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

City deals lack measures of success

City deals have been positive for Scotland's economy, but the government does not have a plan to measure their overall long-term success, say public spending watchdogs. City Region and...

Council budgets straining to keep pace with demand

Most of Scotland’s 32 councils are increasingly relying on money from reserves to keep up with demand for services and balance their budgets. A report today from the Accounts Commission,...

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

Children and young people's mental health

Children and young people's mental healthLast year, we found 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.

Perth and Kinross Council Best Value
 

Perth and Kinross Council Best Value
In August, we reported that Perth and Kinross Council continued to improve many services but the council now had to demonstrate it has plans in place to tackle underperforming areas.

National Scrutiny plan
 

National Scrutiny Plan
As part of our work in helping councils to improve, we produce an annual scrutiny plan which outlines scrutiny activity for every council in Scotland.

 

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: 6 February

Previous meeting: 12 December

It was the last Accounts Commission meeting of 2019.

Commission members considered a briefing on preparing for withdrawal from the European Union. This briefing considers evidence and intelligence from a wide range of Annual Audit Reports. Whilst EU withdrawal preparedness is at a reasonable level, preparing for this has diverted attention away from other areas, whilst compounding and intensifying existing pressures. The briefing is due to be published on the Audit Scotland website in December.

Other items under discussion include:

  • a forward look to the Accounts Commission’s Spring 2020 Local Government Overview – the Commission approved the emerging messages for this report
  • the Commission approved a draft follow up report on Early learning and childcare, due to be published in early 2020
  • a report on auditing Best Value in Integration Joint Boards
  • and discussed and noted an important report on the audit fees strategy

The Commission also discussed a report on Best Value statutory guidance. This is an important milestone and the Commission agreed to endorse the Scottish Government’s guidance.

The next meeting of the Accounts Commission takes place on 9 January 2020.

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