By Sarah Pollock
You might not know it, but people from all over the world are curious about public audit in Scotland.
Scotland’s financial devolution settlement is complex and ever-changing. Our health and social care services have gone through a sustained period of reform, and they continue to face demographic challenges. Community empowerment legislation is changing the way local decisions about services and public spending are made. Add in Brexit and talk of a potential further referendum on Scottish independence, and Scotland makes a fascinating case study for the people charged with tracking public money from our fellow audit institutions overseas.
We’re really keen to share the expertise and knowledge we’ve gleaned from this environment with auditors outside of Scotland. In 2017, we’ve already given visitors from the Board of Audit of Japan an insight into how we operate and hosted two interns from the Palestinian State Audit and Administrative Control Bureau for them to learn more about local government in Scotland. With the help of video conferencing technology, we had the pleasure of presenting at the Canadian National Performance Audit Symposium in Toronto. It was great to be able to showcase how we make the data from our reports come to life to an audience on the other side of the Atlantic – all from the comfort of our Edinburgh office.
As an organisation that strives to be world class, we very much see this learning process as a two-way street and we are keen to learn from the experience of other audit institutions. As part of our recently published ICT lessons learned briefing we included case studies and quotes from audit organisations worldwide including Australia, New Zealand and Holland. These brought an international perspective on how other organisations have dealt with ICT issues, which Scottish public sector organisations can learn from when managing their digital programmes.
With all of this activity going on, we’re delighted to launch our #GoingGlobal web page – the first point of contact for anyone looking to visit us and learn more about public sector audit in Scotland. Keep an eye on it, as well as our #GoingGlobal posts on social media to find out about all of our latest international activity. You can also find more detail in our International Annual Report. We hope that people with an interest in audit, scrutiny and improving public services around the world see it as a helpful resource.
Sarah Pollock is Audit Scotland’s International Liaison Manager