Disclosure log

Audit Scotland receives many information requests daily and we provide a wide range of information to people who contact us. We proactively publish the results of our work in the form of reports for the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission and issue press releases on these. A wide range of information is available through our publication scheme.

The log below contains information which has been released in response to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. The number of these requests will not reflect the true volume of requests we receive and the amount of information we routinely provide.

Requests and their responses from April 2019 are listed below. Requests and responses from previous years are available here.

 

View all requests and responses or filter by topic by clicking on the relevant button:

Disclosure log 1 April - 30 September 2019

Best Companies survey

Request

Ref: 567

Received: 11 April 2019
Responded: 6 May 2019

Please can you supply the Best Companies survey that was circulated across your organisation last year. I do not require the findings of the survey only the questions asked.

If, for any reason, my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you justify all deletions and redactions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. I will also expect you to release all non-exempt material. I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive fees. I would prefer to receive this information electronically. If you require any clarification I expect you to contact me to provide advice and assistance if you find any aspect of my FOI request problematic. Please acknowledge receipt of this request, and I look forward to receiving this information in the near future.

Response

Category of response: Refusal

Exemption applied: FOISA 33 (1) (B)


This email is in reply to your Freedom of Information request dated 11 April 2019 regarding the Best Companies survey. In your request you are asking for the Best Company survey questions used in the 2018 survey.

We are withholding this information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) section 33 (1b), the commercial interest and the economy exemption. The reason for withholding the information is that disclosure of the information would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interest of any person (including, without prejudice to that generality , a Scottish public authority).

The copyright and intellectual property of the questions are invested with Best Companies, the release of those questions would prejudice their commercial interests. The development of the survey methodology and questions are the result of significant investment and they form a key aspect of their intellectual property and are additionally covered by copyright and therefore protected against unauthorised use.

We have considered the public interest and whether on balance that it is in the public interest to withhold or release the information being requested. FOISA does not define the public interest but it is described elsewhere as “something which is of serious concern and benefit to the public”, not merely something of individual interest. It has also been described as something that is “in the interest of the public”, not merely “of interest to the public.” In other words, it serves the interests of the public.

While the information may be of interest to you, we believe on balance that the public is best served by withholding the requested information.

Any queries you may have concerning the Best Companies survey should be directed to them and I have included their contact details:

Best Companies Ltd,
Hamilton House, Rackery Lane, Llay, Wrexham, United Kingdom LL12 0PB
Email enquiries@b.co.uk

Selection of members of advisory groups

Request

Ref: 573(17)

Received: 17 April 2019
Responded: 1 May 2019

Audit Scotland use 'Advisors' when it is conducting audits. Can you please provide me with a link to the procedures that you have which ensure that;

  • Advisors do not have a conflict of interest or a potential conflict of interest in relation to the content of the Audit.
  • If there might be a conflict of interest regarding part of an Audit the Advisor is excluded from commenting on that content.

Please also advise;

  • How when an individual may have particular knowledge Audit Scotland decides beween appointing them as an Advisor or taking evidence from them.
  • If it correct that Advisors get a pre-view of the Audit Report and can correct what are believed to be factual errors.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


Thank you for your recent e-mail concerning the selection of members of advisory groups.

Advisory groups are an important part of our performance audit process. These groups are created on a temporary basis for independent advice and feedback to our audit teams undertaking performance audits on behalf of the Auditor General for Scotland and/or the Accounts Commission. The role of the advisory group is, as the name suggests, advisory. The responsibility for the content of audit reports lies solely with Audit Scotland, and we do not always agree with or take on board the views of advisory group members.

We ask people to join our advisory groups because of their individual knowledge and expertise of the subject of the audit or on the basis of the organisations that they work for. This means that on occasion individuals will be invited to serve on advisory groups who are employed by organisations that fall within the scope of the audit in question. For example, civil servants with relevant policy responsibilities may serve on advisory groups while separately providing evidence or being interviewed as part of the audit. This does not create a conflict of interest as, although draft performance audit reports are routinely shared with advisory group members, this is not for factual accuracy checking purposes, it is for the purpose of getting more general feedback on report structure, tone, readability, and the relevance and added value of our improvement recommendations.

We have an entirely separate process for checking the factual accuracy of audit reports with audited bodies which is distinct from the work of audit advisory groups. In common with all other UK public audit agencies that factual accuracy checking process (commonly described as ‘clearance’) operates through the Accountable Officer of the audited body in question.

All of our audits operate under a strict ethical and audit quality framework which obliges Audit Scotland staff to apply professional scepticism throughout all stages of an audit and ensure that our audit reports are supported by a sufficient body of evidence to support our audit judgements. Further information can be found on the Audit Scotland website.

I hope this has answered your query.

ICT internal plans and strategy

Request

Ref: 573(18)

Received: 18 April 2019
Responded: 24 April 2019

I wish to submit a request for some of the organisation’s information around the internal plans and strategy documents around ICT.

The ICT documents I require is the 2019 – onwards. If any of the documents is for example 2017-2020 please make sure that this is the 2019 version of the document. Or the most recent update.

I wish to obtain the following documents:

  • ICT/IM&T/IS Strategy- The IT department strategy or plans, highlights their current and future objectives.
  • ICT Org Chart- A visual document that present the structure of the IT department, please include name and job titles. If this can’t be sent please work towards a structure with job titles.
  • ICT Annual or Business Plan- Similar to the ICT strategy but is more annually focused.
  • ICT Capital Programme/budget- A document that shows financials budget on current and future projects.

If some of these documents are not valid, please state when the 2019 ICT documents are planned to be published.

Please do get back to me if you have further questions or feedback.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


This email is in response to your freedom of information request dated 18 April 2019. In you request you ask for:

  • ICT/IM&T/IS Strategy- The IT department strategy or plans, highlights their current and future objectives
    - See Digital Services Strategy below
  • ICT Org Chart- A visual document that present the structure of the IT department, please include name and job titles. If this can’t be sent please work towards a structure with job titles.
    - See page 18, Digital services strategy below
  • ICT Annual or Business Plan- Similar to the ICT strategy but is more annually focused.
    - Audit Scotland does not have this. The Digital Services Strategy below drives business actions
  • ICT Capital Programme/budget- A document that shows financials budget on current and future projects.
    - 2019/20 budget below

 Download Digital Services Strategy - PDF 1.3Mb

 Download Digital Services budget - PDF 13Kb

CCTV supplier and maintenance

Request

Ref: 613

Received: 28 May 2019
Responded: 28 May 2019

Please can you send me the information stated below:

  • Supplier of the contract for CCTV maintenance and support
  • How much the Organisation spend annually with the supplier? (if multiple suppliers please list the annual spend for each)
  • What is the renewal date of this contract?
  • What is the duration of the contract?
  • What is the review date of this contract? If possible the likely outcome of this review
  • The primary brand of the CCTV equipment. I don’t require the model just the brand. If there is various brands could you please list?
  • What is the total number of cameras in use/under this contract?
  • The description of the services provided under this contract. Please state if this contract includes more than just CCTV services.
  • Contact details of the employee responsible for the contract between the supplier and the organisation. Can you please provide me with their full contact details

If there is no CCTV maintenance contract in place

  • What is the brand of CCTV cameras in use? if there is variety could you please send me a list? I do not need the serial number or model just the brand.
  • How much is the average annual spend on the in-house maintenance?
  • How many cameras are in use?
  • Is there a plan to review this at any point, if so what would the date be?
  • Who is in charge of overseeing the in-house maintenance?

