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The Scottish Commission for Public Audit

1st Report 2003

Report on the Functions of the Commission

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SP Paper 831

Session 1(2003)

 

Presented to the Scottish Parliament and published in pursuance of section 12 (4) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000.

Tuesday 25th March 2003

Scottish Commission for Public Audit

Current Membership:

Miss Annabel Goldie (Convener)

(Appointed 1 Feb 2000) (Convener from 12 March 2002)

Margaret Jamieson

(Appointed 7 Sept 2001)

Mr Tom McCabe

(Appointed 7 March 2002)

Mr Keith Raffan

(Appointed 1 Feb 2000)

Mr Andrew Welsh

(Ex-Officio from 1 Feb 2000)

Past Members of the Commission:

Patricia Ferguson

(Convener) (1 Feb 2000 - 28 Nov 2001)

Malcolm Chisholm

(1 Feb 2000 - 9 Nov 2000)

Secretary to the Commission:

Terry Shevlin

(12 Aug 2002 to Present)

Assistant Secretary to the Commission:

Seán Wixted

(14 June 2000 to Present)

Audit Advisor to the Commission:

Dave Ferguson

(1 Feb 2000 to Present)

Past Secretaries to the Commission:

Sarah Davidson

(1 Feb 2000 - 13 June 2000)

Callum Thomson

(14 June 2000 - 14 Sept 2001)

Anne Peat

(17 Sept 2001 - 11 Aug 2002)

The Commission reports to the Parliament as follows-

Introduction

1. The Scottish Commission for Public Audit ("the Commission") was established on 1st February 2000 in accordance with section 12 of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 ("the PFA Act"). The establishment of the Commission followed a recommendation made in the 1998 report of the Financial Issues Advisory Group1 to the then Secretary of State for Scotland, as part of its consideration of the necessary framework of public finance, auditing and scrutiny structures for the Scottish Parliament.

2. The purpose of this report is to give a brief outline of the work of the Commission over the last three years. Section 12(4) of the PFA Act states that "the Commission is from time to time to report to the Parliament on the exercise of its functions". As the end of the 1st session of the Scottish Parliament approaches, the Commission feels that this is an appropriate time to make such a report.

Membership and Remit

3. The Commission comprises five members of the Scottish Parliament. One of these members, the Convener of the Audit Committee, is an ex-officio member of the Commission by virtue of section 12(2)(a) of the PFA Act. The other members are appointed by the Parliament in accordance with Standing Orders Rule 3.13. The initial members of the Commission appointed on 1st

February 2000 were Patricia Ferguson; Malcolm Chisholm; Miss Annabel Goldie; Mr Keith Raffan and Mr Andrew Welsh (ex-officio as Convener of the

Audit Committee). In September 2001, Margaret Jamieson was appointed to replace Malcolm Chisholm following his appointment to the Scottish Executive. In March 2002, Mr Tom McCabe was appointed to replace Patricia Ferguson following her appointment to the Scottish Executive. Patricia Ferguson was Convener of the Commission from February 2000 to March 2002. Annabel Goldie has been Convener of the Commission since March 2002.

4. The PFA Act establishes the responsibilities of the Commission. Its main roles, as set out by the Act, are:

· to examine Audit Scotland's annual proposals for its use of resources and expenditure, and report on them to the Parliament (section 11(9));

· to designate the Accountable Officer for Audit Scotland (section 18(1));

· to appoint a qualified person to audit the accounts of Audit Scotland (section 25(1));

· to initiate, if the Commission considers it necessary, an examination into the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of Audit Scotland's use of resources (section 25(4));

· to lay before the Parliament and publish the accounts of Audit Scotland and any such report on an examination of the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of Audit Scotland's use of resources (section 25(6));

· where the office of Auditor General is vacant, to appoint a person to discharge the functions of the Auditor General until the appointment of a new Auditor General, or until the expiry of a period of 12 months beginning with the date of which the vacancy arose, whichever is the earlier (section 13(9)).

Meetings and Reports

5. As set out in the procedures of the Commission, all of its meetings are held in private. Since its establishment in February 2000, the Commission has met on 15 occasions. All of these meetings have taken place in Edinburgh.

6. In accordance with section 11(9) of the PFA Act, the Commission has reported to the Parliament annually on Audit Scotland's proposed expenditure plans. Since February 2000, the Commission has made four such reports to the Parliament:

Scottish Commission for Public Audit 1st Report 2000: Audit Scotland Budget 2000-2001 (SP Paper 115)

Scottish Commission for Public Audit 2nd Report 2000: Audit Scotland Budget 2001-2002 (SP Paper 228)

Scottish Commission for Public Audit 1st Report 2001: Audit Scotland Budget 2002-2003 (SP Paper 461)

Scottish Commission for Public Audit: 1st Report 2002: Audit Scotland Budget 2003-2004 (SP Paper 704).

7. In accordance with section 18(1) of the PFA Act, the Commission designated the Auditor General for Scotland as the Accountable Officer for Audit Scotland from 1st April 2000. In accordance with section 25(1) of the PFA Act, the Commission appointed Mazars Ltd as the auditor to Audit Scotland from 3rd January 2001.

8. To date the Commission has discharged all of its functions (as stated in paragarph 4) with the exception of two. The Commission has not initiated an examination into the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of Audit Scotland's use of resources as provided by section 25(4) of the PFA Act. The Commission has also not been required to appoint a person to discharge the functions of the Auditor General as provided by section 13(9) of the PFA Act, as no vacancy in the office of the Auditor General has arisen.


Footnote

1 The Financial Issues Advisory Group, FIAG, was established by the Secretary of State for Scotland in February 1998 to examine and report on the required public finance and audit structures to be established in Scotland following the introduction of devolution. It reported in December 1998 as part of the overall Consultative Steering Group report on the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.

 

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