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Annual Report and Accounts for year ended 2020-21

Scottish Commission on Social Security (SCoSS) annual report and accounts for the year Ended 31 March 2021.

Independent Auditor’s Report

Independent auditor’s report to the members of Scottish Commission on Social Security, the Auditor General for Scotland and the Scottish Parliament.

I have audited the financial statements in the annual report and accounts of Scottish Commission on Social Security for the year ended 31 March 2021 under the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000. The financial statements comprise the Statement of Comprehensive Net Expenditure, the Statement of Financial Position, the Statement of Cash flows, the Statement of Changes in Taxpayer’s Equity and notes to the financial statements, including a summary of significant accounting policies. The financial reporting framework that has been applied in their preparation is applicable law and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) as adopted by the European Union, and as interpreted and adapted by the 2020/21 Government Financial Reporting Manual (the 2020/21 FReM).

In my opinion the accompanying financial statements:

  • give a true and fair view in accordance with the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 and directions made thereunder by the Scottish Ministers of the state of the body’s affairs as at 31 March 2021 and of its net expenditure for the year then ended;
  • have been properly prepared in accordance with IFRSs as adopted by the European Union, as interpreted and adapted by the 2020/21 FReM; and
  • have been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 and directions made thereunder by the Scottish Ministers.

I conducted my audit in accordance with applicable law and International Standards on Auditing (UK) (ISAs (UK)), as required by the Code of Audit Practice approved by the Auditor General for Scotland. My responsibilities under those standards are further described in the auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements section of my report. I was appointed by the Auditor General on 20 January 2021. The period of total uninterrupted appointment is nine months. I am independent of the body in accordance with the ethical requirements that are relevant to my audit of the financial statements in the UK including the Financial Reporting Council’s Ethical Standard, and I have fulfilled my other ethical responsibilities in accordance with these requirements. Non-audit services prohibited by the Ethical Standard were not provided to the body. I believe that the audit evidence I have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for my opinion.

I have concluded that the use of the going concern basis of accounting in the preparation of the financial statements is appropriate.

Based on the work I have performed, I have not identified any material uncertainties relating to events or conditions that, individually or collectively, may cast significant doubt on the body’s ability to continue to adopt the going concern basis of accounting for a period of at least twelve months from when the financial statements are authorised for issue.

I report in a separate Annual Audit Report, available from the Audit Scotland website, the most significant assessed risks of material misstatement that I identified and my judgements thereon.

As explained more fully in the Statement of Accountable Officer’s responsibilities, the Accountable Officer is responsible for the preparation of financial statements that give a true and fair view in accordance with the financial reporting framework, and for such internal control as the Accountable Officer determines is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.

In preparing the financial statements, the Accountable Officer is responsible for assessing the body’s ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing, as applicable, matters related to going concern and using the going concern basis of accounting unless deemed inappropriate.

My objectives are to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue an auditor’s report that includes my opinion. Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with ISAs (UK) will always detect a material misstatement when it exists. Misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of these financial statements.

Irregularities, including fraud, are instances of non-compliance with laws and regulations. I design procedures in line with my responsibilities outlined above to detect material misstatements in respect of irregularities, including fraud. Procedures include:

  • obtaining an understanding of the applicable legal and regulatory framework and how the body is complying with that framework;
  • identifying which laws and regulations are significant in the context of the body;
  • assessing the susceptibility of the financial statements to material misstatement, including how fraud might occur; and
  • considering whether the audit team collectively has the appropriate competence and capabilities to identify or recognise non-compliance with laws and regulations.

The extent to which my procedures are capable of detecting irregularities, including fraud, is affected by the inherent difficulty in detecting irregularities, the effectiveness of the body’s controls, and the nature, timing and extent of the audit procedures performed.

Irregularities that result from fraud are inherently more difficult to detect than irregularities that result from error as fraud may involve collusion, intentional omissions, misrepresentations, or the override of internal control. The capability of the audit to detect fraud and other irregularities depends on factors such as the skilfulness of the perpetrator, the frequency and extent of manipulation, the degree of collusion involved, the relative size of individual amounts manipulated, and the seniority of those individuals involved.

A further description of the auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements is located on the Financial Reporting Council’s website www.frc.org.uk/auditorsresponsibilities. This description forms part of my auditor’s report.

In my opinion in all material respects the expenditure and income in the financial statements were incurred or applied in accordance with any applicable enactments and guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers.

The Accountable Officer is responsible for ensuring the regularity of expenditure and income. In addition to my responsibilities to detect material misstatements in the financial statements in respect of irregularities, I am responsible for expressing an opinion on the regularity of expenditure and income in accordance with the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000.

I have audited the parts of the Remuneration and Staff Report described as audited. In my opinion, the audited part of the Remuneration and Staff Report has been properly prepared in accordance with the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 and directions made thereunder by the Scottish Ministers.

The Accountable Officer is responsible for the statutory other information in the annual report and accounts. The statutory other information comprises the Performance Report and the Accountability Report excluding the audited part of the Remuneration and Staff Report.

My responsibility is to read all the statutory other information and, in doing so, consider whether the statutory other information is materially inconsistent with the financial statements or my knowledge obtained in the audit or otherwise appears to be materially misstated. If I identify such material inconsistencies or apparent material misstatements, I am required to determine whether this gives rise to a material misstatement in the financial statements themselves. If, based on the work I have performed, I conclude that there is a material misstatement of this statutory other information, I am required to report that fact. I have nothing to report in this regard.

My opinion on the financial statements does not cover the statutory other information and I do not express any form of assurance conclusion thereon except on the Performance Report and Governance Statement to the extent explicitly stated in the following opinions prescribed by the Auditor General for Scotland.

In my opinion, based on the work undertaken in the course of the audit:

  • the information given in the Performance Report for the financial year for which the financial statements are prepared is consistent with the financial statements and that report has been prepared in accordance with the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 and directions made thereunder by the Scottish Ministers; and
  • the information given in the Governance Statement for the financial year for which the financial statements are prepared is consistent with the financial statements and that report has been prepared in accordance with the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 and directions made thereunder by the Scottish Ministers.

I am required by the Auditor General for Scotland to report to you if, in my opinion:

  • adequate accounting records have not been kept; or
  • the financial statements and the audited part of the Remuneration and Staff Report are not in agreement with the accounting records; or
  • I have not received all the information and explanations I require for my audit.

I have nothing to report in respect of these matters.

In addition to my responsibilities for the annual report and accounts, my conclusions on the wider scope responsibilities specified in the Code of Audit Practice are set out in my Annual Audit Report.

This report is made solely to the parties to whom it is addressed in accordance with the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 and for no other purpose. In accordance with paragraph 120 of the Code of Audit Practice, I do not undertake to have responsibilities to members or officers, in their individual capacities, or to third parties. Helen Russell BA FCPFA

Senior Audit Manager

Audit Scotland

8 Nelson Mandela Place

Glasgow

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