Auditing Best Value in Falkirk Council

AS_Twitter_Exhibit_COVERI was part of the team which carried out the audit of Best Value in Falkirk Council on behalf of the  Accounts Commission, the public spending watchdog for local government.

Our extensive audit work included interviewing councillors and senior officers. We held focus groups with councillors so they all had an opportunity to contribute their views on what was happening. Staff were also invited to take part in a focus group to help us understand how certain issues  affected their work, and how services were being delivered to the people of Falkirk. Continue reading Auditing Best Value in Falkirk Council

What needs to be at the heart of community planning?

community_planning_cover Last month, colleagues and I headed to Glasgow to join 300 delegates from across Scotland at a national conference on community planning Changing Lives, Delivering Success: Turning Ambition into Action.

In the report we published last year, Community Planning: turning ambition into action, we found that there is a renewed energy around community planning since the publication of the Statement of Ambition, and the buzzing atmosphere on the day certainly reflected that. Continue reading What needs to be at the heart of community planning?

Health and social care integration: a radical change?

peopleSince my last blog, things have moved on across Scotland and NHS boards and councils are working with partners in the voluntary and private sectors and the public to set out how they will integrate care in their local area.

We’re now well underway with our work on this integration, speaking to a range of stakeholders and reviewing initial schemes for the new arrangements. We’re looking at what progress is being made, whether governance and financial arrangements are clear and the opportunities and risks this presents. This is our first piece of work on the new partnerships, and we’re working closely with the Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland to take an early view on developments. Continue reading Health and social care integration: a radical change?

Community planning in Northern Ireland – learning from the Scottish approach

I was recently invited to Belfast by the Carnegie UK Trust to share perspectives on what’s working well in Scotland’s approach to community planning, and where further improvements can be made. My views formed part of the Trust’s conference around Northern Ireland taking the next steps towards adopting a well-being framework. Continue reading Community planning in Northern Ireland – learning from the Scottish approach

The Big Noise

I began working with the GCPH in September 2013, on a project to evaluate the social and health impacts of Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise programme in the Raploch area of Stirling and the Govanhill neighbourhood in Glasgow. Both of these areas suffer from long term economic disadvantage, reduced educational attainment and poor health relative to most other areas in Scotland. Continue reading The Big Noise

Learning lessons from Managing ICT contracts

Digital technology is an increasingly important part of our everyday lives, transforming the ways we access information and services. This change is reflected in the public sector, where the Scottish Government has adopted a ‘digital first’ approach. This signals that digital technology has a significant role to play in the future delivery of public services. Continue reading Learning lessons from Managing ICT contracts

Helping to make a difference

For me, grad_tickthe main attraction of working at Audit Scotland was getting the chance to use my university degree to help make a difference to the public services provided in Scotland. It’s an extremely satisfying feeling to know I’m part of an organisation that makes sure public bodies are using their resources in a proper, efficient and effective way. Continue reading Helping to make a difference

Audit in real-time: Keeping score during the Commonwealth Games

commgames_coverAudit Scotland looks at a whole range of issues involving the use of public money across Scotland. While it’s still quite unusual for us to start an audit when a project is in the early stages of development, it can be very useful to get involved at this point. Given the benefits, this is something we want to do more of in the future. Continue reading Audit in real-time: Keeping score during the Commonwealth Games

Becoming qualified

Iicaslogo am now just a matter of weeks away from officially qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with Audit Scotland. I just need to break through my days worked target, and sign off on the last few competencies. I managed to get through the hardest stage – getting through the exams. They were challenging, a lot different to the kind of exams I remember from school, but I also found them interesting, covering subjects like taxation and law which are useful to know more about as part of everyday life. Continue reading Becoming qualified

18 months in at Audit Scotland – what you can expect

calendarSo you’ve made it! Successfully passed the recruitment process, and your first day at Audit Scotland is fast approaching. After four years of ‘enjoying’ the student lifestyle it is a daunting prospect starting at a professional organisation like Audit Scotland, but let me alleviate any fears you may have about stepping into the world of audit. Continue reading 18 months in at Audit Scotland – what you can expect