Counting Officer accounts during the Scottish Independence Referendum: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/00186
Date received: 22 January 2018
Date responded: 30 January 2018

Information requested

I assume in the Independence Referendum that some of the Counting Officer claims were audited. Was there a protocol for that audit? Was it just a check that all the claims were plausibly supported or did the audit of a claim involve looking at the accounts used for election spending? Specifically, where a CO claimed an expense against a VAT invoice made out to a council inclusive of VAT, would there be a check to make sure the input VAT on the invoice had not been recovered by the local authority as a statutory non-business expense?


The audit arrangements for COs' accounts at the Scottish Independence Referendum were set out in section 4 of the Counting Officer Expenses Guidance which can be found at:

Count Officer Expenses Guidance

Claims submitted to the Scottish Government were checked and supporting documentation requested where necessary. The Scottish Government's checks did not extend to making enquiries about the local authorities' accounting arrangements. Since most, if not all, Counting Officers make use of their local authorities accounting system for managing payments etc., their transactions will be subject to the local authorities own internal and external audit arrangements.

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Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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