Commission members

The Accounts Commission holds councils and other local government bodies in Scotland to account and helps them improve by reporting to the public on their performance.

Profile picture of Jo Armstrong, Chair of the Accounts Commission

Jo Armstrong

Chair of the Accounts Commission for a term of office until 31 January 2028

Jo is an internationally recognised economist and finance expert having worked in the public, private and third sectors across the UK. With periods in the oil, gas and banking sectors, she was also a senior civil servant in the Scottish Government. Jo acted as a budget adviser to Parliamentary Committees of the Scottish Parliament, including the Local Government Committee.

She has extensive knowledge of economic regulation, is a member of the RSE’s Economy and Enterprise Committee and is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.

Jo currently chairs the Wheatley Group and Hub West Scotland, giving her a clear understanding of Scotland’s financial, housing, infrastructure, and care challenges.

Register of interests - PDF 123Kb
Andrew Burns

Andrew Burns

Member of the Accounts Commission for a term of office until 31 July 2026

Andrew has extensive management experience across the private, public and voluntary sectors. As well as his current work with the Commission; Andrew is also undertaking a part-time PhD at the University of Edinburgh Business School (since January 2020); and is Chair of the Edinburgh Union Canal Society (since January 2022).  Most recently, Andrew was Convener (Chair) of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) from 2018 to 2023; and immediately prior to that role he was Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council from 2012 to 2017.

Register of interests - PDF 166Kb
Andrew Cowie

Andrew Cowie

Member of the Accounts Commission for a term of office until 31 July 2026

Was a Chief Officer in Northern Constabulary and the Police Service of Scotland. Also served for three years as Assistant Inspector of Constabulary with HMICS.

Register of interests - PDF 136Kb
Christine Lester

Christine Lester

Member of the Accounts Commission for a term of office until 31 December 2026

Christine has experience as a full time carer and as a fundraiser for MND Scotland. She was previously Vice Chair of the Board of NHS Grampian and Chair of Moray Integration Joint Board. She comes from a scientific background and had a successful career in commercial sales.

Register of interests - PDF 135Kb
Malcolm Bell

Malcolm Bell

Member of the Accounts Commission for a term of office until October 2026

Malcolm Bell has extensive experience in the public and third sectors, with a passion for partnership working and organisational improvement. He served as Convener of Shetland Islands Council from 2012, until he stood down in 2022. During this time, he was a member of the COSLA Convention, serving as a director of the Improvement Service. He was President of the Scottish Provosts Association and served on various other boards including Shetland Citizens Advice. Malcolm was a Non-Executive Director and Vice-Chair of NHS Shetland between 2010 and 2022. He is a former senior police officer who retired from Northern Constabulary in 2010, having taken a particular interest in community planning and partnership working. He has chaired Shetland’s Child and Adult Protection Committees, leading both through a period of significant organisational and legislative change. Malcolm has been an Honorary Sheriff since 2010.

Register of interests - PDF 92Kb
Nichola Brown

Nichola Brown

Member of the Accounts Commission for a term of office until October 2026

Nichola Brown brings extensive experience in partnership working across statutory, community and voluntary organisations, having worked in public health in Glasgow for over twenty years. With a strong commitment to social justice and reducing inequalities, Nichola has led and managed the implementation of a complex portfolio of work programmes to improve population health, translating national and city strategies into the local context. This is underpinned by her background in community development. Nichola brings experience and understanding of the challenges associated with navigating services and systems as a parent carer of a young man with a severe learning disability. Nichola is founder and Chairperson, in a voluntary capacity, of PlayPeace, a small charity in North Lanarkshire which provides play sessions and outings to support families of children with additional needs during school holidays.

Register of interests - PDF 101Kb
Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson

Member of the Accounts Commission for a term of office until October 2026

Jennifer Henderson has extensive public sector management and leadership experience and is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. She is currently the Chief Executive and Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, delivering a substantial programme of digital transformation. Jennifer emphasises the importance of effective stakeholder engagement, communication, and transparency in public service delivery — bringing experience from both her current role and from leading the stakeholder engagement for the Building Safety Programme established in response to the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower. Jennifer has a strong commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion. She received a UK Women in Defence Award for improving gender equality during her time as a Director at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. Previously, Jennifer also served as a Non-Executive Director for Ploughshare Innovations Ltd.

Register of interests - PDF 96Kb
Ruth MacLeod

Ruth MacLeod

Member of the Accounts Commission for a term of office until October 2026

Ruth MacLeod is currently Head of Communications for the Church of Scotland. With more than 20 years’ experience working in strategic Public Relations, predominantly in the public sector, she has led on complex corporate communications issues. She has held roles within the police, the local authority sector, the Scottish Government and the fire and rescue service. A specialist in crisis communications and change management, Ruth was responsible for delivering the communications function for the newly-formed national Scottish Fire and Rescue Service requiring significant leadership across all aspects of communications. During her time there she delivered the communications response to a number of high-profile incidents including a firefighter fatality, the Clutha Bar helicopter crash and the George Square bin lorry crash. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

Register of interests - PDF 87Kb
Carol Evans

Carol Evans

Member of the Accounts Commission for a term of office until September 2027

Carol Evans has over 20 years’ experience of education, stakeholder engagement and strategic leadership, driving organisational and culture change in organisations in the private, public and third sector. She has worked at a senior level in AstraZeneca, Kellogg’s and PepsiCo and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. She is a non-executive director of Skills Development Scotland, Food Standards Scotland, Chair of Friends of Cedarbank Charity and previously a member of other regulatory boards, committees and UK Department of Health advisory groups. As a member of global executive teams, she has been responsible for audit, risk and finance, ensuring the highest standards of corporate governance, compliance and performance improvement.

Register of interests - PDF 127Kb
Angela Leitch

Angela Leitch

Member of the Accounts Commission for a term of office until September 2027

Angela Leitch has worked at a senior level in local authorities for over two decades and has a thorough understanding of the context within which councils continue to operate. After eight years as Chief Executive of East Lothian Council she was appointed as Chief Executive to the newly formed Public Health Scotland in November 2019 which gave her a deeper insight and experience of working of NHS in Scotland. Angela stepped down from this role in March 2023. She is Convenor of the Scottish Local Authority Remuneration Committee which will report to Ministers in November 2023. In addition, Angela is a trustee on the Board of the Cyrenians and Chair of Youthlink Scotland.

Register of interests - PDF 129Kb
Mike Neilson

Mike Neilson

Member of the Accounts Commission for a term of office until September 2027

Mike Neilson is a retired career civil servant who has worked at the UK Treasury, the European Commission, and the Scottish Government, with more than 15 years as a Director. He has in-depth experience of leading public service improvement and restructuring in a range of roles in Scottish Government, including in relation to digital services, housing, homelessness and public utilities. He brings extensive experience of different models of public service governance, and of financial and programme management, having had accountability for budgets in excess of £1 billion per annum, and for complex multi-agency programmes.

Register of interests - PDF 134Kb
Derek Yule

Derek Yule

Member of the Accounts Commission for a term of office until September 2027

Derek Yule is a retired Depute Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Resources at Highland Council. He is a qualified accountant (CIPFA), who trained in the NHS and held several posts in the NHS and local government. He has been a member of several boards and working groups relative to local government at UK and Scottish level. He was awarded CIPFA Scotland Public Finance Professional of the year in 2019.

Register of interests - PDF 127Kb