies' accounts for 2011/12.
- Opens in new windowProject brief - Developing financial reporting in the devolved Scottish public sector (PDF | 62 KB)
Progress of Transport Scotland's key infrastructure projects
Due for release: June 2013 for the Auditor General
Summary: This performance audit will examine whether Transport Scotland is effectively progressing, monitoring and publicly reporting its five key infrastructure investment projects. It will specifically look at whether the five key projects are on track to meet time, cost and scope targets. It will also look at whether fit-for-purpose governance arrangements are in place for each project, whether financial management of these projects is satisfactory, and how well the projects are being publicly reported.
Due for release: July 2013 for the Auditor General / Accounts Commission
People should have access to a safe, warm place to live. Housing is not just important for individuals but for the wider community and to the strength of the economy. The Scottish Government’s housing strategy sets out the role that housing can play in increasing sustainable economic growth and in providing better opportunities for people, improving health and promoting equality. In 2011/12, the Scottish Government’s budget for housing and regeneration was almost £390 million. This is set to reduce by 30 per cent to £273 million in 2014/15.
This audit will, for the first time, provide an overview of the housing sector in Scotland. It will examine how Scotland’s housing sector works and identify how much is spent and what that money delivers. It will assess how well housing is planned at a national and local level to meet Scotland’s housing needs over the long term and it will assess the main challenges and risks for the sector.
- Opens in new windowProject brief - Housing overview (PDF | 154 KB)
- Opens in new windowFlyer - Housing overview (PDF | 179 KB)
Colleges' finances 2011/12
Due for release: August 2013 for the Auditor General
Summary: In October 2012, Audit Scotland published Scotland's Colleges: current finances, future challenges which identified the financial standing of the college sector in 2010/11, immediately before structural reforms of the sector and planned public sector spending reductions took effect.
This follow-up audit will assess the overall financial position of Scotland's colleges in 2011/12, and how much learning activity they delivered. It will also review the college sector’s recent progress in preparation for the planned regionalisation, including the steps colleges are taking to ensure their financial sustainability.
Due for release: September 2013 for the Auditor General
Summary: Renewable energy is generated from a source that renews itself naturally, such as wind, water or the sun. This energy can be used to generate electricity and heat, and can fuel transport. Realising Scotland's renewable energy potential is an important element in the Scottish Government's economic strategy and is a priority in achieving its goal of sustainable economic growth.
The Scottish Government’s economic strategy estimates that offshore wind power alone could attract £30 billion investment to the Scottish economy by 2020 and create 28,000 jobs. The majority of investment in renewable energy comes from the private sector, but there is public money available. Since 2010, the Scottish Government has made at least £300 million available through a variety of funding streams.
Our audit will assess action and investment by the Scottish Government and the wider public sector to develop renewable energy, and evaluate what this has delivered to date. It will assess whether the Scottish Government is providing effective leadership for the development of renewable energy, and examine action to deliver its objectives and targets. It will examine how much the Scottish Government and other public bodies spent up to the end of 2012/13 on developing renewable energy. It will assess what has been delivered, in terms of renewables capacity, employment opportunities and private sector investment, and will evaluate performance against national targets.
Reshaping care for older people
Due for release: September 2013 for the Auditor General / Accounts Commission
Summary: Older people make use of a range of health and care services provided by the NHS, councils and the private and third sectors. Annual expenditure by NHS boards and councils on health and care for older people is estimated at £4.5 billion. Services are under pressure due to reducing public sector budgets and an ageing population. There is widespread agreement that more could be done to support older people in living independently, rather than using institutional care such as hospitals and care homes.
In response to these challenges, the Scottish Government and COSLA launched the Reshaping care for older people programme in 2011, and a supporting change fund worth £300 million over 2011/12 to 2014/15. This audit will assess the progress that public sector organisations have made in reshaping care for older people.
- Opens in new windowReshaping care for older people (PDF | 188 KB)
- Opens in new windowReshaping care for older people - flyer (PDF | 71 KB)
Reshaping Scotland's public sector workforce
Due for release: October 2013 for the Auditor General / Accounts Commission
Summary: In September 2012, the public sector employed around 581,000 staff in Scotland, representing 24 per cent of the total workforce. Staff costs are the largest single element of most public sector bodies' spending.
The need to make savings has led many public bodies to reduce their workforces, outsource services and/or change how they deliver services.
The audit will assess if public bodies are effectively managing changes to their workforces, using cost-effective approaches. We will report on lessons learned and good practice, where it exists.
More specifically we will examine; how the size and structure of the public sector workforce will change between 2009 and 2015, the financial costs and benefits of change, the approaches to changing their workforce taken by public sector bodies and the opportunities and challenges facing those managing the public sector workforce in future years.
NHS financial performance
Due for release: October 2013 for the Auditor General
Summary: The NHS is one of Scotland’s largest employers and spends around a third of the Scottish budget. Increasing costs and a growing demand for services, combined with a real terms decrease in the health budget in Scotland, mean the NHS is facing increasing pressure to deliver more for less.
Our review will assess the financial performance of the NHS based on information from the accounts and audit reports of NHS bodies in the previous financial year. We will also look ahead to examine how the NHS in Scotland is equipped to deal with future financial challenges.
Due for release: 2013/14 for the Auditor General
Summary: This audit will determine whether the modern apprenticeship programme provides value for money, and if:
• there is clarity around the administration of the modern apprenticeship programme, including the cost, activity and roles of the organisations involved
• modern apprenticeships clearly achieve their intended aims and objectives and the targets set for them
• the modern apprenticeship programme is well managed and there is scope to make efficiencies.