If there is no maintenance contract or in-house maintenance in place, is there a ad-hoc agreement? If yes,

  • Who is the supplier? Is this varies could you please list?
  • What is the brand of CCTV cameras in use? if there is variety could you please send me a list? I do not need the serial number or model just the brand.
  • How many cameras are in use?
  • How much is the average annual spend on the ad-hoc agreement?
  • What is the date it is to be reviewed?

Response

Category of response: Section 17

Exemption applied: None


This email is to acknowledge and respond to your Freedom of Information request dated 28 May 2019. Audit Scotland does not operate CCTV systems and therefore, under section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 Audit Scotland does not hold the information requested.

Contract register

Request

Ref: 619

Received: 3 June 2019
Responded: 4 June 2019

I want to submit a request for some information from the organisation, in relation to their contract’s register. The contract register should display all the organisations existing/live contracts I would like the register to display the following columns/headings:

  1. Contract Reference
  2. Contract Title
  3. Procurement Category
  4. Supplier Name
  5. Spend (Total or Annual)
  6. Contract Duration
  7. Contract Extensions
  8. Contract Starting Date
  9. Expiration Date
  10. Contract Description [Please provide me with as much detail as possible.]
  11. Contact Owner (Full contact details if possible.)
  12. CPV codes/ProClass
  13. Contract Reference

IMPORTANT

  • For those organisation planning to make an exemption, the spend information I have requested is an overall figure and I am not requesting a complete breakdown of services relating to the spend.
  • If the organisation has a CRM system or a similar system there should be a facility to download and extract contract data.
  • You may forward me a Weblink to a portal to download the contract register, please make sure all of the organisation’s contracts are provided as doing prior research I have found that most organisations have only uploaded a small portion of all of their contracts.

Please do not think that this is the only information I require if you could provide me with more information that would be great.

Contract Data/API Contact Details

  1. Can you also provide me with contact details of the person responsible for the actual contract’s register or someone responsible for API? [Name, Job Title, Telephone, Email Address] At the very least provide me with their actual job title.

(Meaning of API “a set of functions and procedures that allow the creation of applications which access the features or data of an operating system, application, or other service.”)

Please provide me with the contract’s register file in an excel format.

Response

Category of response: Exempt

Exemption applied: FOISA 25 (1)


The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 requires public bodies to maintain a contract register providing information about any contracts entered into as a result of a regulated procurement.

The information we hold is publicly available and is therefore exempt information under section 25 (1) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) as information that is otherwise accessible.

However, to assist you in finding the information I have included links and page numbers to the appropriate areas of our website. https://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/about-us/audit-scotland/supplying-audit-scotland

Dundee City Council

Request

Ref: 676

Received: 30 July 2019
Responded: 2 August 2019

I have now had confirmation from the Scottish Housing Regulator that Dundee City Council had, in the Regulator's view, a legal duty to consult the Dundee Federation of Tenants before agreeing to demolish tenements in Blackness Road. I understand Lynn Sweeney from the Housing Regulator discussed issues concerning Blackness Road with Audit Scotland on a number of occasions.

Your decision was to feed the intelligence which I provided into the evidence considered for ongoing audit work on governance and community engagement. I now request any information you can provide about how this was done. I also request copies of any correspondence you sent to Dundee City Council concerning 219-245 Blackness Road and the processes surrounding the demolition decision.

I hope you will be able to answer this without invoking the Freedom of Information legislation. However, if necessary, please regard this as a freedom of information request.

Response

Category of response: Not held

Exemption applied: 17


This email is to acknowledge and respond to your Freedom of Information request dated 30 July 2019.

On 17 May 2018 we explained in an email to you, that after careful consideration of the information, the audit team will not carry out specific work on this issue and I can confirm that this is still the case.

The auditor considers the information, along with a range of other information, when planning what audit work to perform at the council. As per our issues of concern flow chart

The auditor has confirmed that the intelligence you provided has been considered as part of their ongoing audit work on governance and community engagement. The 2017/18 Annual Audit Report was issued in September 2018 and included comments on the council’s governance arrangements but no specific reference to Blackness Road.

The 2018/19 Annual Audit Report will be issued in September 2019, this will include comments on the council’s governance arrangements and reference to the Scottish Housing Regulator’s conclusion on the community consultation relating to Blackness Road. As well as the coverage in annual audit reports, governance and community engagement will be commented on in a Best Value Assurance Report to be published on the council in 2021.

The audit team have confirmed that no correspondence has been sent to Dundee City Council concerning 219-245 Blackness Road and the processes surrounding the demolition decision and therefore, under section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 Audit Scotland does not hold the information requested.

Royal Hospital for Sick Children

Request

Ref: 683

Received: 6 August 2019
Responded: 6 August 2019

NHS Lothian’s Board Papers for the meeting on 26 June 2019 made reference to project commissioned by Audit Scotland relating to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children Settlement Agreement and the expectation that this would conclude in June.

Under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 could I please request a copy of the final report and/or outcomes of the project.

Under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act I understand that you have 20 working days to provide me with the information and so I expect to receive your response by no later than 3 September 2019.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


This email is to acknowledge and respond to your Freedom of information request dated 6 August 2019.

Please see the press release issued today which I believe is the report you are looking for.

Royal Hospital for Children and Young People – For immediate release

In light of the ongoing public interest in the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Audit Scotland is today (6 August) publishing the Annual Audit Report (AAR) on NHS Lothian.

Pars 163 to 175 of the report cover a high level review of the arrangements around the settlement agreement between NHS Lothian and the contractor, IHS Lothian Ltd, and consider project governance and value for money. The Auditor General for Scotland asked Scott Moncrieff, the external auditors of NHS Lothian, to carry out the review to provide assurance in this area.

The report – as with all health AARs – was issued to NHS Lothian’s board and the Auditor General at the end of June in line with the deadline for NHS audits, and would normally be published by Audit Scotland in September. This gap between the completion of the AAR and publication gives the Auditor General time to consider whether to bring any issues to the attention of Parliament through an accompanying Section 22 report.

However, given the high levels of interest in the new children’s hospital, the Auditor General is making the report available now.

Caroline Gardner, Auditor General for Scotland, said: “We have continued to monitor events since the annual audit report was issued and will be taking a close interest in the NHS safety review’s findings and KPMG’s report on the governance of the project.”

ENDS

Notes to editor:

  • The review work by Scott Moncrieff was conducted earlier this year and the auditors were not aware of the subsequent issues that arose at the children’s hospital in early July.

Transfer of assets from Monifieth to Dundee City Council

Request

Ref: 728

Received: 20 September 2019
Responded: 26 September 2019

I am investigating the transfer of assets on the boundary changes from Monifieth to Dundee City Council. In particular the Monifieth Common Good Fund which held both property, land and a healthy bank balance. I have gathered information from a report compiled in 2007 by Andy Wightman & James Perman on the subject of Common Good Funds held in Scotland.

There was a recommendation in the report that there was discrepancies on how the transfer of boundary changes were administered it led to some councils being held accountable given the millions of pounds involved throughput Scotland.

I have contacted both Dundee Council and Angus Council who were both very vague in trying to deal with my enquiry.

Given that an investigation was recommended I would be pleased if you can provide any facts or documents relating to the transfer of Monifieth Burgh Council to Dundee City Council on the 16th May 1975.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


This email is to acknowledge and respond to your Freedom of Information requested dated 20 September 2019.

We have searched our records and are unable to find the information you are looking for. Therefore, under section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 Audit Scotland does not hold the information requested.

