PUBLISHED 22 DECEMBER 2016
The SPA has published its annual accounts for the 2015/2016 financial year which highlights policing delivered £34m of savings during the year, bringing the total recurring savings achieved to date by police reform to £127m.
The final published 2015-16 Scottish Police Authority (SPA) Annual Report and Accounts have been assessed as accurate by the financial watchdog Audit Scotland.
The accounts report a policing overspend during the year of £1.17m against its overall £1.089b budget. The final outturn for the period was £1.089.9b. This overspend represents just over a tenth of one percent of the available resources.
More than 97% was spend on operational policing with 2.3% spent on Forensic Services and 0.4% on the SPA’s Corporate Service.
Audit Scotland’s assessment of the accounts were unqualified and acknowledged progress in a number of areas highlighted last year. However the Auditor said more needs to be done to address matters related to accounting for property, plant and equipment.
Speaking in response to the publication of the 2015-16 accounts and the Auditor’s report, Andrew Flanagan, Chair of the SPA said:
“The SPA’s annual report and accounts for 2015-16 again demonstrates continued progress in the reform of policing and the delivery of further significant financial savings and efficiencies. I remain confident that the savings target expected of police reform by 2026 will be delivered.
“In the New Year we will publish a strategy for policing over the next decade that will focus on service to the public and not simply savings. It will be underpinned by a long term financial strategy to ensure the service is sustainable in the face of rising demand of increasing complexity.
“While I am pleased the 2015/16 annual accounts have received unqualified opinion from the appointed auditor, there is undoubtedly still more work that needs to be done by the financial management function to address concerns raised again by Audit Scotland in relation to the accounting of key financial information. I am reassured by the Auditor’s acknowledgement that efforts to restructure and strengthen the capabilities of policing’s financial management will help address concerns raised, and I share Audit Scotland’s concerns that progress in this area has been slow.
“Over the last 9-months a number of significant improvements have been announced and implemented to strengthen financial management of policing. I am confident that the new arrangements translate to a step-change in policing’s approach to financial planning and control and will help address more fully the issues Audit Scotland raise within the current financial year.
John Foley, Chief Executive of the SPA added:
“2015/16 was a challenging year, however the scale of savings achieved are significant and the overall outturn for the year represents just over a tenth of one percent of the available resources.
“There are issues raised by Audit Scotland regarding capabilities and accounting for fixed assets during the year which I am personally working with Police Scotland’s Executive to ensure are urgently addressed. In addition to the financial management changes already underway, we will invest in ensuring the finance function has the appropriate capabilities required.
Police Scotland’s Deputy Chief Officer, David Page responded on behalf of Police Scotland saying:
“Police Scotland is committed to ensuring our financial management of the police budget is of the highest standard. We will continue to work with the Authority to ensure the appropriate resources are in place to improve capacity and capability to address the issues raised by Audit Scotland in their report.”
Notes to Editor:
The 2015/16 accounts cover the 12 month period to 31 March 2016.
In February this year the SPA appointed an Interim Chief Financial Officer to oversee immediate improvements to financial governance processes.
In March further efforts were announced following publication of the Chair’s Review of Governance in Policing which strengthened the ability of the accountable officer to direct and control financial management across policing in order to deliver against required actions and ensure we continue to properly safeguard public funds.
In June further changes were announced which resulted in a re-organisation of the executive finance structure within policing. This resulted in the creation of a single Chief Financial Officer post which was filled on an interim basis pending a permanent recruitment.
The permanent post of Chief Financial Officer is currently being advertised and a permanent appointment is expected to be announced by the end of the current financial year.
For further information, please contact Jennifer Blackwood on 0141 534 8962 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.