The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) has published its annual accounts for the 2016/2017 financial year which have been assessed by the financial watchdog Audit Scotland as “an encouraging improvement in the quality of accounting records and access to information compared to previous years.”
The accounts report a net policing overspend during the year of £16.9 million against its £1.1 billion budget. While this represents a small proportion of the total budget available, this figure was reduced by payments received as part of the negotiated settlement from the termination of the i6 programme in July 2016.
Audit Scotland’s report also highlights improvement in a number of other areas including:
• A more transparent and comprehensive budget setting process for 2017/18, providing frank commentary on the scale of the financial challenge and more detailed information on planned revenue, capital and reform expenditure.
• The development of Policing 2026 - a long-term 10-year vision and strategy for policing.
• The consideration and approval of three and ten-year financial strategies for policing to underpin spending in support of delivery against the strategy.
The auditor has also highlighted a number of specific instances where best value was not achieved in the period and areas where governance should be strengthened.
Speaking in response to the publication of the 2016/17 accounts and the Auditor’s report, Susan Deacon, the new Chair of the SPA, said:
“Audit Scotland’s report offers a very timely independent assessment of the financial management of Police Scotland and the SPA. I am determined that going forward we will build on the progress acknowledged in this report and to address the concerns highlighted.
“It is vital that the public and Parliament have confidence in the financial management of policing in Scotland. Audit Scotland has highlight issues where best value was not achieved and governance has been poor. I share the auditors concerns and I will work with the SPA board and the new chief officer to ensure we learn the lessons from that and that further improvements in decision-making, transparency and process are made in the future.”
SPA Deputy Chair Nicola Marchant added:
“In previous reports, Audit Scotland highlighted concerns about the financial management and governance of the police budget. Over this last year, the SPA and Police Scotland have worked to address the issues raised and I welcome that the result is a set of accounts which are unqualified, without modified opinion and recognised by Audit Scotland as an ‘encouraging improvement’.
“Legitimate concerns were also raised previously about the absence of a long term financial plan to support delivery of a long-term policing strategy. Again, Audit Scotland has acknowledged that important progress has been made on both those issues over the past year.
“Clearly there remain issues which the auditor has highlighted in its report to parliament. We do not underestimate these and will work to address them going forward.”
James Gray, Police Scotland’s Chief Financial Officer added:
“There is no doubt that the 2016/17 financial year was a challenging period, however the overall outturn for the year represents less than two percent overspend of the available resources.
“Police Scotland is committed to ensuring that the financial management of our budget is of the highest standard. We will continue to work with the Authority to develop our financial planning as business plans become clearer, as this will be critical to delivering the Policing 2026 strategy and achieving financial sustainability for the service.”
The SPA's Annual Report and Accounts for 2016/17 have been laid in the Scottish Parliament this morning (Friday 8 December 2018). You can view the accounts at the following link: SPA ANNUAL REPORT AND ACCOUNTS 2016/17
Audit Scotland has published their own report on the SPA's Accounts which is available from the following link: http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/report/the-201617-audit-of-the-scottish-police-authority?utm_content=buffera4cc2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
The 2016/17 accounts cover the 12 month period to 31 March 2017.
For the first time in four years, the auditor has not expressed a modified opinion on those matters on which she is required to report.
John Foley, the former CEO of the SPA, left the SPA on 30 November 2017. SPA made a commitment to early transparency on the financial aspects of his early retirement and, in advance of details being reported in the 2017-18 accounts, is making that information available today.
Mr Foley’s early retirement comes under the terms of the approved SPA Voluntary Redundancy and Early Retirement scheme applicable to all eligible staff affected by a material change to their role, and commensurate with his age (over 55) and length of service (4 years). John Foley will receive an Early Retirement payment of £43,470 He will also receive a payment of £56,666 in lieu of notice.
There will be an additional cost to the organisation related to Mr Foley’s Early Retirement (ER). This is a cost incurred by the organisation for the individual’s release under ER and does not represent a payment made to him. The costs relate to a strain on the pension fund amounting to £65,860.38. This cost have been calaulated by the pension provider.