For information I can tell how Common good funds are audited now. In part it depends whether the council has registered the Common Good as a charity or not. If not a registered charity, the only requirement is a disclosure in the council’s own accounts – see section 11 on trust funds generally in this guidance.

I hope the attached guidance notes are of help.

 Download Audit of 2018/19 annual accounts (local government)- other financial statement areas - PDF 399Kb

 Download Audit of 2018/19 annual accounts (local government) - section 106 charities - PDF 350Kb

Procurement strategies and G Cloud

Request

Ref: 731

Received: 23 September 2019
Responded: 26 September 2019

I hope you can help me with an exercise we are conducting, to understand more about the Procurement Strategies in the Public Sector; specifically within Local Authorities and around the take up of G Cloud.

The information you provide as part of this Freedom of Information exercise will help us to understand the most appropriate way of interacting with Local Authorities in their buying cycles.

Please could you answer the following questions and respond via email to foi.request@hornbill.com

  1. Is your current IT Service Management function and associated software application based in house or Outsourced to a 3rd Party?
  2. Please provide the full name and version of the ITSM software application in use?
  3. What is the lifetime value of the contract and over how many years?
  4. As part of the existing contract how many support operatives (agents) are licenced/subscribed to use the solution? (These are individuals who work on the desk in resolver groups, not customers using a Self-Service function).
  5. When is the contract due for renewal?
  6. How was the current solution procured – directly with the Vendor, through a Framework or via G Cloud?
  7. What are your published procurement thresholds for tendering purposes?
  8. What is the Authority’s strategy with regards to Cloud solutions as opposed to In House installations?
  9. Has the organisation ever procured through the G Cloud Framework?

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


This email is to acknowledge and respond to your Freedom of Information request dated 23 September 2019. For ease I have added our response to the question in your email below.

I hope you can help me with an exercise we are conducting, to understand more about the Procurement Strategies in the Public Sector; specifically within Local Authorities and around the take up of G Cloud.

The information you provide as part of this Freedom of Information exercise will help us to understand the most appropriate way of interacting with Local Authorities in their buying cycles.

Please could you answer the following questions and respond via email to foi.request@hornbill.com

  1. Is your current IT Service Management function and associated software application based in house or Outsourced to a 3rd Party?
    Cloud hosted by 3rd party
  2. Please provide the full name and version of the ITSM software application in use?
    Nethelpdesk (cloud so current vendor deployed version)
  3. What is the lifetime value of the contract and over how many years?
    Rolling contract can cancel when we want
  4. As part of the existing contract how many support operatives (agents) are licenced/subscribed to use the solution? (These are individuals who work on the desk in resolver groups, not customers using a Self-Service function).
    10
  5. When is the contract due for renewal?
    As answer 3 when we choose to stop rolling contract
  6. How was the current solution procured – directly with the Vendor, through a Framework or via G Cloud?
    GCloud
  7. What are your published procurement thresholds for tendering purposes?
    https://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/foi/docs/procurement_handbook.pdf
  8. What is the Authority’s strategy with regards to Cloud solutions as opposed to In House installations?
    https://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/uploads/docs/um/digital_services_strategy_18-21.pdf
  9. Has the organisation ever procured through the G Cloud Framework?
    Yes

Auditing of Calmac Ferries, David MacBrayne and CMAL

Request

Ref: 714

Received: 6 September 2019
Responded: 19 September 2019

I am seeking the following information; are the above three quangos, wholly owned by Scottish ministers, in the list of public bodies audited by Audit Scotland? If not , why not?

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


  • Calmac Ferries Ltd is one of a group of companies of which David MacBrayne Ltd is the parent company.
  • Both David MacBrayne and CMAL are public corporations whose sole shareholder is the Scottish Ministers.
  • David MacBrayne and CMAL are responsible for appointing their own auditors of their accounts.
  • Audit Scotland does not generally audit the accounts of public corporations. The main exception to this is Scottish Water, which is the responsibility of the AGS to audit. The reason for this is largely historic – go back 25 years and water services were provided by councils. The predecessor bodies from which David MacBrayne and CMAL emerged were private sector companies but were nationalised in the 1960s. However, we do have powers under S.23 of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act to look at issues of economy, efficiency and effectiveness in both bodies. Said powers are made under SSI number 389 of 2010.
  • Transport Scotland provides loans to CMAL in order for it to build ferries. It also provides grant to CalMac to provide ferry services on the Clyde and Hebrides. Audit Scotland audits the accounts of Transport Scotland.

For further information you may be interested in our October 2017 ferry services performance audit report https://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/report/transport-scotlands-ferry-services

Telephone maintenance contract

Request

Ref: 710

Received: 2 September 2019
Responded: 5 September 2019

I would like to request information under the Freedom of Information Act. The information that I require relates to a specific telephone maintenance contract.

The contract information sent by the organisation previously has now expired please can you provide me with a new update of the telephone maintenance contract:

Please can you send me the following contract information with regards to the organisation’s telephone system maintenance contract (VOIP or PBX, other) for hardware and Software maintenance and support:

  1. Contract Type: Maintenance, Managed, Shared (If so please state orgs)
    Managed
  2. Existing Supplier: If there is more than one supplier please split each contract up individually.
    GCI
  3. Annual Average Spend: The annual average spend for this contract and please provide the average spend over the past 3 years for each provider
    £56,376.29
  4. Hardware Brand: The primary hardware brand of the organisation’s telephone system.
    Polycom
  5. Number of telephone users:
    300
  6. Contract Duration: please include any extension periods.
    3 years
  7. Contract Expiry Date: Please provide me with the day/month/year.
    October 2019
  8. Contract Review Date: Please provide me with the day/month/year.
    September 2019
  9. Application(s) running on PBX/VOIP systems: Applications that run on the actual PBX or VOIP system. E.g. Contact Centre, Communication Manager.
    Skype for business
  10. Telephone System Type: PBX, VOIP, Lync etc
    Skype for business
  11. Contract Description: Please provide me with a brief description of the overall service provided under this contract. Hosted
    Skype for business
  12. Go to Market: How where these services procured, please provide me with either the tender notice or the framework reference number. Please specify if procured through other routes.
    Gcloud
  13. Contact Detail: Of the person from with the organisation responsible for each contract full Contact details including full name, job title, direct contact number and direct email address.
    David McGurk. Service Delivery Manager, dmcgurck@audit-scotland.gov.uk, 0131 625 1500

If the service support area has more than one provider for telephone maintenance then can you please split each contract up individually for each provider.

If the contract is a managed service or is a contract that provides more than just telephone maintenance please can you send me all of the information specified above including the person from with the organisation responsible for that particular contract.

If the maintenance for telephone systems is maintained in-house please can you provide me with:

  1. Number of telephone Users:
  2. Hardware Brand: The primary hardware brand of the organisation’s telephone system.
  3. Application(s) running on PBX/VOIP systems: Applications that run on the actual PBX or VOIP system. E.g. Contact Centre, Communication Manager.
  4. Contact Detail: Of the person from with the organisation responsible for telephone maintenance full Contact details including full name, job title, direct contact number and direct email address.

Also if the contract is due to expire please provide me with the likely outcome of the expiring contract.

If this is a new contract or a new supplier please can you provide me with a short list of suppliers that bid on this service/support contract?

I’m happy to receive this information on an email.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


This email is to acknowledge and respond to your Freedom of Information request dated 02 September 2019. For ease I have include our response in your email.

Scottish Government

Request

Ref: 736

Received: 28 September 2019
Responded: 24 October 2019

Last year Scotland’s Auditor General said Nicola Sturgeon’s government needed to be more open about its loans to private firms. In the last few days a similar announcement was made, saying that Parliament needed better information to be able to better scrutinise ministers' financial decision-making and to ensure value for money is achieved from a limited budget pot.

