PracticePeople In PracticeScots auditor general pledges to provide only ‘relevant’ reports to new parliament

Scots auditor general pledges to provide only 'relevant' reports to new parliament

The Audit Committee of the Scottish Parliament should not be sent all audit reports about public spending north of the border, instead relevant reports should be sent only to relevant committees, Robert Black, the incoming Auditor General for Scotland said today.

Speaking at a conference on the importance of public audit and modern democracy in Edinburgh, Black said there was no point in sending all his future audit reports to the parliament’s audit committee.

Instead he said they should be sent to audit committees with particular interest in the topics.

‘The new Scottish Parliament has modern procedures which provide a unique opportunity to develop the potential of public audit. The power-sharing arrangements between Scottish Ministers and the committees of the new Parliament are unique in the British state.

‘We will build up experience in Scotland which in future may be relevant to the machinery of parliamentary democracy at Westminster.

‘I believe that effective democratic scrutiny of public services by MSPs will enhance the credibility and standing of the Scottish Parliament in the eyes of the Scottish people. It is the role of audit to provide objective, balanced and informed reports to support democratic scrutiny.’

Black also said that if ministers were encouraging public bodies to be innovative this had to be acceptable to audit committees provided there had been a proper and clearly understood risk assessment.

‘The Audit Committee of the Scottish Parliament has performed well in its early months. Members have devoted many meetings to covering topics thoroughly and made additional site visits to understand the issues. However it may be desirable for certain value for money reports by the Auditor General to be sent to subject committees with a particular interest in the topics, rather than all reports going to the Audit Committee, thus strengthening the committee system as a whole.’

Scottish parliament

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