Following the publication of the Crerar Review in September 2007, the Scottish Government's response stated its aim of establishing a simplified and coherent approach to delivering local government scrutiny.
A key aspect of this agenda is to co-ordinate and streamline scrutiny better and achieve greater effectiveness, whilst at the same time protecting the independence of scrutiny bodies. Scrutiny bodies that engage with local government have established a shared assessment of the risks in each council and have developed a range of proportionate approaches in response to any risks identified.
Audit Scotland leads the coordination of this work working with other scrutiny bodies. Local Area Networks (LANs) have been established for each council area, and bring together representatives in a systematic way with the common aims of joint scrutiny scheduling and planning, shared risk assessment (SRA), and the delivery of a single corporate assessment.
Education Scotland (HM Inspectors) plays a key role in the shared risk assessment process co-ordinated by Audit Scotland. We are committed to working alongside other scrutiny bodies and are represented on each LAN by the Area Lead Officer. The SRA process involves each scrutiny body sharing the evidence it has gathered about each local authority and deciding on a joint risk assessment of each local authority. The LAN then decides on any necessary scrutiny activity depending on any areas of risk identified. An Assurance and Improvement plan is published on an annual basis for each local authority area.
We use information gathered from our establishment and service-level inspections to inform this process along with other information we have about education provision, for example young people's achievements. Our involvement in the SRA process includes the key principles outlined in Principles of inspection and review.
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