What methods does the auditor general use to monitor the response to her reviews and will she publish all correspondence to and from the Scottish government on this matter.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


This email is in response to your Freedom of Information request dated 28 September 2019.

Each year, Audit Scotland carries out the audit of the Scottish Government’s consolidated accounts on behalf of the Auditor General for Scotland. In conducting the audit, auditors are required to make judgements on four key areas: financial management, financial reporting, governance and transparency and value for money as outlined in the Code of Audit Practice. In our report on the 2017/18 audit of the Scottish Government consolidated accounts, we reported that:

“There is a need for the Scottish Government to be more transparent about its overall approach in providing significant public funds to support private companies. While the business cases for loan support were clear, there is no framework in place to support the Government's decision making or approach in providing loans to private companies. The Scottish Government should develop a framework that clearly outlines its role in financial interventions in private companies to support decision making over where, when and at what level to invest. Such a framework should provide clear information on financial capacity, risk tolerance and expected outcomes. In doing so, the Scottish Government will provide the Parliament with greater assurance and better information over its strategic objectives in entering these agreements and allow for greater scrutiny of the risks and opportunities that exist, including the opportunity costs involved.”

In our 2018/19 audit, we considered progress against this recommendation. We found that the Scottish Government had not yet published a framework in line with our recommendation. We reported this to the Scottish Government in our draft report on 11 September 2019. The draft report included the following text:

“In recent years, the Scottish Government has taken a direct role in providing financial support to private companies. In 2018/19, the Scottish Government provided a further loan of £30 million to Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) in addition to a loan of £15 million in 2017/18. The Scottish Government impaired the value of the loans to nil at the end of the financial year due to the challenging financial position of FMEL. The valuation of loans and guarantees to other private companies, such as Burntisland Fabrications Ltd and Prestwick Airport, also declined significantly during 2018/19. The Scottish Government has not yet implemented my recommendation to develop a framework to clearly outline its role in financial interventions in private companies.” And…

“The Scottish Government has not yet implemented a framework to clearly outline its role in financial interventions in private companies. Last year, I highlighted the need for the Scottish Government to be more transparent about its overall approach in providing significant public funds to support private companies. This included a recommendation that the Scottish Government should develop a framework that clearly outlines its role in financial interventions in private companies to support decision making over where, when and at what level to invest. Such a framework should provide clear information on financial capacity, risk tolerance and expected outcomes. In doing so, the Scottish Government will provide the Parliament with greater assurance and better information over its strategic objectives in entering these agreements and allow for greater scrutiny of the risks and opportunities that exist, including the opportunity costs involved.” And…

“My audit work has highlighted areas for improvement to help support the Parliament and the public in their scrutiny of public finances in this new environment. This includes recommendations from previous audit work where action remains outstanding. The Scottish Government should:

  • Develop a framework outlining its role in financial interventions in private companies covering financial capacity, risk tolerance and expected outcomes.”

On 18 September 2019, we received back comments on the draft report from the Scottish Government. In relation to the points above, the Scottish Government made the following comment:

“The response to the recommendation referenced in this paragraph noted that:

  • Scottish Ministers make decisions in accordance with policy objectives and alignment with the Government Economic Strategy and to respond to particular, often rapidly evolving, needs and circumstances.
  • While there is not a specific framework for decision-making on situations of financial intervention, the decision-making in relation to private companies takes place within the SG’s overall governance arrangements and in particular the framework in the Scottish Public Finance Manual for all decisions on the use of resources to ensure regularity, propriety and value for money (as summarised in the Medium Term Financial Strategy published in May 2018):
  • Internal guidance already exists to steer decision-making by Accountable Officers in making recommendations to Ministers in business intervention situations, taking account of the policy and legislative frameworks/guidance set out above.

The commitment was that this internal guidance would be revised for publication as part of the wider review of the Scottish Public Finance Manual that was underway. Updates to SGAAC have informed of progress in sharing and refining material in the light of experience and the guidance is now published within the Scottish Public Finance Manual and is available at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-public-finance-manual/borrowing-lending-and-investment/borrowing-lending-and-investment/

Grateful if this paragraph could be removed or changed to acknowledge this, please. Perhaps wording along the following lines:

“The Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM) was updated in August 2019, as part of a wider quarterly update, to include the additional considerations incumbent on Accountable Officers and satisfying the previous year's audit recommendation. The SPFM is the most appropriate vehicle with which to set out these considerations as it sets the wider framework for "the proper handling and reporting of public funds".”

Details of our final judgement can be found in the 2018/19 audit of consolidated accounts report, specifically page 5 and paragraph 26.

 

Audit, draft and correspondence

Dundee City Council

Request

Ref: 676

Received: 30 July 2019
Responded: 2 August 2019

I have now had confirmation from the Scottish Housing Regulator that Dundee City Council had, in the Regulator's view, a legal duty to consult the Dundee Federation of Tenants before agreeing to demolish tenements in Blackness Road. I understand Lynn Sweeney from the Housing Regulator discussed issues concerning Blackness Road with Audit Scotland on a number of occasions.

Your decision was to feed the intelligence which I provided into the evidence considered for ongoing audit work on governance and community engagement. I now request any information you can provide about how this was done. I also request copies of any correspondence you sent to Dundee City Council concerning 219-245 Blackness Road and the processes surrounding the demolition decision.

I hope you will be able to answer this without invoking the Freedom of Information legislation. However, if necessary, please regard this as a freedom of information request.

Response

Category of response: Not held

Exemption applied: 17


This email is to acknowledge and respond to your Freedom of Information request dated 30 July 2019.

On 17 May 2018 we explained in an email to you, that after careful consideration of the information, the audit team will not carry out specific work on this issue and I can confirm that this is still the case.

The auditor considers the information, along with a range of other information, when planning what audit work to perform at the council. As per our issues of concern flow chart

The auditor has confirmed that the intelligence you provided has been considered as part of their ongoing audit work on governance and community engagement. The 2017/18 Annual Audit Report was issued in September 2018 and included comments on the council’s governance arrangements but no specific reference to Blackness Road.

The 2018/19 Annual Audit Report will be issued in September 2019, this will include comments on the council’s governance arrangements and reference to the Scottish Housing Regulator’s conclusion on the community consultation relating to Blackness Road. As well as the coverage in annual audit reports, governance and community engagement will be commented on in a Best Value Assurance Report to be published on the council in 2021.

The audit team have confirmed that no correspondence has been sent to Dundee City Council concerning 219-245 Blackness Road and the processes surrounding the demolition decision and therefore, under section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 Audit Scotland does not hold the information requested.

Auditing of Calmac Ferries, David MacBrayne and CMAL

Request

Ref: 714

Received: 6 September 2019
Responded: 19 September 2019

I am seeking the following information; are the above three quangos, wholly owned by Scottish ministers, in the list of public bodies audited by Audit Scotland? If not , why not?

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


  • Calmac Ferries Ltd is one of a group of companies of which David MacBrayne Ltd is the parent company.
  • Both David MacBrayne and CMAL are public corporations whose sole shareholder is the Scottish Ministers.
  • David MacBrayne and CMAL are responsible for appointing their own auditors of their accounts.
  • Audit Scotland does not generally audit the accounts of public corporations. The main exception to this is Scottish Water, which is the responsibility of the AGS to audit. The reason for this is largely historic – go back 25 years and water services were provided by councils. The predecessor bodies from which David MacBrayne and CMAL emerged were private sector companies but were nationalised in the 1960s. However, we do have powers under S.23 of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act to look at issues of economy, efficiency and effectiveness in both bodies. Said powers are made under SSI number 389 of 2010.
  • Transport Scotland provides loans to CMAL in order for it to build ferries. It also provides grant to CalMac to provide ferry services on the Clyde and Hebrides. Audit Scotland audits the accounts of Transport Scotland.

