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...

Our work

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.

 View a full list of all Commission reports.

Our priorities

our priorities

  • Encourage effective reporting of performance
  • Reflect the interests of the citizen, service user and communities
  • Scrutinise the changing public services landscape
  • Promote good practice and innovation

Find out more about our priorities for the coming year in our strategy and annual action plan.

Some of our recent work

East Ayrshire Council Best Value

East Ayrshire Council Best ValueOur report found that East Ayrshire Council is performing well, services are improving, and there is strong partnership working.

Early learning and childcare

Early learning and childcareOur e-hub features a video and guide to childcare in Scotland based on the findings from our early learning and childcare report.

Our engagement work

Engagement strategyWe engage with a wide range of stakeholders and work with each of them in different ways. Read more about our 2018/19 engagement plan.

 

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: 7 February

Previous meeting: 10 January

Chair Graham Sharp warmly welcomed new member Christine Lester to her first Accounts Commission meeting. Members discussed in depth the Controller of Audit’s Annual Assurance and Risks Report for local government. The Commission can use the themes in this report to help shape its flagship local government overview report to be published in Spring. They also considered an interesting briefing on the 2019/20 Scottish Government budget.

In private session, the Commission was given an update on the work of the Strategic Scrutiny Group, which co-ordinates the work of all the bodies that scrutinise councils.

Minutes of this meeting will be in the papers for our next meeting and available on our website from 1 February.

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