This revision of the Handbook** sets out the fundamental principles with explanatory good practice notes, relating to the role, membership and work of Audit and Assurance Committees in those organisations to which the Scottish Public Finance Manual is directly applicable. This includes the core Scottish Government and bodies sponsored by the Scottish Government such as Executive Agencies, Non Ministerial Departments, Non Departmental Public Bodies and Other Significant Bodies.
The Handbook emphasises the sources of assurance available to Audit and Assurance Committees in addition to internal and external audit. We encourage all organisations within the Scottish Government family to define their assurance needs, map their various sources of assurance and develop an integrated approach to assurance which will secure best value for the public purse and embed best practice principles within their organisation.
A degree of flexibility, pragmatism and proportionality will be needed in applying the guidance in this Handbook to individual organisations. For example, the use of the term “Board” referred to in chapter 4 should be interpreted in the context of the “On Board” Guidance (March 2017), which defines the differences between Statutory and Management Advisory Boards. Subject to these caveats, any significant non-compliance with the principles in this Handbook should be explained and reported in the annual Governance Statement.