The publication of a monthly report showing items of expenditure over £25,000 is a significant step in the Scottish Government's commitment to further openness and transparency. It was announced as part of the 2010-11 Budget Bill package by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney.
The report very much reflects the business of the Scottish Government and in particular our interaction with public sector partners through the monthly allocations to Health Boards, Revenue Support Grant and other grants to Local Government bodies, grant funding to Non-Departmental Public Bodies and other entities, capital expenditure as well as payments to companies etc who provide supplies and services under contract to the Scottish Government.
The annual Budget Act is approved by the Scottish Parliament and detailed information on budget lines is available in the Budget Bill Supporting Document. The Budget Act may be refined through the in-year revisions process and at the end of the financial year the final approved Budget is assessed against expenditure with explanations of variances provided as part of the Scottish Government's Consolidated Annual Accounts.
The report provides details of all items of expenditure over £25,000 in chronological order for the month and records:
- the payee
- the amount paid
- the date of the payment
- a description of the payment
- the SG Directorate who initiated the payment
Work is underway to improve, where possible, the description lines to enhance the quality of the report going forward.
As noted the report records items of expenditure in chronological order. This approach provides the appropriate transparency to support the commitment. It should be noted that the reporting of expenditure differs from the way in which central government bodies account for expenditure in their published annual accounts. Following the disciplines of accruals based accounting expenditure is recorded in the financial year the goods and services are delivered / received.