FOI reference: FOI/18/01441
Date received: 14 May 2018
Date responded: 6 June 2018
Has the Scottish Government any Policies regarding the Investigation of Reported Serious Fraud? If so can we please have copies of such Policies?
Is there for instance a requirement that such Investigations begin within a reasonable period, say twenty-five years, or prior to the passing of all witnesses?
Finally do such Policies change in any way when Government premises and senior Government Officials are, allegedly of course, involved?
In response to your first question The Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM) provides guidance to the Scottish Government and relevant public bodies on the proper handling and reporting of public funds. This includes a specific chapter on Fraud http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Government/Finance/spfm/fraud detailing guidance and good practice on the prevention, detection, reporting and handling of fraud emphasising key measures such as systems of control and separation of duties.
Further information on the approach taken by the Scottish Government can be found within the Scottish Government's Counter Fraud Strategy: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Government/Finance/spfm/fraud/fraudannexa and Counter Fraud Policy: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Government/Finance/spfm/fraud/fraudannex1
With regards to your second question, The Scottish Government will not accept any level of fraud or corruption; consequently, any case will be thoroughly investigated and referred to Police Scotland where it can be dealt with appropriately. Our policy does not have a stated time limit on investigations, therefore as soon as an issue is discovered it should be properly investigated. When the police receive a complaint about alleged criminal activity they have a duty to investigate the complaint and to decide whether a report should be submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
Ultimately it is for the Procurator Fiscal to decide whether it is in the public interest to proceed with prosecutions where police investigations reveal evidence of alleged criminal activity and the Scottish Ministers cannot comment or intervene in such decisions.
With regards to your third question all Scottish Government staff regardless of their seniority are required at all times to act honestly and with integrity and to safeguard the public resources for which they are responsible, in line with the http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/923/0110016.pdf
The investigation of any criminal allegations would be an operational matter for the police, acting where appropriate under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House