About us

 

Holding councils to account

The Accounts Commission is the public spending watchdog for local government. We hold councils in Scotland to account and help them improve.

We operate impartially and independently of councils and of the Scottish Government and we meet and report in public.

The Commission is responsible for coordinating and facilitating scrutiny in local government.

The Controller of Audit is a statutory post established alongside the Commission in 1975. The Controller reports to the Commission and highlights areas of concern.

Read more about the Commission's role, duties and powers (PDF | 47KB). - Opens in a new window

Follow us on Twitter @AccCommScot.

Latest news

Councils holding up but financial pressures continue

Scotland's 32 councils have managed budgets well over the last year but face a difficult time ahead, says the Accounts Commission. In its annual financial overview published today, the...

About us and our work

The Commission publishes financial audits on each council in Scotland and an annual overview report on local government, as well as individual reports about council services.

Our strategy and annual action plan outlines our priorities for the coming year. Read more about our strategy.

Find out more about what we do in our short video.

 Download a transcript of this video - RTF 43Kb

Some of our recent work

Best Value East Lothian Council
 

Best Value East Lothian CouncilIn November, we found that East Lothian Council had improved significantly but faced big challenges with a rising population.

Maintaining Scotland's roads
 

Maintaining Scotland's roadsOur report found that urgent action was needed to improve the condition of Scotland's roads.

Councils' use of arm's-length organisations

Arm's-length organisationsOur report last May looked at how councils are using arm's-length external organisations in Scotland and the impact they are making.

 

What we do

As well as auditing all local authorities in Scotland, the Commission looks at any issues arising from those audits and how well bodies are meeting Best Value duties. Find out more about each of the areas below:

local government overview

Local government overview

Reporting on local government's financial and overall performance

best value

Best Value reports
 

Reporting on councils' duty of continuous improvement

local government scrutiny

Local government scrutiny

Working with other bodies to improve the scrutiny of councils

how councils work

How councils work reports

Providing practical support to help improvement in local government

housing benefit

Housing benefit audit
 

Reporting on councils'  benefit services

annual audits

Annual audit reports
 

Auditing the accounts of all councils in Scotland

performance

Performance audit reports
 

Auditing the efficiency and effectiveness of services

statutory reports

Statutory reports
 

Highlighting issues found in a council's annual audit

council performance

Council performance reporting

Specifying what performance information councils must publish

Our meetings

Commission members

Next meeting: 11 April

Previous meeting: 7 March

At the latest Accounts Commission meeting, the Commission were joined by the Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive of South Lanarkshire Council.

Public health reform
The Accounts Commission received an update on public health reform in Scotland, focusing on the partnership set up by the Scottish Government and COSLA, their priorities and the establishment of a new national public health body for Scotland. The need for organisations to work together to tackle public health was emphasised

The Commission discussed a range of issues relating to this update including levels of accountability in the new public health body, staffing and timescales, as well as issues around collecting relevant data, and areas not highlighted in the update, such as the impact of housing on our health.

The Commission agreed to note the report and Audit Scotland will continue to monitor this policy area and what it might mean for the work programme.

Read more...

Housing Benefit Performance audit
A follow-up report was discussed, focusing on the approach to our forthcoming audit on housing benefit performance audit. This included the audit team’s discussions with the Department for Work and Pensions and their planned approach to future audit work in this area.

The Commission agreed the planned work.

South Lanarkshire Council BVAR
A report on South Lanarkshire Council was presented to the Commission. The Accounts Commission discussed in the private session actions following their consideration of the Controller of Audit’s report, the outcome of which will be reported as soon as possible.

In the private session, the Commission discussed a drugs and alcohol briefing. This was a briefing from Audit Scotland to help the Commission decide next steps in relation to its future work programme. The Commission noted the briefing, agreed that Audit Scotland continue to monitor with a view to possible further work at a later stage. The Commission also agreed that Audit Scotland engage with stakeholders on the briefing.

 

Interested in coming to our meetings?

Our meetings are open to the public. Find out how to attend.

 

Who we engage with

The public in general are our principal stakeholder but we engage with a wide range of others. Find out more about who we engage with and what our main activities are.

Engaging with stakeholders

Who we engage with:

  • Audit Scotland
  • Auditor General
  • Citizens
  • Parliament and Government: Government ministers, MSPs, Parliament committees
  • Local government: councils, joint boards, COSLA, SLGP, SOLACE, Improvement Service
  • Councils' community planning partners: public, private and third sectors, local communities
  • Other stakeholders: Equalities and Human Rights Commission, other UK audit and scrutiny bodies, professional bodies, trade unions
  • Press and broadcasting media
  • Scrutiny partners
  • Private sector audit firms