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The Scottish Executive: Progress on National Audit Office Reports on Scottish Matters

The Scottish Executive and other Scottish public bodies have responded positively to a range of recommendations arising from value for money work on Scottish matters in the last two years, Sir John Bourn head of the National Audit Office reported to the Scottish Parliament today.

Sir John’s report brings together the results of seven previously published reports by the National Audit Office covering the Skye Bridge, Scottish New Towns, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Cataract Surgery, Glasgow Caledonian University, Further Education and the NHS Estate. It records the progress being made in Scotland in response to those reports and highlights the action being taken on:

  • The Skye Bridge: Since this early private finance project the Scottish Executive have acted positively to implement improvements in procuring services in partnership with the private sector.
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise: Have developed their performance measurement framework and introduced new measures of achievement which should ensure a model system for performance measurement and the continuing production of relevant and reliable reports on their achievements.
  • Cataract Surgery: Against a target of 80 per cent of cataract operations to be undertaken by day surgery, the proportion has increased to 65 per cent by June 1999. This meant benefits to patients and savings in excess of £1 million to the NHS in Scotland.
  • The NHS Estate: Guidance is now in place to assist NHS bodies to improve information on Estate utilisation, on condition surveys and on ensuring that health and safety standards are met.
  • Scottish New Towns: New guidance on the disposal of assets which should contribute to the effective conduct of sales across the Government Estate in Scotland.
  • Glasgow Caledonian University: Completed a thorough investigation not only of the original allegations of misconduct but also of separate concerns relating to academic matters, leading to significant progress in reform within the institution.
  • The Scottish Further Education Sector: Colleges have responded positively to improve corporate governance and financial management and the new Scottish Further Education Funding Council were now undertaking a management review across the sector.

Sir John concluded that, for each of the seven National Audit Office reports published in the last two years the responsible bodies have indicated encouraging and positive responses to the recommendations made. These responses have resulted in beneficial changes to systems and procedures and in some cases it will be important to follow-up this action taken by responsible bodies in a way which will enable the Scottish Parliament to review the changes in performance.

Notes for Editors

Future auditing arrangements in Scotland will be changing following the Scotland Act 1998. The Act provides for the appointment of an Auditor General for Scotland who will become responsible for financial and value for money audits across much of the public sector in Scotland, and reporting the results to the Scottish Parliament. This report has been prepared and presented to the Scottish Parliament under arrangements for the transitional financial year for the Scottish Parliament ending 31 March 2000.

 

Press notices and reports are available from the date of publication on the NAO website at https://www.nao.org.uk/ Hard copies can be obtained from The Stationery Office on 0845 702 3474.

 

The Comptroller and Auditor General, Sir John Bourn, is the head of the National Audit Office employing some 750 staff. He and the NAO are totally independent of Government. He certifies the accounts of all Government departments and a wide range of other public sector bodies; and he has statutory authority to report to Parliament on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which departments and other bodies have used their resources.

 

PN: 75/99