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

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

Latest news

A decade of improvements at North Ayrshire Council

North Ayrshire Council has demonstrated a culture of continuous improvement since a previous report by the Accounts Commission in 2011.  The council continues to improve and, alongside its...

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.

Argyll and Bute Council Best Value
 

Argyll and Bute Council
Argyll and Bute Council needs to build on its good financial management and relationship with residents as it looks to change the way it delivers services.

Scotland's City Region and Growth Deals

City deals
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.

 

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: 13 August 2020

Previous meeting: 11 June

The Commission is keen, as the public watchdog, that it conducts its business as transparently as possible. Since its meeting on 7 May, the Commission has been meeting virtually. Video recordings of these meetings are available. Contact us if you would like a copy.

At its June meeting, the Commission:

  • Agreed to reach findings for the Best Value Assurance Report on North Ayrshire Council, to be published on 30 June.
  • Approved its draft annual report 2019/20, to be published on 2 July.
  • Agreed, in the light of the Covid-19 emergency, to put in abeyance its Strategy.
  • Meantime, agreed to work towards revising its strategy and work programme, in conjunction with its stakeholders.
  • Agreed to share messages from the National Fraud Initiative exercise with its stakeholders.
  • Agreed a set of emerging messages from its performance audit on digital progress in local government, to be published later in the Autumn.
 

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