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

Local government challenges and performance 2019

local government challengesOur annual review found that Scotland’s councils are managing to improve and maintain most services, but with possible reduced funding in future, councils need to think differently about how they deliver services to the public.

South Lanarkshire Council Best Value

South Lanarkshire Council Best Value
In March, we reported that South Lanarkshire Council demonstrates strong leadership, has a good approach to the way it manages its finances and has delivered improvements to many services.

Reporting our performance 2018/19

Reporting our performance
Our annual report highlights the range of work we did last year and the reports we published. Find out more here.


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 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: 12 December

Previous meeting: 10 October

National Scrutiny Plan
This report summarises all planned and announced strategic scrutiny activity from September 2019, in each Scottish council. The plan was prepared by Audit Scotland on behalf of the Strategic Scrutiny Group.

Questions from Commission members included: involvement with external bodies, including the Care Inspectorate; work post-Grenfell to ensure no public buildings in Scotland have similar cladding and the level of scrutiny councils must engage with.

An updated webpage is now available, enabling individual councils and citizens to find out about scrutiny in their local authority.

Scottish Borders Council, Best Value report
The audit team discussed and shared their conclusions in the latest Best Value report.

Key themes and issues raised in the discussion included: the benefits and impact of outsourcing IT; staff and community engagement; the council’s relationship with the local Integrated Joint Board; workforce planning and how services are performing.

The Commission then moved into their private session.
The Commission agreed to make findings on the Best Value report on Scottish Borders Council and publish the report on 22 October.


New Code of Audit Practice - update
Audit Scotland’s draft new Code of Audit Practice was discussed by Commission members. Accounts Commission members moved into a detailed discussion of their collective view on the principles underlying a new Code of Audit Practice.

They endorsed the governance arrangements for the project, the principles underlying a new Code and noted the position on procurement principles.

Housing benefit performance audit - annual review
The report was considered by the Commission. The report sets out the outcome of housing benefit performance audit work in 2018/19.

Areas discussed included the impact of Universal Credit, as well as changing demands and shifts in local authority workforce.

The Commission noted that a publication date was to be agreed with the audit team.


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