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Spending Reviews

SPENDING REVIEWS

Contents:

Scope

Key Points

Background

 

Scope

1. This section provides guidance on the spending review process in which Scottish Ministers undertake a detailed examination of portfolio budgets and set spending plans and targets for the forward three year period.

 

Key Points

2. The spending review process in Scotland is normally undertaken every two or three years, scheduled around the timeframe of UK spending reviews. The precise arrangements for the spending review process vary from one review to the next.

3. The spending review process is managed by Scottish Government officials who scrutinise and challenge expenditure proposals and provide advice to portfolios and Ministers.

4. At the end of the spending review process, each portfolio is set an agreed three year budget, with the strong expectation that this will not be reopened until the next spending review.

 

Background

5. Spending plans are normally set during spending reviews, with the last year of one spending review becoming the first year of the next.  However, due to the UK spending review undertaken in 2010 being delayed until after the UK general election new plans were set for 2011-12 to 2014-15. The Scottish Government published spending plans for 2011-12 in November 2010, but did not carry out a full spending review, covering years 2012-13 to 2014-15, until September 2011.  The date for the next spending review has not yet been set, but is expected to take place in Autumn 2013.

6. The overall size of the Scottish Budget (or Block) is set in the UK spending review and is largely derived by applying the population-based Barnett formula to changes in planned spending on comparable services by UK government departments. Further details are contained in the Statement of Funding Policy. After deduction has been made for the costs of the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body and Audit Scotland the Scottish spending review allocates the Block between the Scottish Government's portfolios.

7. At the end of the spending review process, each portfolio is generally set an agreed three year budget, with the strong expectation that this will not be reopened until the next spending review. The portfolio is expected to manage within this budget, absorbing additional pressures and funding new initiatives from within its agreed spending review settlement.

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Page Published / Updated: June 2012