Working in partnership with scrutiny bodies: advice note

This advice note summarises the powers and responsibilities of our respective health and social care scrutiny bodies and sets out the rationale for how Integration Authorities can work jointly with these organisations.

This document is part of a collection

Annex A

Statutory Roles of Scrutiny Bodies

Statutory roles of the Auditor General for Scotland (AGS), Accounts Commission and Audit Scotland

The Auditor General for Scotland (AGS) is responsible for ensuring propriety and value for money in the spending of public funds. The AGS investigates whether public bodies are achieving the best possible value for money and adhering to the highest standards of financial management. The AGS is independent and not subject to the control of any member of the Scottish Government or the Parliament.

The AGS is responsible for securing the audit of the Scottish Government and most other public bodies, except Local Authorities. In relation to health and care services, this includes the Scottish Government Directorates, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Health Boards and the Care Inspectorate. In liaison with the Accounts Commission, the AGS also audits joint working arrangements between central and local government bodies, including Community Planning Partnerships.

The Accounts Commission is responsible for securing the audit of Local Authorities and associated bodies, including the new Integration Joint Boards that are being established under the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014 to support the process of health and social care integration. The Accounts Commission is also responsible for securing the audit of the performance by Local Authorities of their Best Value and Community Planning duties. The Local Government Act 1973 (as amended) and the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003 also gives the Accounts Commission powers to:

  • Consider reports made by the Controller of Audit on matters arising from these audits, to investigate all matters raised and to conduct hearings where appropriate.
  • Make recommendations to Scottish Ministers and to Local Authorities, as appropriate.
  • Give directions to Local Authorities on the performance information they should gather, and publish information about how councils perform.
  • Impose sanctions on individual officers and members in the event of having considered a special report from the Controller of Audit, finding that their negligence or misconduct leads to money being lost or that their actions are unlawful.
  • To advise Scottish Ministers on Local Authority accounting matters.

Section 23 of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 gives the AGS specific powers to examine the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which resources are being used by specified public bodies. This includes the power to examine the arrangements made by these organisations to secure Best Value.

All appointed auditors must comply with Audit Scotland's Code of Audit Practice, which includes guidance on the principles of public audit, the statutory and other duties of auditors, and audit requirements relating to financial statements, corporate governance and reporting the audit. The audited annual financial statements for public bodies, including the independent auditor's report, will be sent to the relevant Minister and laid before Parliament.

Audit Scotland is a statutory body set up in April 2000 under the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000. It provides services to the AGS and the Accounts Commission. Audit Scotland provides independent assurance to the people of Scotland that public money is spent properly and provides value for money. It supports improvement in public services by holding to account those responsible for spending public funds. The values of independence and integrity, valuing people, quality, co-operation and effective communication underpin all of its work.

Audit Scotland may also undertake planned performance audits and Best Value audits on public bodies involved in the provision or commissioning of health and social care services or on specific aspects of their work, as requested by the AGS or the Accounts Commission.

Statutory role of the Care Inspectorate

The role and functions of the Care Inspectorate are set out in the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 ("the PSR(S) Act"), the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 (Part 4 only) and the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.[9]

The Care Inspectorate is the independent regulator of social care and inspector of social work services across Scotland, as set out in the PSR(S) Act. It regulates, inspects and supports improvement of care, social work and child protection services for the benefit of the people who use them.

The system of regulation adopted by the Care Inspectorate takes account of the National Care Standards and the Codes of Practice for Employers and Employees as developed by the Scottish Social Services Council. Care service providers should comply with all relevant legislation, whether regulated or enforced by the Care Inspectorate or elsewhere.

The Care Inspectorate has the statutory responsibility for ensuring that providers of care services are fit to provide that service and that they continue to comply with the regulations made under the PSR(S) Act taking into account the National Care Standards and the Codes of Practice for Employers and Employees. The Care Inspectorate has a range of powers to assist it in fulfilling these regulatory responsibilities.

The Care Inspectorate has a statutory responsibility to investigate complaints about registered services. Under the Care Inspectorate's complaints procedure, complainants do not have to pursue a complaint through the local service provider's own Complaints Procedure before lodging a complaint with the Care Inspectorate. However, the Care Inspectorate will encourage individuals, in the first instance, to pursue a complaint through the local service provider's complaints procedure wherever possible.

Statutory role of Healthcare Improvement Scotland

The role and functions of Healthcare Improvement Scotland are set out in the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 ("the PSR(S) Act"). It has a general duty of further improving the quality of healthcare and undertakes a range of functions as set out in the Act. Healthcare Improvement Scotland is also currently responsible for regulating independent hospitals, voluntary hospices, and private psychiatric hospitals.



Back to top