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

Children and young people's mental health

Councils' use of arm's-length organisationsWe reported that a big increase in young people being referred to mental health services and longer waiting times are signs of a system under significant pressure.

East Lothian Council Best Value

East Lothian Council Best ValueIn November, we found that East Lothian Council has improved significantly but faces big challenges with a rising population.

Reporting our performance

Annual reportOur annual report features the work we did last year and the reports we published.


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

Reporting on local government's financial and overall performance


Best Value reports

Reporting on councils' duty of continuous improvement


Local government scrutiny

Working with other bodies to improve the scrutiny of councils


How councils work reports

Providing practical support to help improvement in local government


Housing benefit audit

Reporting on councils'  benefit services


Annual audit reports

Auditing the accounts of all councils in Scotland


Performance audit reports

Auditing the efficiency and effectiveness of services


Statutory reports

Highlighting issues found in a council's annual audit

Our meetings

Commission members

Next meeting: 10 January

Previous meeting: 6 December

Chair Graham Sharp paid tribute to Alan Campbell, at what was his last meeting as an Accounts Commission member, for his many contributions during eight years of service.

The final Commission meeting for 2018 saw members consider and approve draft proposals for the annual refresh of the Commission’s five-year rolling work programme, which is published jointly with the Auditor General. The Commission will now consult with councils and trade unions on these proposals, ahead of publication in early spring 2019.

Members approved the 2018 Direction which sets out requirements for councils on what performance information they should be publishing for their citizens and communities. The Direction covers the next three years and will be published by the end of the year.

Members discussed and agreed a draft report on the future of housing benefit performance audit and proposals for changing the approach to this audit.  

The Commission also endorsed emerging messages from the annual Local Government Overview, to be published in spring 2019. The Commission will consider the draft report in February.

Minutes of this meeting will be in the papers for our next meeting and available on our website from 4 January.

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