Publication: Annual report 2023/24

by Audit Scotland

Audit Scotland's Annual report and accounts 2023/24. Our vision is that public money is well spent to meet the needs of Scotland's people. 

Annual report and accounts 2023/24

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2023/24 in numbers

  • 228 Accounts audited
  • 13 National and local performance reports
  • 10 Briefings, reports and blogs
  • 17 Technical guides
  • £50.2bn Payments under Comptroller function


Over recent years, the Auditor General, the Accounts Commission, Audit Scotland and others have repeatedly warned about the financial and operational sustainability of public services.

The pressures on services are clear: demographic change, rising demand, inequalities, staff shortages, recovery from the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, and climate change among the most challenging. These strengthen the case for reform and for major change in the way services are structured. But during 2023/24, it became even more apparent that we face big and urgent issues that require radical thinking and change.

Professor Alan Alexander OBE
Chair of the Audit Scotland Board

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Accountable Officer’s report

During 2023/24, it became even more apparent that Scotland’s public services face big and urgent issues that require radical thinking and change.

This was a key message across our audit work during 2023/24. We consistently highlighted that tightening budgets, workforce challenges and rising demand are pushing the public sector’s capacity to a point where it may soon be unable to deliver and resource services as is currently done.

Addressing this requires leadership and a fundamental examination of the priorities for public services and the outcomes they intend to achieve.

Stephen Boyle
Accountable Officer and Auditor General for Scotland

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Our year

Better understanding our impact

During 2023/24 we ran pilots within our financial and performance audit teams on our new framework for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on the impact of our audit work.

Our performance audit pilot identified opportunities to improve our audit approach in a number of areas. In particular, we considered our recommendations, which are a key tool in delivering the outcomes we have set out in Public audit in Scotland. We reviewed the quality and clarity of our recommendations and our processes for following up on public bodies implementing them and the subsequent results.

We developed and issued new guidance on the approach for teams developing recommendations, including examples of good and weak practice, and the process for monitoring, evaluating, and reporting progress against recommendations.

Read more about our planned audit work