Scrutiny and Audit

What is the Scrutiny and Audit Committee?

The Scrutiny and Audit Committee is a central committee of Aberdeenshire Council and is made up of 12 councillors, working in a non-political, cross-party way.

The Committee is chaired by Councillor Gillian Owen and Councillor Ross Cassie is vice-chair. Other members are Cllrs Peter Bellarby, Nan Cullinane, Sandy Duncan, Katrina Farquhar, Jim Ingram, Gwyneth Petrie, Cryle Shand, Ian Tait, and Michael Watt.

What does the Scrutiny and Audit Committee do?

The Scrutiny and Audit Commitee has a unique role within Aberdeenshire Council.

This document outlines the Committee's roles and responsibilities in more detail, and the short video below highlights some of the work of the committee.

The Committee has adopted the following principles of operation:

  • Open
  • Transparent
  • Investigative
  • Deliberate
  • Evidence-based
  • Accountable
  • Responsive
  • Inclusive
  • Influencing
  • Flexible
  • Pro-active
  • Non-partisan
  • Outward-looking

The Committee has formal audit responsibilities which include:

  • Reviewing financial statements and compliance with relevant codes of practice
  • Reviewing the activities of Internal Audit including its annual work programme
  • Managing all aspects of the Council's relationship with the External Auditors
  • Reviewing internal control systems and risk assessment procedures.

In April 2010, additional powers were given to the Committee to (a) review the treasury management policy and procedures and make recommendations to the responsible body and (b) review and challenge treasury management activities within the context of the risk management policy.

In March 2011, the Committee was given an additional role to monitor service savings across the council’s various functions.

These additional functions are carried out in the formal meetings of the Committee.

The Committee Handbook was updated in 2014 to properly reflect these changes and will be further developed in early 2016. The handbook is available at the bottom of this page, under "further information".

Having your say: suggesting topics for investigation

Every year, the Scrutiny and Audit Committee asks Councillors and Senior Officers to suggest areas where investigation of current council policies, or practices, might be helpful – since 2015, members of the public have also been invited to nominate potential topics.

In June 2015, the Committee met to consider 25 suggestions which might form the focus of its work for 2015/16.  Four options were considered: (a) formal investigation; (b) workshop; (c) report to Committee; and (d) no action.

It was agreed that the first investigation topic for 2015/16 be The Contracts Register, with the evidence gathering and consideration planned to start after recess, in August 2015.  It is hoped that this work will be concluded to report to Council in spring 2016. 

Workshops were held on (a) Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education/ Education Scotland and Care Commission external inspection reports, and what the council does with them; (b) the Council’s Risk Register and supporting processes; (c) Key Worker Housing;  and (d) Teacher Recruitment.  The workshop outcomes were reported to formal Committee for consideration of any further action, including escalation to formal investigation, required. Noting actions which officers were already progressing, no further formal action was deemed necessary.

In addition, initial reports have been requested on topics where the Committee wants to have a greater understanding of the issues involved before considering appropriate action.  Subjects reported to date include an update on the Council’s Economic Development function, focusing on regeneration and projects such as Energetica; the maintenance of Council House gardens; and historic aspects of Aberdeenshire towns. Following consideration of an initial report, a workshop on the historic aspects of Aberdeenshire towns is to be held in February 2016.

A full list of the topics proposed, and the Committee’s decisions on what to do with them, may be found here.

The Committee remains open to considering additional areas of work at all times, and may, on occasion, respond to these as priorities above scheduled work programme.  Should you have a suggestion, please contact Jan McRobbie, Support Officer, Scrutiny and Audit, at jan.mcrobbie@aberdeenshire.gov.uk , or on 01224 664617. 

Committee Dates

View the Scrutiny and Audit Committee Dates.

Investigations (2015/16)

The 27th investigation - "Alternative Delivery Models", was reported to Council on 18 June 2015, when an action plan, prepared by Strategic Leadership Team, responding to the recommendations made by the Scrutiny and Audit Commitee, was approved. The report may be found below.

From September 2015, the Committee has worked on the Contracts Register investigation. It is intended to report to Council in spring 2016, when all the evidence gathering has been concluded and information considered.

Investigation Reports and approved evidence to date

Further Information

SAC Annual Report 2015/16

SAC handbook 2014 FINALISED

CIPFA Self Assessment 2012

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