Council / ‘Positives outweigh the negatives’ for SIC in latest external audit report

Lerwick Town Hall.

SHETLAND Islands Council (SIC) has received a largely positive external audit report for the 2020/21 financial year.

The report, from auditors Deloitte, was welcomed by councillors at meetings today (Wednesday).

The audit looks at areas of the council like financial sustainability and management, governance and value for money.

The report concluded that the SIC has “strong financial management in place”.

When it comes to financial sustainability, it said that the council’s revised medium term financial plan is “underpinned by realistic assumptions and financial projections”.

But it said: “Business cases are not implemented as initially agreed, resulting in additional costs and delays in the achievement of savings, undermining the effective of scrutiny within the council.”

The report also praised the leadership of SIC chief executive Maggie Sandison during the pandemic.

But weakness were noted in the council’s structure through difficulties in fully resourcing committees and leaks of information to the local media.


It also highlighted referrals to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards of Public Life in Scotland.

When it comes to best value, the audit report said that “while the council continues to demonstrate improvements in a number of areas and is committed to improvement, further improvements are needed in key areas and the council needs to ensure the pace of change is appropriate”.

There is also a warning that given the impact of the pandemic, there is a risk that the council’s capital plan for 2021/22 and its longer term asset investment plan will be “unachievable”.

The report was presented to members of the SIC’s audit committee and full council on Wednesday.

Deloitte is offering an “unmodified opinion”, meaning that the auditors are happy with the financial statements provided by the SIC.

The auditors’ Conor Healy said the fact that there were ‘green’ results for a set of a quality indicators was “exceptional in the current environment”.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


He also said some of the documents prepared by the council were an “exemplar of good practice”.

Audit committee chairman Allison Duncan said he felt the positives in the report outweighed the negatives.

He said he believed the council had “excelled” itself.

Shetland West member Catherine Hughson told a meeting of the full council that it was the first year she could remember where the SIC was not given any recommendations from the external auditor.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.