On Board - A guide for Board Members of Public Bodies in Scotland (April 2015)

This Guide provides much of the basic information that a Board Member will need to understand their role as a member of the Board of a public body in Scotland.

Key Messages

  • The Board satisfies itself that the public body has proper processes, systems and controls in place and receives assurances from the Chief Executive that the Scottish Public Finance Manual is being complied with. The Board also seeks assurance that systems are in place to provide accurate and timely information to the Scottish Government as part of the management of the Scottish Budget.
  • The Board receives regular financial reports showing expenditure against planned budgets and progress towards financial targets and efficiency savings.
  • The Board scrutinises financial and corporate plans and provides challenge on performance against these plans and any underlying assumptions.
  • The Board satisfies itself that the public body has systems in place to secure Best Value in the performance of its functions.
  • The Board satisfies itself that systems are in place for risk management and internal control extending from front-line services through to the Board.
  • Where an organisation is responsible for expenditure, an Audit Committee must be established to advise the Board on internal control (including corporate governance) and audit matters.
  • The Board is responsible for approving the annual accounts and ensuring the Minister is provided with the annual report and accounts to be laid before the Scottish Parliament. The Chief Executive as the Accountable Officer of the public body is responsible for signing the accounts and ultimately responsible to the Scottish Parliament for their actions.
  • On completion of the external audit of the annual accounts, the appointed auditor sends a copy of the accounts and the audit opinion to the Auditor General, who may add a report of their own, before the body sends the accounts and reports to the Scottish Ministers for laying before the Parliament.
  • The Public Audit Committee of the Scottish Parliament uses reports of the Auditor General as the basis for conducting enquiries.


Email: Gordon Quinn

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