Independent auditor’s report to the Auditor General for Scotland and the Scottish Parliament
Report on the audit of the financial statements
Opinion on financial statements
I have audited the financial statements in the Scottish Consolidated Fund Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2020 under the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000. The financial statements comprise the Receipts and Payments Account, Statement of Balances and Notes to the Accounts. The financial reporting framework that has been applied in their preparation is applicable law and the receipts and payments basis.
In my opinion the accompanying financial statements:
- properly present in accordance with the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 and directions made thereunder by the Scottish Ministers the receipts and payments of the fund for the year ended 31 March 2020 and the balances held at that date; and
- have been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 and directions made thereunder by the Scottish Ministers.
Basis for opinion
I conducted my audit in accordance with applicable law and International Standards on Auditing (UK) (ISAs (UK)), as required by the Code of Audit Practice approved by the Auditor General for Scotland. My responsibilities under those standards are further described in the auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements section of my report. I was appointed by the Auditor General on 25 June 2020. I am independent of the fund in accordance with the ethical requirements that are relevant to my audit of the financial statements in the UK including the Financial Reporting Council’s Ethical Standard, and I have fulfilled my other ethical responsibilities in accordance with these requirements. Non-audit services prohibited by the Ethical Standard were not provided to the fund. I believe that the audit evidence I have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for my opinion.
Risks of material misstatement
I have reported in a separate Annual Audit Report, which is available from the Audit Scotland website, the most significant assessed risks of material misstatement that I identified and my conclusions thereon.
Responsibilities of the Principal Accountable Officer for the financial statements
As explained more fully in the Statement of Principal Accountable Officer’s Responsibilities, the Principal Accountable Officer is responsible for the preparation and proper presentation of financial statements in accordance with the financial reporting framework, and for such internal control as the Principal Accountable Officer determines is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.
Auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements
My objectives are to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue an auditor’s report that includes my opinion. Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with ISAs (UK) will always detect a material misstatement when it exists. Misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of these financial statements.
The risk of not detecting a material misstatement resulting from fraud is higher than for one resulting from error, as fraud may involve collusion, intentional omissions, misrepresentations, or the override of internal control. The capability of the audit to detect fraud and other irregularities depends on factors such as the skilfulness of the perpetrator, the frequency and extent of manipulation, the degree of collusion involved, the relative size of individual amounts manipulated, and the seniority of those individuals involved. I therefore design and perform audit procedures which respond to the assessed risks of material misstatement due to fraud.
A further description of the auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements is located on the Financial Reporting Council's website. This description forms part of my auditor’s report.
Other information in the Scottish Consolidated Fund Accounts
The Principal Accountable Officer is responsible for the other information in the Scottish Consolidated Fund Accounts. The other information comprises the information other than the financial statements and my auditor’s report thereon. My opinion on the financial statements does not cover the other information and I do not express any form of assurance conclusion thereon except on matters prescribed by the Auditor General for Scotland to the extent explicitly stated later in this report.
In connection with my audit of the financial statements, my responsibility is to read all the other information in the Scottish Consolidated Fund Accounts and, in doing so, consider whether the other information is materially inconsistent with the financial statements or my knowledge obtained in the audit or otherwise appears to be materially misstated. If I identify such material inconsistencies or apparent material misstatements, I am required to determine whether there is a material misstatement in the financial statements or a material misstatement of the other information. If, based on the work I have performed, I conclude that there is a material misstatement of this other information, I am required to report that fact. I have nothing to report in this regard.
Report on regularity of receipts and payments
Opinion on regularity
In my opinion in all material respects the sums paid out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund for the purpose of meeting the payments shown in the financial statements were applied in accordance with section 65 of the Scotland Act 1998 and sections 4 to 6 of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000.
Responsibilities for regularity
The Principal Accountable Officer is responsible for ensuring the regularity of receipts and payments. I am responsible for expressing an opinion on the regularity of receipts and payments in accordance with the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000.
Report on other requirements
Opinions on matters prescribed by the Auditor General for Scotland
In my opinion, based on the work undertaken in the course of the audit
- the information given in the Foreword for the financial year for which the financial statements are prepared is consistent with the financial statements; and
- the information given in the Governance Statement for the financial year for which the financial statements are prepared is consistent with the financial statements and that report has been prepared in accordance with the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 and directions made thereunder by the Scottish Ministers.
Matters on which I am required to report by exception
I am required by the Auditor General for Scotland to report to you if, in my opinion:
- adequate accounting records have not been kept; or
- the financial statements are not in agreement with the accounting records; or
- I have not received all the information and explanations I require for my audit.
I have nothing to report in respect of these matters.
Conclusions on wider scope responsibilities
In addition to my responsibilities for the annual report and accounts, my conclusions on the wider scope responsibilities specified in the Code of Audit Practice are set out in my Annual Audit Report.
Use of my report
This report is made solely to the parties to whom it is addressed in accordance with the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 and for no other purpose. In accordance with paragraph 120 of the Code of Audit Practice, I do not undertake to have responsibilities to members or officers, in their individual capacities, or to third parties.
Michael Oliphant FCPFA
102 West Port
11 December 2020