As Chief Financial Officer for the Scottish Government, it is my responsibility to oversee the processes that produce the financial reporting by and for the Scottish Government. I lead a team of finance professionals who support Scottish Ministers in their financial decision-making to secure the regularity, propriety and value for money of the funds provided by taxpayers to deliver devolved government in Scotland.
I am pleased to introduce these accounts, which are an important part of the reporting on the stewardship of the whole Scottish Budget approved by the Scottish Parliament. The accounts cover the bodies within the accounting boundary and present the financial outturn compared to the spending plans of Scottish Ministers for those elements for the financial year 2017-18 authorised by the Budget (Scotland) Act 2017 and are prepared in accordance with international accounting standards and related accounting guidance. I am pleased that the Auditor General's opinion on these accounts is, once again, unqualified.
It is important to note that these accounts are not a Ministerial document: it is the Principal Accountable Officer's responsibility to produce accounts, and a primary purpose of these accounts is to report on the stewardship of the sums authorised.
It is also important to recognise that these accounts are not the full picture of the fiscal activity of Scottish Ministers. Our financial reporting outputs are developing alongside the Scottish Government's increasing fiscal responsibility and in tandem with the developments associated with the implementation of the Budget Process Review Group recommendations:
- building on this account, a separate statement to Parliament brings together the Financial Outturn of the bodies within the Scottish Administration, to report against the statutory limit authorised by the Scottish Parliament in the Budget processes. This will be extended this year to include the other bodies funded from the Scottish Budget. These accounts together report on the spending authorised by the Scottish Parliament in the annual Budget Act.
- the wider picture of the funding available to the Scottish Budget is available in the separate account of the Scottish Consolidated Fund gov.scot which shows all the sums paid into and out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund in year. This also includes this year a statement of the borrowing position. A more detailed accounting of the Devolved Taxes is also available, published by Revenue Scotland, available online at revenue.scot.
- once the complete set of audited financial data for the relevant bodies is available, we will be developing a further consolidated account, which will bring together the revenue-raising and spending elements.
- in the meantime, the Fiscal Framework Outturn Report published on 20 September is a new report, which provides information in relation to devolved taxes, the use of borrowing powers and the operation of the Scotland Reserve.
- The accounts also explain the context and recent publication of a revised National Performance Framework, link to where the higher level reporting can be found and do not repeat more specific performance information that can be found in the stand-alone accounts of delivery bodies within the consolidation.
Chief Financial Officer
24 September 2018