Risks to Scottish Police and Fire and Rescue Services reforms highlighted


The Scottish Government’s reforms to police, fire and rescue services pose a number of risks and challenges, if savings of £130M are to be made, say finance experts.

In a submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on reforming Police and Fire and Rescue Services in Scotland, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) highlights some of the risks which may impede successful reform. These include the absence of independent verification of the business case for reform and the lack of a ‘shadow period’ to give new bodies time to develop control structures to manage risk.  The submission, which was made jointly with Scottish Directors of Finance and Chief Internal Auditors, suggests that shadow boards should be created before the reforms go live.

Government is also warned not to underestimate the scale of the task that is required to make these reforms and to ensure that further work is undertaken to ensure that the level of savings claimed can in fact be made.

A clear and prescribed transition timetable should be laid out to enable the appropriate governance and financial management arrangements to be set.

Angela Scott, Head of CIPFA Scotland, said,

“These are the largest public service changes we have seen in Scotland in recent years. It is imperative that the Government does not underestimate the scale of these changes and that effective financial management foundations are laid ahead of the new reforms going live.”


CIPFA Press Office
T: 020 7543 5600
E: corporate@cipfa.org 


TO EDITORS: This is a joint submission from CIPFA, The CIPFA Local Government Directors of Finance Section and The Scottish Local Authorities Chief Internal Auditors Group.

More details and the submission itself are available on request.

CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. Our 14,000 members work throughout the public services, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other bodies where public money needs to be effectively and efficiently managed. As the world’s only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, CIPFA’s portfolio of qualifications are the foundation for a career in public finance. They include the benchmark professional qualification for public sector accountants as well as a postgraduate diploma for people already working in leadership positions. They are taught by our in-house CIPFA Education and Training Centre as well as other places of learning around the world. We also champion high performance in public services, translating our experience and insight into clear advice and practical services. They include information and guidance, courses and conferences, property and asset management solutions, consultancy and interim people for a range of public sector clients. Globally, CIPFA shows the way in public finance by standing up for sound public financial management and good governance. We work with donors, partner governments, accountancy bodies and the public sector around the world to advance public finance and support better public services. This includes the development of local professional qualifications in African countries like Lesotho and Nigeria and in Europe in post conflict states in the Balkans.

The CIPFA Local Government Directors of Finance Section is the professional forum which comprises the Section 95 Officers under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 of all 32 local authorities in Scotland.  The Section provides opinions on matters concerning the management and operation of Scottish local government finance and also serves as a learning forum for the exchange of experience and information on these issues.

The Scottish Local Authorities Chief Internal Auditors Group is the professional networking group for Local Authority Heads of Audit. The purpose of the group is to develop and improve the practice of Internal Audit in Scottish local authorities, police, fire and public transport bodies.