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.

 

The Commission has adopted the following principles to help it guide its work
and fulfil its responsibilities during the Covid-19 emergency:

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

Local government financial overview 2018/19

Local government financial overview
Our annual overview found that most of Scotland's councils are increasingly relying on money from reserves to keep up with demand for services and balance their budgets.

North Lanarkshire Best Value
 

North Lanarkshire
We reported that the council has ambitious plans for developing the area and improving services, and it now needs to work with partners to better involve and engage with residents and staff to achieve these.

Councils' use of arm's-length organisations

Councils' use of arm's-length organisations
Our report 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 June 2020

Previous meeting: 21 May

The Commission held its first ever virtual formal meeting on 7 May.

The Commission is keen, as the public watchdog, that it conducts it's business as transparently as possible, so the meeting was recorded and will be available soon. Contact us if you would like to be informed when this is available.

The business covered by the Commission was:

  • Agreeing a timetable for a significant review of its work programme in the light of the Covid-19 emergency.
  • Considered the Best Value Assurance Report for Argyll and Bute Council (decision to appear here after the Council has been informed).
  • Considered the impact of the Covid-19 emergency on the project to agree a new Code of Audit Practice accompanied by a new set of auditor appointments from Spring 2021.

The next meeting will be on 11 June.

 

Who we engage with

The public in general are our principal stakeholder but we engage with a wide range of others.

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