Covid-19 has been the biggest fiscal and policy challenge facing the Scottish public sector over the past two decades since devolution. The amount of spending on the Covid-19 response is unprecedented. The Scottish Government incurred additional public spending of around £9 billion in 2020/21 and expects to spend at least £4.5 billion in 2021/22 on the Covid-19 response. Councils, NHS boards and other public bodies may have also spent additional money on their response.
This audit is a review of the public sector’s financial response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will consider the financial management, governance and oversight arrangements in place for public bodies to quickly distribute funding to those that need it. This audit is an important part of accountability for Scottish public bodies. It is part of a series of work which will continue over the next few years as we consider how the Scottish Government and other bodies respond to and recover from the pandemic. It will closely link to our overview work on Local Government and the NHS as well as our briefing paper on economic recovery and business support.