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

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

Strategy and annual action plan 2019 -24

Strategy and engagement planWe've published our strategy for the next five years and annual action plan along with our engagement strategy and plan.

Self-directed support
 

Self directed supportOur last report looked at the progress councils have made so far in providing self-directed support.

South Lanarkshire Council Best Value

South LanarkshireSouth Lanarkshire Council demonstrates strong leadership, has a good approach to the way it manages its finances and has delivered improvements to many services.

 

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: 8 August

Previous meeting: 9 May

Controller of Audit update
The Controller of Audit highlighted that the Chair of the Accounts Commission, together with members of the Local Government Overview audit team, had given evidence at a recent meeting of the Local Government and Communities Committee.

Draft Annual Report
The Commission agreed that this report confirms how much work they have been involved with over the last year, with discussion including specific areas of the report, the breadth of the work undertaken and public perception and understanding of the work of the Accounts Commission.

The Commission agreed the report should be published on 31 May.

Draft Strategy, 2019-24 and engagement strategy
This yearly refresh took on a different perspective, with an emphasis on public trust and the importance of the new Code of Audit Practice and new audit appointments in 2021.

The Commission discussed this and the ways in which the Accounts Commission build public trust, as well as the importance of independent auditor appointments for local councils in Scotland.

The Commission agreed the report should be published on 31 May.

Read more...

Best Value Assurance Report (BVAR) schedule for 2020
Looking in detail at the schedule, the Commission were given assurance from the Controller of Audit that if issues of concerns were raised by auditors in the Annual Audit Reports, this would be bought to the attention of the Commission. And, if necessary, the BVAR schedule could be changed.

The Commission approved the BVAR 2020 schedule.

Best Value Assurance Report on North Lanarkshire Council
A very full discussion of key aspects of the report took place between Commission members and the audit team. Questions and discussions covered a range of areas including the council’s vision, partnership working, local improvement plans, workforce strategy, community engagement, education and health and social care integration.

The Commission then moved to their private session.

Best Value Assurance Report on North Lanarkshire Council
Members discussed the report in their private session, following consideration of the Controller of Audit’s report, the outcome of which will be reported publicly as soon as possible.

Draft quality of public audit in Scotland annual report
There followed discussion about an important paper on audit quality, presented to the Commission by the independent audit quality team. The Auditor General and the Accounts Commission’s governance of audit quality is of fundamental importance to their roles. This important report details Audit Scotland’s arrangements on behalf of the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission to ensure audit quality is high. The report provides evidence that auditors have designed and implemented effective audit quality arrangements to assure the quality of their audit work. It also shows auditors have made improvements since the previous report. Areas identified to make further improvements are also detailed in this report.

The Commission approved this report, agreed that it provided assurance on the quality of audit work, and that it would be published on 14 June.

 

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