For further information you may be interested in our October 2017 ferry services performance audit report https://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/report/transport-scotlands-ferry-services

Scottish Government

Request

Ref: 736

Received: 28 September 2019
Responded: 24 October 2019

Last year Scotland’s Auditor General said Nicola Sturgeon’s government needed to be more open about its loans to private firms. In the last few days a similar announcement was made, saying that Parliament needed better information to be able to better scrutinise ministers' financial decision-making and to ensure value for money is achieved from a limited budget pot.

What methods does the auditor general use to monitor the response to her reviews and will she publish all correspondence to and from the Scottish government on this matter.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


This email is in response to your Freedom of Information request dated 28 September 2019.

Each year, Audit Scotland carries out the audit of the Scottish Government’s consolidated accounts on behalf of the Auditor General for Scotland. In conducting the audit, auditors are required to make judgements on four key areas: financial management, financial reporting, governance and transparency and value for money as outlined in the Code of Audit Practice. In our report on the 2017/18 audit of the Scottish Government consolidated accounts, we reported that:

“There is a need for the Scottish Government to be more transparent about its overall approach in providing significant public funds to support private companies. While the business cases for loan support were clear, there is no framework in place to support the Government's decision making or approach in providing loans to private companies. The Scottish Government should develop a framework that clearly outlines its role in financial interventions in private companies to support decision making over where, when and at what level to invest. Such a framework should provide clear information on financial capacity, risk tolerance and expected outcomes. In doing so, the Scottish Government will provide the Parliament with greater assurance and better information over its strategic objectives in entering these agreements and allow for greater scrutiny of the risks and opportunities that exist, including the opportunity costs involved.”

In our 2018/19 audit, we considered progress against this recommendation. We found that the Scottish Government had not yet published a framework in line with our recommendation. We reported this to the Scottish Government in our draft report on 11 September 2019. The draft report included the following text:

“In recent years, the Scottish Government has taken a direct role in providing financial support to private companies. In 2018/19, the Scottish Government provided a further loan of £30 million to Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) in addition to a loan of £15 million in 2017/18. The Scottish Government impaired the value of the loans to nil at the end of the financial year due to the challenging financial position of FMEL. The valuation of loans and guarantees to other private companies, such as Burntisland Fabrications Ltd and Prestwick Airport, also declined significantly during 2018/19. The Scottish Government has not yet implemented my recommendation to develop a framework to clearly outline its role in financial interventions in private companies.” And…

“The Scottish Government has not yet implemented a framework to clearly outline its role in financial interventions in private companies. Last year, I highlighted the need for the Scottish Government to be more transparent about its overall approach in providing significant public funds to support private companies. This included a recommendation that the Scottish Government should develop a framework that clearly outlines its role in financial interventions in private companies to support decision making over where, when and at what level to invest. Such a framework should provide clear information on financial capacity, risk tolerance and expected outcomes. In doing so, the Scottish Government will provide the Parliament with greater assurance and better information over its strategic objectives in entering these agreements and allow for greater scrutiny of the risks and opportunities that exist, including the opportunity costs involved.” And…

“My audit work has highlighted areas for improvement to help support the Parliament and the public in their scrutiny of public finances in this new environment. This includes recommendations from previous audit work where action remains outstanding. The Scottish Government should:

  • Develop a framework outlining its role in financial interventions in private companies covering financial capacity, risk tolerance and expected outcomes.”

On 18 September 2019, we received back comments on the draft report from the Scottish Government. In relation to the points above, the Scottish Government made the following comment:

“The response to the recommendation referenced in this paragraph noted that:

  • Scottish Ministers make decisions in accordance with policy objectives and alignment with the Government Economic Strategy and to respond to particular, often rapidly evolving, needs and circumstances.
  • While there is not a specific framework for decision-making on situations of financial intervention, the decision-making in relation to private companies takes place within the SG’s overall governance arrangements and in particular the framework in the Scottish Public Finance Manual for all decisions on the use of resources to ensure regularity, propriety and value for money (as summarised in the Medium Term Financial Strategy published in May 2018):
  • Internal guidance already exists to steer decision-making by Accountable Officers in making recommendations to Ministers in business intervention situations, taking account of the policy and legislative frameworks/guidance set out above.

The commitment was that this internal guidance would be revised for publication as part of the wider review of the Scottish Public Finance Manual that was underway. Updates to SGAAC have informed of progress in sharing and refining material in the light of experience and the guidance is now published within the Scottish Public Finance Manual and is available at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-public-finance-manual/borrowing-lending-and-investment/borrowing-lending-and-investment/

Grateful if this paragraph could be removed or changed to acknowledge this, please. Perhaps wording along the following lines:

“The Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM) was updated in August 2019, as part of a wider quarterly update, to include the additional considerations incumbent on Accountable Officers and satisfying the previous year's audit recommendation. The SPFM is the most appropriate vehicle with which to set out these considerations as it sets the wider framework for "the proper handling and reporting of public funds".”

Details of our final judgement can be found in the 2018/19 audit of consolidated accounts report, specifically page 5 and paragraph 26.

 

Audit guidance

Transfer of assets from Monifieth to Dundee City Council

Request

Ref: 728

Received: 20 September 2019
Responded: 26 September 2019

I am investigating the transfer of assets on the boundary changes from Monifieth to Dundee City Council. In particular the Monifieth Common Good Fund which held both property, land and a healthy bank balance. I have gathered information from a report compiled in 2007 by Andy Wightman & James Perman on the subject of Common Good Funds held in Scotland.

There was a recommendation in the report that there was discrepancies on how the transfer of boundary changes were administered it led to some councils being held accountable given the millions of pounds involved throughput Scotland.

I have contacted both Dundee Council and Angus Council who were both very vague in trying to deal with my enquiry.

Given that an investigation was recommended I would be pleased if you can provide any facts or documents relating to the transfer of Monifieth Burgh Council to Dundee City Council on the 16th May 1975.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


This email is to acknowledge and respond to your Freedom of Information requested dated 20 September 2019.

We have searched our records and are unable to find the information you are looking for. Therefore, under section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 Audit Scotland does not hold the information requested.

For information I can tell how Common good funds are audited now. In part it depends whether the council has registered the Common Good as a charity or not. If not a registered charity, the only requirement is a disclosure in the council’s own accounts – see section 11 on trust funds generally in this guidance.

I hope the attached guidance notes are of help.

 Download Audit of 2018/19 annual accounts (local government)- other financial statement areas - PDF 399Kb

 Download Audit of 2018/19 annual accounts (local government) - section 106 charities - PDF 350Kb

Audit Scotland staff

Best Companies survey

Request

Ref: 567

Received: 11 April 2019
Responded: 6 May 2019

Please can you supply the Best Companies survey that was circulated across your organisation last year. I do not require the findings of the survey only the questions asked.

If, for any reason, my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you justify all deletions and redactions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. I will also expect you to release all non-exempt material. I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive fees. I would prefer to receive this information electronically. If you require any clarification I expect you to contact me to provide advice and assistance if you find any aspect of my FOI request problematic. Please acknowledge receipt of this request, and I look forward to receiving this information in the near future.

