Social Security Scotland: framework document

Sets out the detailed accountability and governance framework for Social Security Scotland, and the context for the Agency's relationship with Scottish Ministers and core Scottish Government Directorates.

Accountable Officer Arrangements

30. The 'Memorandum to Accountable Officers for parts of the Scottish Administration' [7] sets out the roles and responsibilities of Portfolio Accountable Officers and Agency Accountable Officers in detail.

31. The Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government is the Principal Accountable Officer for the Scottish Administration. He/she has designated the Director General Organisational Development and Operations as Accountable Officer for the Social Security and Polder People portfolio and the Agency Chief Executive as the Agency's Accountable Officer.

32. The Chief Executive signs the accounts for the Agency, which cover the Agency's benefit payments and operating costs. The Chief Executive also provides such information and assurances as is necessary to enable the consolidated accounts of the Scottish Government to be signed off.

33. The Chief Executive is responsible for the prudent management of the Agency's resources, for the propriety and regularity of its expenditure and receipts, and for ensuring that the Agency observes relevant guidance issued by Scottish Ministers.

34. The Chief Executive and DG Organisational Development and Operations in their Accountable Officer roles may be summoned to appear before the Social Security Committee and the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee of the Scottish Parliament on the discharge of their responsibilities. Where a Committee's interest is confined to the day to day operations of the Agency, Scottish Ministers will normally regard the Chief Executive, who will call on such specialist or technical support as he/she may require, as the person best placed to appear on their behalf.

35. The Agency Chief Executive is accountable to the Scottish Parliament for ensuring that the Scottish social security system is administered properly, so that the correct amount of money is paid to the correct people at the correct time, in line with the policies set out by Scottish Ministers. Ministers are ultimately responsible both for policy and the operational administration of the Agency, as set out in the Scottish Public Finance Manual ( SPFM).

36. The Chief Executive will be responsible for ensuring that adequate systems of internal control are maintained by Social Security Scotland, including appropriate counter-fraud measures designed to prevent, deter, detect, investigate and take enforcement action against internal and external fraud. The Chief Executive shall ensure such controls are set out clearly in a fraud policy statement, in line with the counter-fraud principles set out in the SPFM.

37. DG Organisational Development and Operations is accountable to the Scottish Parliament for strategic oversight and policy development activity in relation to social security policy, as the Accountable Officer for the area of government which will spend resources on these areas. The Agency will have an interest and contribution to make on strategic policy, and there is an expectation that relevant officials will be consulted. The Agency will be responsible for operational policy decisions. Where these operational decisions are sufficiently high profile, the expectation is that relevant Scottish Government officials be involved in developing the approach to these decisions.

38. The Chief Executive will be responsible for leading discussions with SG Finance on funding allocations for the Agency's operational activities and for benefit payments through the corporate spending review and budget-setting processes. The Chief Executive will also be responsible for ensuring timely and accurate financial reporting to SG Finance, and that management information and accurate forecasts are produced to support the SG's financial management processes. The Chief Executive will be responsible for ensuring that processes are in place to meet the requirements of the Scottish Fiscal Commission with regard to producing and scrutinising forecasts, as well as providing the relevant information for the production of the SG Consolidated Accounts, the SG's Medium Term Financial Strategy, the Whole of Government Accounts, and other documents and publications as required.


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