FGN2022/01 SPFM amendments: February 2022
Certificates of assurance:
Internal control checklist
This section of the SPFM relates to the assurance framework and the signing of the governance statements provided by Accountable Officers as part of the annual accounts process. The certificates of assurance guidance relates specifically to constituent parts of the Scottish Administration i.e. the core Scottish Government (SG), the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, SG Executive Agencies and non-ministerial departments.
The internal control checklist that underpins the assurances from Deputy Directors (or equivalents) to Directors (or equivalents) has been updated. The checklist still covers the same sections as previous versions but some questions have been reviewed, amended and guidance notes have been further developed across all questions. Please take the time to review the checklist to ensure you are aware of the amendments.
1. Risk management – some of the questions have been reworded but content remained substantially the same with specific amendments to questions. These amendments require divisions to consider whether they; are aligning priority risks with resources and Business plans, have support from Directorate Risk Champions, have ensured all staff have undertaken basic risk management training, have articulated their appetite to key risks, and use the standard SG Risk Register format when recording risks.
2. Business planning – the majority of questions have been substantially revised, with specific amendments to questions relating to business objectives, how progress is measured, if business plans are in keeping with the vision and values of In the Service of Scotland and measuring performance. A further question 2.5 has been added asking if plans inform financial, people, operational plans and prioritisation.
5. Financial management – the majority of questions have been reviewed and amended with specific amendments to questions on; delegated authority and skills and training to discharge responsibilities for managing public money; changes to safeguarding assets and maintaining SEAS, monitoring income, and if any grants awarded these are linked (where applicable) to any Programme for Government commitments via the Model Offer Agreement. A further question 5.9 has been added asking about procedures in place which ensures that budgets are reviewed during the year and that budget transfers are completed and authorised in line with corporate finance deadlines.
6. Fraud – Although some questions have been reworded and content remained substantially the same, there was a focus on highlighting duties around; Cyber Fraud, Scottish Government Fraud Guidance and Fraud Risk Assessments.
7. Procurement – the section mostly remained the same, except for the rewording of question 7.1 asking if divisions ensure that the Scottish Procurement and Property Directorate are consulted from the earliest possible stage on any business cases proposals that may involve procurement, commercial and/or property activity.
8. Human resources – the section mostly remained the same, except for the rewording of question 8.1, which required Divisions to identify how regularly updated workforce plans linked to resourcing plans that enable divisions to match resources to priorities and affordability, while also contributing to increased diversity and inclusion.
9. Equality and diversity – the section mostly remained the same but with the rewording of question 9.2 asking if all staff in divisions have the capacity and capability to embed equality within the policies or programmes they are working on. 9.4 has also been reworded asking if any schemes operated by divisions for funding the work of external stakeholders meet statutory equality requirements to deliver improved outcomes for people with protected characteristics.
10. Information – the section mostly remained the same but with the rewording of question 10.6 to take in account required actions to safeguard information assets and the corporate infrastructure and regularly/actively consider and manage current and emerging cyber risks and threats pertinent to business.
11. Health and safety – the majority of questions have been reviewed and amended with specific changes to reflect the arrangements brought into place regarding Covid-19 risk assessments, the training and support of Health and Safety Liaison Officers and keeping in touch with staff who work both at home and in the workplace.
12. Sponsored bodies – some of the questions have been reviewed and amended with specific amendments to questions on; National Outcomes, framework documents, effective boards, strategic engagement, financial monitoring and forecasting, year-end procedures and major investments . A new question 12.14 has been added regarding property asking if sponsored bodies plan strategic matters and consult the Property and Construction Division at least six months in advance of any proposed changes or additions to their estate as per SPFM guidance.
13. Compliance – the majority of questions have been reviewed and amended with specific changes drawing attention to the SPFM and any other required Impact assessments outlined on Saltire in relation to Policy Development.
Scottish Government Finance Directorate