Response

Category of response: Refusal

Exemption applied: FOISA 33 (1) (B)


This email is in reply to your Freedom of Information request dated 11 April 2019 regarding the Best Companies survey. In your request you are asking for the Best Company survey questions used in the 2018 survey.

We are withholding this information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) section 33 (1b), the commercial interest and the economy exemption. The reason for withholding the information is that disclosure of the information would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interest of any person (including, without prejudice to that generality , a Scottish public authority).

The copyright and intellectual property of the questions are invested with Best Companies, the release of those questions would prejudice their commercial interests. The development of the survey methodology and questions are the result of significant investment and they form a key aspect of their intellectual property and are additionally covered by copyright and therefore protected against unauthorised use.

We have considered the public interest and whether on balance that it is in the public interest to withhold or release the information being requested. FOISA does not define the public interest but it is described elsewhere as “something which is of serious concern and benefit to the public”, not merely something of individual interest. It has also been described as something that is “in the interest of the public”, not merely “of interest to the public.” In other words, it serves the interests of the public.

While the information may be of interest to you, we believe on balance that the public is best served by withholding the requested information.

Any queries you may have concerning the Best Companies survey should be directed to them and I have included their contact details:

Best Companies Ltd,
Hamilton House, Rackery Lane, Llay, Wrexham, United Kingdom LL12 0PB
Email enquiries@b.co.uk

 

Governance

Best Companies survey

Request

Ref: 567

Received: 11 April 2019
Responded: 6 May 2019

Please can you supply the Best Companies survey that was circulated across your organisation last year. I do not require the findings of the survey only the questions asked.

If, for any reason, my request is denied in whole or in part, I ask that you justify all deletions and redactions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. I will also expect you to release all non-exempt material. I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive fees. I would prefer to receive this information electronically. If you require any clarification I expect you to contact me to provide advice and assistance if you find any aspect of my FOI request problematic. Please acknowledge receipt of this request, and I look forward to receiving this information in the near future.

Response

Category of response: Refusal

Exemption applied: FOISA 33 (1) (B)


This email is in reply to your Freedom of Information request dated 11 April 2019 regarding the Best Companies survey. In your request you are asking for the Best Company survey questions used in the 2018 survey.

We are withholding this information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) section 33 (1b), the commercial interest and the economy exemption. The reason for withholding the information is that disclosure of the information would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interest of any person (including, without prejudice to that generality , a Scottish public authority).

The copyright and intellectual property of the questions are invested with Best Companies, the release of those questions would prejudice their commercial interests. The development of the survey methodology and questions are the result of significant investment and they form a key aspect of their intellectual property and are additionally covered by copyright and therefore protected against unauthorised use.

We have considered the public interest and whether on balance that it is in the public interest to withhold or release the information being requested. FOISA does not define the public interest but it is described elsewhere as “something which is of serious concern and benefit to the public”, not merely something of individual interest. It has also been described as something that is “in the interest of the public”, not merely “of interest to the public.” In other words, it serves the interests of the public.

While the information may be of interest to you, we believe on balance that the public is best served by withholding the requested information.

Any queries you may have concerning the Best Companies survey should be directed to them and I have included their contact details:

Best Companies Ltd,
Hamilton House, Rackery Lane, Llay, Wrexham, United Kingdom LL12 0PB
Email enquiries@b.co.uk

Selection of members of advisory groups

Request

Ref: 573(17)

Received: 17 April 2019
Responded: 1 May 2019

Audit Scotland use 'Advisors' when it is conducting audits. Can you please provide me with a link to the procedures that you have which ensure that;

  • Advisors do not have a conflict of interest or a potential conflict of interest in relation to the content of the Audit.
  • If there might be a conflict of interest regarding part of an Audit the Advisor is excluded from commenting on that content.

Please also advise;

  • How when an individual may have particular knowledge Audit Scotland decides beween appointing them as an Advisor or taking evidence from them.
  • If it correct that Advisors get a pre-view of the Audit Report and can correct what are believed to be factual errors.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


Thank you for your recent e-mail concerning the selection of members of advisory groups.

Advisory groups are an important part of our performance audit process. These groups are created on a temporary basis for independent advice and feedback to our audit teams undertaking performance audits on behalf of the Auditor General for Scotland and/or the Accounts Commission. The role of the advisory group is, as the name suggests, advisory. The responsibility for the content of audit reports lies solely with Audit Scotland, and we do not always agree with or take on board the views of advisory group members.

We ask people to join our advisory groups because of their individual knowledge and expertise of the subject of the audit or on the basis of the organisations that they work for. This means that on occasion individuals will be invited to serve on advisory groups who are employed by organisations that fall within the scope of the audit in question. For example, civil servants with relevant policy responsibilities may serve on advisory groups while separately providing evidence or being interviewed as part of the audit. This does not create a conflict of interest as, although draft performance audit reports are routinely shared with advisory group members, this is not for factual accuracy checking purposes, it is for the purpose of getting more general feedback on report structure, tone, readability, and the relevance and added value of our improvement recommendations.

We have an entirely separate process for checking the factual accuracy of audit reports with audited bodies which is distinct from the work of audit advisory groups. In common with all other UK public audit agencies that factual accuracy checking process (commonly described as ‘clearance’) operates through the Accountable Officer of the audited body in question.

All of our audits operate under a strict ethical and audit quality framework which obliges Audit Scotland staff to apply professional scepticism throughout all stages of an audit and ensure that our audit reports are supported by a sufficient body of evidence to support our audit judgements. Further information can be found on the Audit Scotland website.

I hope this has answered your query.

ICT internal plans and strategy

Request

Ref: 573(18)

Received: 18 April 2019
Responded: 24 April 2019

I wish to submit a request for some of the organisation’s information around the internal plans and strategy documents around ICT.

The ICT documents I require is the 2019 – onwards. If any of the documents is for example 2017-2020 please make sure that this is the 2019 version of the document. Or the most recent update.

I wish to obtain the following documents:

  • ICT/IM&T/IS Strategy- The IT department strategy or plans, highlights their current and future objectives.
  • ICT Org Chart- A visual document that present the structure of the IT department, please include name and job titles. If this can’t be sent please work towards a structure with job titles.
  • ICT Annual or Business Plan- Similar to the ICT strategy but is more annually focused.
  • ICT Capital Programme/budget- A document that shows financials budget on current and future projects.

If some of these documents are not valid, please state when the 2019 ICT documents are planned to be published.

Please do get back to me if you have further questions or feedback.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


This email is in response to your freedom of information request dated 18 April 2019. In you request you ask for:

  • ICT/IM&T/IS Strategy- The IT department strategy or plans, highlights their current and future objectives
    - See Digital Services Strategy below
  • ICT Org Chart- A visual document that present the structure of the IT department, please include name and job titles. If this can’t be sent please work towards a structure with job titles.
    - See page 18, Digital services strategy below
  • ICT Annual or Business Plan- Similar to the ICT strategy but is more annually focused.
    - Audit Scotland does not have this. The Digital Services Strategy below drives business actions
  • ICT Capital Programme/budget- A document that shows financials budget on current and future projects.
    - 2019/20 budget below

 Download Digital Services Strategy - PDF 1.3Mb

 Download Digital Services budget - PDF 13Kb

 

Procurement and contracts

Selection of members of advisory groups

Request

Ref: 573(17)

Received: 17 April 2019
Responded: 1 May 2019

Audit Scotland use 'Advisors' when it is conducting audits. Can you please provide me with a link to the procedures that you have which ensure that;

  • Advisors do not have a conflict of interest or a potential conflict of interest in relation to the content of the Audit.
  • If there might be a conflict of interest regarding part of an Audit the Advisor is excluded from commenting on that content.

