Annual report 2019/20

Our year

Our vision is to be a world-class audit organisation that improves the use of public money

As public bodies face increasing challenges and uncertainty, we have worked to ensure we are able to meet the demands of the changing environment. We have grown our capacity, both through recruitment and organisational improvement, in response to the need for robust audit of new financial powers and social security. We have also strengthened our quality assurance and quality reporting arrangements.

And we have increased our engagement with the bodies we audit and those who rely on our work to scrutinise and improve public services. This allows us to further support and inform people using and delivering public services and helps us to stay on top of the many developments across the public sector.

2019/20 infographic

2019/20 in numbers:

  • 293 accounts audited
  • 17 national and local performance reports
  • £0.8 million savings, efficiencies and cost reduction
  • 43 graduate and school-leaver trainees recruited
  • 117,000 visitors to our website
  • 25,901 social media engagements
  • £8,000 Raised by our colleagues for SAMH and other charities.
Ian Leitch CBE. Chair of the Audit Scotland Board

Chair's welcome

We are living in extraordinary times, with the most severe public health crisis the world has seen since the influenza pandemic of 1918 to 1920.

Our world has changed and, as yet, we don’t know by how much. The same is true for Audit Scotland as an organisation. Our first priority throughout this pandemic has been the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues.

We are also working through what this means for us as an organisation; how we work and the work we do. As with many others, the answers are not fully formed. But we are clear that we must be pragmatic and flexible in our work, with an empathy towards the significant stresses on public bodies.

Ian Leitch CBE. Chair of the Audit Scotland Board
Download the report for full statement

Accountable Officer’s report

An annual report looks back at the preceding year, and typically my Accountable Officer’s report would consider our organisation’s achievements and performance over the past 12 months.

However, the emergence of COVID-19 during the final months of 2019/20 represents a challenge on a scale we have not seen in our lifetimes.

As with nations across the globe, the pandemic has put Scotland’s public services under tremendous strain. I would like to record my heart-felt thanks to everyone working on the frontlines and behind the scenes to protect us all.

Caroline Gardner. Accountable Officer and Auditor General for Scotland
Download the report for full statement

Caroline Gardner. Accountable Officer and Auditor General for Scotland


Annual audits

Annual audits. This forms the largest part of our statutory work.

  • 174 Local government
  • 75 Central government
  • 23 NHS
  • 21 Further education
Performance audits

Performance audits. We produce performance audit and overview reports on issues which have a direct impact on people’s daily lives.

  • Health
  • Local government
  • Education
  • New financial powers
  • Infrastructure
  • Digital
Best Value Assurance Reports

Best Value Assurance Reports.

The Accounts Commission is responsible for scrutinising Scotland’s 32 councils. During 2019/20 we published seven Best Value Assurance Reports.

Climate change and sustainability

Climate change and sustainability.

We have reduced our carbon footprint by 47 per cent against our 2014/15 baseline, and by more than 57 per cent since 2008/09.

  • Energy: 17% lower than 2014/15
  • Transport: 44% lower than 2014/15
  • Waste: 78% lower than 2014/15

Reports 2019/20