Malcolm Chisholm (Resigned 9 November 2000)
Patricia Ferguson (Convener)
to the Commission:
Secretary to the Commission:
reports to the Parliament as followsó
- The Commission
met on 14 and 28 November 2000 to consider Audit Scotlandís
budget proposals for 2001/02, as it is required to do under
section 11(9) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland)
- On 14
November the Commission took evidence from Mr Robert Black,
Auditor General for Scotland, He was supported by Russell
Frith, Director of Audit Strategy, Audit Scotland and Diane
McGiffen, Director of Corporate Services, Audit Scotland.
- In our
report on Audit Scotlandís 2000/01 budget, we noted that it
was difficult to forecast with precision the expenditure of
a new organisation created from what was effectively a merger
of two existing organisations which was also faced with taking
on new responsibilities. Since its establishment, good progress
has been made in addressing many of the issues which Audit
Scotland has encountered in its first months of operation,
but in other areas it is clear that the organisation is still
in a period of adjustment.
- We consider
that one of these areas is Audit Scotlandís budget. Currently
the Commission is not in a position to conduct as thorough
a review of Audit Scotlandís budget as we would wish. This
is largely the result of the format of the budget documentation
that was submitted to us. The Auditor General has acknowledged
our concerns in this matter and we are confident that the
Commission and Audit Scotland will work together to ensure
that budget submissions, in future, will fully meet out needs.
- In our
earlier report, we raised concerns about Audit Scotlandís
VAT status. We note that negotiations are still on-going with
HM Customs and Excise. We look forward to an expeditious resolution
of this issue.
- We note
that Audit Scotland is currently in the process of establishing
internal procedures in relation to corporate management. The
informed us that the Board of Audit Scotland is actively considering
the appointment of a fifth member to the Board. We consider
that this appointment should take place soon and we can see
the advantage Ė in terms of broadening the experience of the
Board Ė if this person were to come from the private sector.
We would expect to be advised of the appointment process for
- We also
note that the Board is considering establishing an Independent
Review Panel, to fulfil an internal role within the organisation
similar to that of an Audit Committee. We would welcome such
a measure and we think it would be advisable if the majority
of the members came from outwith Audit Scotlandís structure.
Again, we would expect to be advised of the appointment process
for members to this Panel.
- We draw
the Parliamentís attention to the points raised above and
we re-iterate that we will conduct a more comprehensive review
of Audit Scotlandís budget position next year. Nevertheless,
we consider Audit Scotlandís budget proposals are, on the
whole, sound and accordingly recommend that Audit Scotlandís
bid for a net budget of £4.3m should be approved by the Parliament.