Date: 21 February 2024

Time: 14:00

Venue: MS Teams


  •  Judith Paterson (Interim Co-Chair)
  • Dr Mark Simpson (Interim Co-Chair)

In attendance—

  • Lisa Duthie, Senior Audit Manager, Audit Scotland;
  • Grant Harrison, Trainee Auditor, Audit Scotland;
  • Julie McKinney, Head of Social Security Strategy, Welfare Fund and Winter Benefits (In attendance for Agenda Item 7);
  • Graeme Hill, Audit Adviser, SCoSS
  • Stephen Herbert, Secretary, SCoSS;
  • Lisa Kinnear, Governance and Engagement Officer; SCoSS.

Interim Co-Chair, Mark Simpson, welcomed the attendees to the meeting.  There were no apologies and no interests were declared.

The Minutes of the November 2023 meeting of the Audit Sub-Committee were approved.

The Audit Adviser provided an update and highlighted that he was content with the position and for the year ahead. He noted that the bi-monthly meetings between the Secretariat and Finance were continuing and advised that this should throughout the forthcoming audit process.

The Audit Sub-Committee noted the performance and assurance update.

Grant Harrison spoke to the content of the audit plan and timetable for the 2023-24 external audit.  The process for completing the audit was discussed and it was noted that the implications of the provisions of the Social Security (Scotland) (Amendment) Bill would be monitored over the course of the audit.  Lisa Duthie noted that the timetable for the 2023-24 audit was shorter than previous years but considered to be deliverable by Audit Scotland, Scottish Government finance colleagues and the SCoSS Secretariat.  In the event that the timetable was not met then the timetable would revert to that used for the previous audit round.  It was also noted that the audit fee for 2023-24 was £8,470.

The Audit Sub-Committee agreed the 2023-24 audit plan and timetable.

The Audit Advisor noted that the risk register had been updated to include two new risks both of which relate to the 2024-25 financial position and that the scoring for the risk on the 2023-24 financial position had been reduced reflecting greater certainty that spend would be within the SCoSS budget allocation for 2023-24.

The Audit Sub-Committee considered, amended and agreed the Risk Register for consideration at the next meeting of the SCoSS Board.

The Audit Sub-Committee noted that there had been no losses or special payments since the previous meeting in November.

The Audit Adviser’s legacy report was discussed and the recommendations in the report were agreed.  The Sub-Committee agreed to consider a paper at its next meeting on implementation of the recommendations.  Julie McKinney noted that the Scottish Government Sponsor Unit were aware of the impact of the loss of the audit adviser position upon the Secretariat and that there would be a need for increased support from Scottish Government Finance and Internal Audit in relation to the annual report and accounts process.

The Audit Sub-Committee agreed that the next meeting dates for the Sub-Committee would be—

  • Thursday 9th May 2-4pm;
  • Thursday 22nd August 2-4pm; and
  • Thursday 14th November 2-4pm.

The Interim Co-Chair, Dr Simpson, noted that this was the Audit Advisor, Graeme Hill’s last Audit Sub-Committee meeting and, on behalf of Interim Co-Chair Judith Paterson, the Board and Secretariat, thanked Graeme for the invaluable advice and support he has provided to SCoSS as Audit Adviser and expressed his best wishes to Graeme for the future.

The meeting closed at 15:26.

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