Covid-19 has disproportionately affected Scotland’s most vulnerable citizens, and there is a risk that it will widen the gap between the haves and have-nots.
How the Scottish Government and public bodies respond to that challenge will be a big focus of our audit work in the months and years ahead.
Poverty is on the rise and mass unemployment is being predicted on a scale not seen since the early 1990s. All at a time when you are already twice as likely to die with Covid-19 if you live in one of this country’s most deprived areas.
Covid-19 has changed our society and economy in profound ways. The immediate and longer-term impacts of Covid-19 are ever-present, shifting the ways in which we live and dominating the delivery of public services.
The pace of change has been rapid and, in many ways, this is welcome. However that speed also presents risks to public services and the potential for increased exclusion.
Central to providing citizens with ongoing reassurance about how public services are being provided, alongside the approach to rebuilding and renewing those services, will be regulation, inspection and audit by Scotland’s scrutiny bodies.