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Chamber and committees

Public Audit Committee

The 2020/21 audit of Scottish Canals section 22 report

Letter to Convener from Stephen Boyle, the Auditor General for Scotland, 23 December 2021

Dear Convener

I am writing to inform you that I intend to publish a report under Section 22 of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 on the 2020/21 audit of Scottish Canals. This relates to the auditor being unable to gain sufficient audit evidence to support the valuation of certain specialist operational assets which are recorded in Scottish Canal’s balance sheet at £51 million and whether it was appropriate to capitalise expenditure associated with this categorisation of assets. While Scottish Canals took some steps to address the auditors’ concerns, the additional information provided was not sufficient to enable the auditor to conclude that the accounts did not contain material misstatements.

The auditor gave a disclaimer of the audit opinion on the annual report and accounts on 23 December 2021. Given the date of the conclusion of the audit, there is now insufficient time to allow me to fully consider the auditor’s findings, prepare the Section 22 report and conclude our clearance processes before the end of December. Consequently, Scottish Canals will not be able to lay their annual report and accounts before Parliament in advance of the statutory laying deadline of 31 December 2021. We have still to agree with Scottish Canals when Scottish Ministers will now lay the annual report and accounts, together with the S22 report but I would expect this to take place in February 2022.

I, or members of my team, would be happy to discuss this matter further with you should you require more information.

Yours sincerely
Stephen Boyle Auditor General for Scotland