On Board: a guide for members of management advisory boards

This guidance is for all those appointed by the Chief Executive to be a member of management advisory boards.

Role and Responsibilities of the Accountable Officer

The Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government is the Principal Accountable Officer of the Scottish Administration. The Principal Accountable Officer designates Directors-General ( DGs) as Portfolio Accountable Officers. The Portfolio Accountable Officer has specific responsibilities with regard to a public body with its own Accountable Officer. These responsibilities are set out in a Memorandum sent by the Principal Accountable Officer on appointment of an Accountable Officer.

Where a public body manages its own budget, the Chief Executive will normally be designated as its Accountable Officer, but this is not always the case. If the Accountable Officer is not the Chief Executive, their respective roles will be clearly set out in the Framework Document.

Accountable Officers are personally answerable to the Scottish Parliament for the exercise of their functions, as set out in the Memorandum to Accountable Officers for Other Public Bodies issued to the Chief Executive at the time of formal designation (normally at the same time as they are appointed as Chief Executive).

Role and Responsibilities of the Accountable Officer

The Accountable Officer

  • Signs the annual accounts and associated governance statements;
  • Ensures the propriety and regularity of the public body's finances and that there are sound and effective arrangements for internal control and risk management;
  • Ensures that the resources of the public body are used economically, efficiently and effectively, and that arrangements are in place to secure Best Value for the organisation and deliver Value for Money for the public sector as a whole;
  • Ensures compliance with relevant guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers, in particular the Scottish Public Finance Manual;
  • Represents the public body before the Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee of the Scottish Parliament;
  • May have their Accountable Officer status withdrawn or suspended if the Principal Accountable Officer has serious concerns about their actions and performance.


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