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The Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2017

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Foreword

As Director General Finance for the Scottish Government during the 2016-17 financial year and now Director General Scottish Exchequer, I am the principal financial adviser to the Permanent Secretary and to Scottish Ministers. In 2016-17 I have been responsible for the overall Scottish Budget including tax, spending and infrastructure investment. I led a team of finance professionals who support financial decisions across the Scottish Government to secure value for Scotland and Ministers from the Scottish Budget.

I am pleased to introduce these accounts, which are an important part of the reporting on the stewardship of the whole Scottish Budget approved by the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Government is committed to maintaining the highest standards of financial reporting, within a wider commitment to Open Government. There are some changes to format in this year’s accounts to improve presentation and make information more accessible. Our financial reporting outputs have also developed alongside the Scottish Government’s increasing fiscal responsibility – linked to these accounts, are the separate accounts of the Devolved Taxes published by Revenue Scotland and of the Scottish Consolidated Fund, available online at revenue.scot and gov.scot respectively.

These accounts present the financial outturn compared to the spending plans of Scottish Ministers for financial year 2016-17 authorised by the Budget (Scotland) Act 2016 and revisions and demonstrate the Scottish Government’s track record of robust financial management. I am delighted that the Auditor General’s opinion on these accounts is once again unqualified.

The accounts are not a ministerial document: it is the Principal Accountable Officer’s responsibility to produce accounts. Decisions on spending priorities are taken by Scottish Ministers in accordance with their objectives and priorities and wider reporting on the performance of the Scottish Government in terms of the objectives set by Scottish Ministers continues to be available at Scotland Performs, a real-time tool which measures and reports on progress of government as a whole in Scotland against the wide range of indicators set out in the National Performance Framework (NPF), available online at www.scotlandperforms.com.

Subsequent to this financial year end, the Permanent Secretary announced a series of changes to the Executive Team, designed to help the Scottish Government respond to the challenges the organisation is facing as we move towards 2020. This included an evolution of the DG Finance role to DG Scottish Exchequer and the creation of a Chief Financial Officer role. As DG Scottish Exchequer, I now lead on fiscal and macro-economic policy and Scotland-wide strategy and aggregate risk assessment and mitigation, reflecting the country's growing fiscal autonomy and responsibilities. The Chief Financial Officer now leads on in-year financial management activities and a range of other financial operations across the Scottish Government.

Alyson Stafford
DG Scottish Exchequer
26 September 2017