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

Latest news

Progress at Falkirk needs to continue

Falkirk Council has responded encouragingly to previous concerns but needs effective leadership to deliver its five-year improvement programme, says the Accounts Commission. A new report...

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

Orkney Islands Best Value

Orkney Islands Best ValueOur December report found that Orkney Islands Council had made significant progress in recent years and needs to build on this for the future

Major capital investment

Major capital investmentOur follow-up audit in 2016 found that councils need to improve further the way they manage major projects like schools, roads, housing and flood prevention.

We're recruiting

Commission recruitmentThe Commission is looking for new members. Interested? Find out more in our enewsletter and visit our recruitment ehub to hear from current members and find out how to apply.

 

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:

calendar

Local government overview

Reporting on local government's financial and overall performance

calendar

Best Value reports
 

Reporting on councils' duty of continuous improvement

calendar

Local government scrutiny

Working with other bodies to improve the scrutiny of councils

calendar

How councils work reports

Providing practical support to help improvement in local government

calendar

Housing benefit audit

Reporting on councils'  benefit services

calendar

Annual audit reports

Auditing the accounts of all councils in Scotland

calendar

Performance audit reports

Auditing the efficiency and effectiveness of services

calendar

Statutory reports
 

Highlighting issues found in a council's annual audit

Our meetings

Commission members

Next meeting: 8 March

Previous meeting: 8 February

The latest Accounts Commission meeting focused on reviews of audit and Best Value work.

An in-depth discussion took place on the Annual Assurance and Risks Report. This report provides the Accounts Commission with assurance about the outputs from the local government audit, as reported through annual audit reports and from auditing Best Value. The discussion included the mixed picture of improvement across Scottish councils. The Commission endorsed the paper and agreed to take its conclusions into further discussion in the spring when it will consider updating its strategy.

This was followed by a detailed discussion around our review of the first year of our new approach to auditing best value. A summary of the key findings from the review was presented to members, noting that councils overall felt that our Best Value reports were a fair reflection of the situation in their local authority. In addition, the Commission considered independent research on the six councils who had undergone a new Best Value process. The six councils felt generally that our reports were fair and balanced, although the audit experience was varied.

The Commission agreed a number of improvements to the approach, to be implemented over the next year.

The draft minute from this meeting is included in the papers for the next meeting.

Interested in coming to our meetings?

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