Please also advise;

  • How when an individual may have particular knowledge Audit Scotland decides beween appointing them as an Advisor or taking evidence from them.
  • If it correct that Advisors get a pre-view of the Audit Report and can correct what are believed to be factual errors.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


Thank you for your recent e-mail concerning the selection of members of advisory groups.

Advisory groups are an important part of our performance audit process. These groups are created on a temporary basis for independent advice and feedback to our audit teams undertaking performance audits on behalf of the Auditor General for Scotland and/or the Accounts Commission. The role of the advisory group is, as the name suggests, advisory. The responsibility for the content of audit reports lies solely with Audit Scotland, and we do not always agree with or take on board the views of advisory group members.

We ask people to join our advisory groups because of their individual knowledge and expertise of the subject of the audit or on the basis of the organisations that they work for. This means that on occasion individuals will be invited to serve on advisory groups who are employed by organisations that fall within the scope of the audit in question. For example, civil servants with relevant policy responsibilities may serve on advisory groups while separately providing evidence or being interviewed as part of the audit. This does not create a conflict of interest as, although draft performance audit reports are routinely shared with advisory group members, this is not for factual accuracy checking purposes, it is for the purpose of getting more general feedback on report structure, tone, readability, and the relevance and added value of our improvement recommendations.

We have an entirely separate process for checking the factual accuracy of audit reports with audited bodies which is distinct from the work of audit advisory groups. In common with all other UK public audit agencies that factual accuracy checking process (commonly described as ‘clearance’) operates through the Accountable Officer of the audited body in question.

All of our audits operate under a strict ethical and audit quality framework which obliges Audit Scotland staff to apply professional scepticism throughout all stages of an audit and ensure that our audit reports are supported by a sufficient body of evidence to support our audit judgements. Further information can be found on the Audit Scotland website.

I hope this has answered your query.

ICT internal plans and strategy

Request

Ref: 573(18)

Received: 18 April 2019
Responded: 24 April 2019

I wish to submit a request for some of the organisation’s information around the internal plans and strategy documents around ICT.

The ICT documents I require is the 2019 – onwards. If any of the documents is for example 2017-2020 please make sure that this is the 2019 version of the document. Or the most recent update.

I wish to obtain the following documents:

  • ICT/IM&T/IS Strategy- The IT department strategy or plans, highlights their current and future objectives.
  • ICT Org Chart- A visual document that present the structure of the IT department, please include name and job titles. If this can’t be sent please work towards a structure with job titles.
  • ICT Annual or Business Plan- Similar to the ICT strategy but is more annually focused.
  • ICT Capital Programme/budget- A document that shows financials budget on current and future projects.

If some of these documents are not valid, please state when the 2019 ICT documents are planned to be published.

Please do get back to me if you have further questions or feedback.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


This email is in response to your freedom of information request dated 18 April 2019. In you request you ask for:

  • ICT/IM&T/IS Strategy- The IT department strategy or plans, highlights their current and future objectives
    - See Digital Services Strategy below
  • ICT Org Chart- A visual document that present the structure of the IT department, please include name and job titles. If this can’t be sent please work towards a structure with job titles.
    - See page 18, Digital services strategy below
  • ICT Annual or Business Plan- Similar to the ICT strategy but is more annually focused.
    - Audit Scotland does not have this. The Digital Services Strategy below drives business actions
  • ICT Capital Programme/budget- A document that shows financials budget on current and future projects.
    - 2019/20 budget below

 Download Digital Services Strategy - PDF 1.3Mb

 Download Digital Services budget - PDF 13Kb

CCTV supplier and maintenance

Request

Ref: 613

Received: 28 May 2019
Responded: 28 May 2019

Please can you send me the information stated below:

  • Supplier of the contract for CCTV maintenance and support
  • How much the Organisation spend annually with the supplier? (if multiple suppliers please list the annual spend for each)
  • What is the renewal date of this contract?
  • What is the duration of the contract?
  • What is the review date of this contract? If possible the likely outcome of this review
  • The primary brand of the CCTV equipment. I don’t require the model just the brand. If there is various brands could you please list?
  • What is the total number of cameras in use/under this contract?
  • The description of the services provided under this contract. Please state if this contract includes more than just CCTV services.
  • Contact details of the employee responsible for the contract between the supplier and the organisation. Can you please provide me with their full contact details

If there is no CCTV maintenance contract in place

  • What is the brand of CCTV cameras in use? if there is variety could you please send me a list? I do not need the serial number or model just the brand.
  • How much is the average annual spend on the in-house maintenance?
  • How many cameras are in use?
  • Is there a plan to review this at any point, if so what would the date be?
  • Who is in charge of overseeing the in-house maintenance?

If there is no maintenance contract or in-house maintenance in place, is there a ad-hoc agreement? If yes,

  • Who is the supplier? Is this varies could you please list?
  • What is the brand of CCTV cameras in use? if there is variety could you please send me a list? I do not need the serial number or model just the brand.
  • How many cameras are in use?
  • How much is the average annual spend on the ad-hoc agreement?
  • What is the date it is to be reviewed?

Response

Category of response: Section 17

Exemption applied: None


This email is to acknowledge and respond to your Freedom of Information request dated 28 May 2019. Audit Scotland does not operate CCTV systems and therefore, under section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 Audit Scotland does not hold the information requested.

Contract register

Request

Ref: 619

Received: 3 June 2019
Responded: 4 June 2019

I want to submit a request for some information from the organisation, in relation to their contract’s register. The contract register should display all the organisations existing/live contracts I would like the register to display the following columns/headings:

  1. Contract Reference
  2. Contract Title
  3. Procurement Category
  4. Supplier Name
  5. Spend (Total or Annual)
  6. Contract Duration
  7. Contract Extensions
  8. Contract Starting Date
  9. Expiration Date
  10. Contract Description [Please provide me with as much detail as possible.]
  11. Contact Owner (Full contact details if possible.)
  12. CPV codes/ProClass
  13. Contract Reference

IMPORTANT

  • For those organisation planning to make an exemption, the spend information I have requested is an overall figure and I am not requesting a complete breakdown of services relating to the spend.
  • If the organisation has a CRM system or a similar system there should be a facility to download and extract contract data.
  • You may forward me a Weblink to a portal to download the contract register, please make sure all of the organisation’s contracts are provided as doing prior research I have found that most organisations have only uploaded a small portion of all of their contracts.

Please do not think that this is the only information I require if you could provide me with more information that would be great.

Contract Data/API Contact Details

  1. Can you also provide me with contact details of the person responsible for the actual contract’s register or someone responsible for API? [Name, Job Title, Telephone, Email Address] At the very least provide me with their actual job title.

(Meaning of API “a set of functions and procedures that allow the creation of applications which access the features or data of an operating system, application, or other service.”)

Please provide me with the contract’s register file in an excel format.

Response

Category of response: Exempt

Exemption applied: FOISA 25 (1)


The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 requires public bodies to maintain a contract register providing information about any contracts entered into as a result of a regulated procurement.

The information we hold is publicly available and is therefore exempt information under section 25 (1) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) as information that is otherwise accessible.

However, to assist you in finding the information I have included links and page numbers to the appropriate areas of our website. https://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/about-us/audit-scotland/supplying-audit-scotland

Procurement strategies and G Cloud

Request

Ref: 731

Received: 23 September 2019
Responded: 26 September 2019

I hope you can help me with an exercise we are conducting, to understand more about the Procurement Strategies in the Public Sector; specifically within Local Authorities and around the take up of G Cloud.

