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Annual Report and Accounts published for 2018/19

Published : 24/08/2020 15:22:57

An independent report published today by Audit Scotland identify that there have been improvements within the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) over the past year but a period of stability is now required to build capacity and plan for a modern and financially stable police service.

The report comes as the SPA today publishes its annual report and accounts for the 2018/19 financial year. While policing managed its finances within the budget set for it by the SPA, the service operated during the financial year with a budget deficit of £36 million.

Audit Scotland acknowledge improving systems of financial control within policing that support the scrutiny of its finances, and highlights that the Authority continues to operate in an open and transparent manner.

The Auditor General also reports a number of areas which require further clarity or improvement in the period ahead, including: 

  • Clarity over the SPA’s role and responsibilities and the need to develop the Authority’s capacity and capability to carry out its functions as outlined in the 2012 legislation.
  • The need to revise financial planning to bring the police budget into financial balance within a new extended timescale.

Responding to the publication of the accounts Lynn Brown, Interim Chief Executive and accountable officer for the policing budget in 2019/20 said:

“Audit Scotland has issued an unqualified opinion of the SPA’s accounts which is again to be welcomed. The Auditor highlights a number of areas where either improvement or further clarity is required, all of which are accepted and which we are actively addressing at our own hand and with partners.

“We are working hard on a plan to develop the capacity and capability of the Authority and work to address this will make material progress before the end of the current financial year. In addition we are developing a Corporate Plan which will set out the Authority’s work and priorities for the year ahead.”

David Crichton, Vice Chair of the SPA said:

“I warmly welcome the Auditor General’s call for a period of stability in the SPA. The Members of the Authority will continue to work closely with the Interim Chief Executive and her staff to focus on the important service change and financial challenges for policing that the Auditor General's report brings into sharp focus today.”

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The SPA Annual Report and Accounts detail how £1.1 billion of public funds has been spent to deliver policing and forensic services to communities across Scotland.

In addition to the 2018/19 Annual Report and Accounts, the Authority also published its 2018/19 Annual Review of Policing for the same period. The report sets out the range of evidence that the Authority has considered in assessing that Police Scotland continued to deliver an effective and responsive operational policing service. This included contributions from many Scottish local Authorities and COSLA given their lead role in the local scrutiny of policing.