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.