The information you provide as part of this Freedom of Information exercise will help us to understand the most appropriate way of interacting with Local Authorities in their buying cycles.

Please could you answer the following questions and respond via email to foi.request@hornbill.com

  1. Is your current IT Service Management function and associated software application based in house or Outsourced to a 3rd Party?
  2. Please provide the full name and version of the ITSM software application in use?
  3. What is the lifetime value of the contract and over how many years?
  4. As part of the existing contract how many support operatives (agents) are licenced/subscribed to use the solution? (These are individuals who work on the desk in resolver groups, not customers using a Self-Service function).
  5. When is the contract due for renewal?
  6. How was the current solution procured – directly with the Vendor, through a Framework or via G Cloud?
  7. What are your published procurement thresholds for tendering purposes?
  8. What is the Authority’s strategy with regards to Cloud solutions as opposed to In House installations?
  9. Has the organisation ever procured through the G Cloud Framework?

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


This email is to acknowledge and respond to your Freedom of Information request dated 23 September 2019. For ease I have added our response to the question in your email below.

I hope you can help me with an exercise we are conducting, to understand more about the Procurement Strategies in the Public Sector; specifically within Local Authorities and around the take up of G Cloud.

The information you provide as part of this Freedom of Information exercise will help us to understand the most appropriate way of interacting with Local Authorities in their buying cycles.

Please could you answer the following questions and respond via email to foi.request@hornbill.com

  1. Is your current IT Service Management function and associated software application based in house or Outsourced to a 3rd Party?
    Cloud hosted by 3rd party
  2. Please provide the full name and version of the ITSM software application in use?
    Nethelpdesk (cloud so current vendor deployed version)
  3. What is the lifetime value of the contract and over how many years?
    Rolling contract can cancel when we want
  4. As part of the existing contract how many support operatives (agents) are licenced/subscribed to use the solution? (These are individuals who work on the desk in resolver groups, not customers using a Self-Service function).
    10
  5. When is the contract due for renewal?
    As answer 3 when we choose to stop rolling contract
  6. How was the current solution procured – directly with the Vendor, through a Framework or via G Cloud?
    GCloud
  7. What are your published procurement thresholds for tendering purposes?
    https://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/foi/docs/procurement_handbook.pdf
  8. What is the Authority’s strategy with regards to Cloud solutions as opposed to In House installations?
    https://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/uploads/docs/um/digital_services_strategy_18-21.pdf
  9. Has the organisation ever procured through the G Cloud Framework?
    Yes

Telephone maintenance contract

Request

Ref: 710

Received: 2 September 2019
Responded: 5 September 2019

I would like to request information under the Freedom of Information Act. The information that I require relates to a specific telephone maintenance contract.

The contract information sent by the organisation previously has now expired please can you provide me with a new update of the telephone maintenance contract:

Please can you send me the following contract information with regards to the organisation’s telephone system maintenance contract (VOIP or PBX, other) for hardware and Software maintenance and support:

  1. Contract Type: Maintenance, Managed, Shared (If so please state orgs)
    Managed
  2. Existing Supplier: If there is more than one supplier please split each contract up individually.
    GCI
  3. Annual Average Spend: The annual average spend for this contract and please provide the average spend over the past 3 years for each provider
    £56,376.29
  4. Hardware Brand: The primary hardware brand of the organisation’s telephone system.
    Polycom
  5. Number of telephone users:
    300
  6. Contract Duration: please include any extension periods.
    3 years
  7. Contract Expiry Date: Please provide me with the day/month/year.
    October 2019
  8. Contract Review Date: Please provide me with the day/month/year.
    September 2019
  9. Application(s) running on PBX/VOIP systems: Applications that run on the actual PBX or VOIP system. E.g. Contact Centre, Communication Manager.
    Skype for business
  10. Telephone System Type: PBX, VOIP, Lync etc
    Skype for business
  11. Contract Description: Please provide me with a brief description of the overall service provided under this contract. Hosted
    Skype for business
  12. Go to Market: How where these services procured, please provide me with either the tender notice or the framework reference number. Please specify if procured through other routes.
    Gcloud
  13. Contact Detail: Of the person from with the organisation responsible for each contract full Contact details including full name, job title, direct contact number and direct email address.
    David McGurk. Service Delivery Manager, dmcgurck@audit-scotland.gov.uk, 0131 625 1500

If the service support area has more than one provider for telephone maintenance then can you please split each contract up individually for each provider.

If the contract is a managed service or is a contract that provides more than just telephone maintenance please can you send me all of the information specified above including the person from with the organisation responsible for that particular contract.

If the maintenance for telephone systems is maintained in-house please can you provide me with:

  1. Number of telephone Users:
  2. Hardware Brand: The primary hardware brand of the organisation’s telephone system.
  3. Application(s) running on PBX/VOIP systems: Applications that run on the actual PBX or VOIP system. E.g. Contact Centre, Communication Manager.
  4. Contact Detail: Of the person from with the organisation responsible for telephone maintenance full Contact details including full name, job title, direct contact number and direct email address.

Also if the contract is due to expire please provide me with the likely outcome of the expiring contract.

If this is a new contract or a new supplier please can you provide me with a short list of suppliers that bid on this service/support contract?

I’m happy to receive this information on an email.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


This email is to acknowledge and respond to your Freedom of Information request dated 02 September 2019. For ease I have include our response in your email.

 

Reports

Transfer of assets from Monifieth to Dundee City Council

Request

Ref: 728

Received: 20 September 2019
Responded: 26 September 2019

I am investigating the transfer of assets on the boundary changes from Monifieth to Dundee City Council. In particular the Monifieth Common Good Fund which held both property, land and a healthy bank balance. I have gathered information from a report compiled in 2007 by Andy Wightman & James Perman on the subject of Common Good Funds held in Scotland.

There was a recommendation in the report that there was discrepancies on how the transfer of boundary changes were administered it led to some councils being held accountable given the millions of pounds involved throughput Scotland.

I have contacted both Dundee Council and Angus Council who were both very vague in trying to deal with my enquiry.

Given that an investigation was recommended I would be pleased if you can provide any facts or documents relating to the transfer of Monifieth Burgh Council to Dundee City Council on the 16th May 1975.

Response

Category of response: In full

Exemption applied: None


This email is to acknowledge and respond to your Freedom of Information requested dated 20 September 2019.

We have searched our records and are unable to find the information you are looking for. Therefore, under section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 Audit Scotland does not hold the information requested.

For information I can tell how Common good funds are audited now. In part it depends whether the council has registered the Common Good as a charity or not. If not a registered charity, the only requirement is a disclosure in the council’s own accounts – see section 11 on trust funds generally in this guidance.

I hope the attached guidance notes are of help.

 Download Audit of 2018/19 annual accounts (local government)- other financial statement areas - PDF 399Kb

 Download Audit of 2018/19 annual accounts (local government) - section 106 charities - PDF 350Kb

Previous years

 Download disclosure log up to March 2019 - PDF 167Kb

 

Contact us

To request information, download and complete our Request for information form (DOC 191Kb) - Opens in a new window. You can contact us for advice and assistance with any aspect of this publication scheme. We can also advise you how to ask for information that we do not publish or how to complain if you are dissatisfied with any aspect of this publication scheme. Contact us using the information below:

Tel: 0131 625 1500 
Email: info@audit-scotland.gov.uk

In writing: 
Corporate Governance Manager
Audit Scotland
4th Floor
102 West Port
Edinburgh
EH3 9DN