Magazine article Public Finance

Audit Scotland Defends Its Spending Record

Magazine article Public Finance

Audit Scotland Defends Its Spending Record

Article excerpt

Scotland's public sector watchdog has defended itself against claims by members of the Scottish Parliament that it might not be achieving best value following rising costs in its budget.

Auditor general Bob Black was recently grilled by members of the Parliament's finance committee on his own accountability and on Audit Scotland's budget.

Figures show that staff numbers increased from 195 in 2000/01 to 279 in 2005/06 while the organisation's budget has risen from £15.5m to more than £24m over the same period.

Black was clearly surprised at the tone of questioning by the MSPs on the finance committee.

After the hearing, held in connection with the committees inquiry into governance and regulation, committee convener Des McNulty said he did not think the auditor general was able to demonstrate that he was providing value for money. 'How does Audit Scotland answer the questions which it is quite properly asking of other organisations?' he said.

Audit Scotland's director of corporate services, Diane McGiffen, has now written to the committee in an attempt to demonstrate the organisation's commitment to achieving value for money in the use of resources.

She stresses that Audit Scotland is held to account in a 'detailed and rigorous' fashion through statutory arrangements put in place by the Scotland Act and by Parliament through the Public Finance and Accountability Act The Scottish Commission for Public Audit, she states, is central to these arrangements and plays a robust and effective role. …

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