Top Scots audit posts could be combined

15 Jul 99
Scotland's new auditor general could also combine the role of controller of audit under proposals put forward by Scottish finance minister Jack McConnell.

16 July 1999

The original proposal was for the auditor general to be the chief executive of Audit Scotland, a new body that would merge most of the staff of the Accounts Commission with all those of the National Audit Office in Scotland. The commission would remain as a purchasing agency headed by a less influential controller of audit.

It was never envisaged that the two roles would be held by one person. But a memorandum from McConnell puts this forward as one of two options.

'We are encountering some practical difficulties in putting together detailed proposals for implementation which would both reduce the bureaucracy to a minimum and preserve the independence of both the auditor general and the Accounts Commission,' McConnell writes.

He suggests the combined role as one solution to this problem. Another would be to have the chief executive of Audit Scotland appointed as controller of audit. But McConnell accepts that this would not fulfil the Scottish Parliament's obligations under the 1998 Scotland Act.

Neither of the two front-runners for the auditor general job – Bob Black of the Accounts Commission and Martin Pfleger of the NAO – would comment.


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