Accounts Commission annual report 2016/17


Chair's foreword

Ronnie HindsIt has been another testing year for councils in Scotland. They face increasingly complex challenges and are doing a difficult job with less resource.

Our work over the last year highlights greater pressures, for example on social work. Public satisfaction with some services has declined but there is also some evidence of progress where councils have grasped the nettle of change and new ways of working.

The Commission continues to fulfil its dual role of scrutiny, providing assurance that public money is well spent, as well as promoting improvement.

The year also ended on a poignant note for us with the retiral of our chair, Douglas Sinclair. Sadly, Douglas subsequently died.

Douglas served the Commission for ten years, first as a member, then as deputy chair and from December 2013 as chair. In that time he brought a wealth of knowledge and experience from his many senior roles in local government and decades of public service.

He was a passionate advocate for local democracy and a champion of high-quality services for local people. Under his leadership the Commission greatly strengthened its role as independent public watchdog acting in the public interest.

Douglas and his service to the Commission and to public service will be greatly missed.

Ronnie Hinds, Acting Chair of the Accounts Commission


Our work

our work



Changing the way we do things

This year we changed how we published our local government overview report. It was split into two parts, with the first looking at financial issues and the second at performance and challenges.

We used social media to carry out surveys of users’ experience of early years and childcare and self-directed support.

For the latest in our How Councils Work series, we held round table discussions to pool insights from leading experts. Find out more about the work we produced.



Best Value

We published four audits looking at how individual councils were carrying out their statutory duty to demonstrate best value and continuous improvement: South Ayrshire, Angus, Falkirk and East Dunbartonshire.

We also launched new Best Value Assurance Reports to provide more regular check-ups of how individual councils are doing. Read more about Best Value in our annual report.


Making our work more accessible

We used new formats such as an animation on health and social care and interactive tools like Tableau to make our information clearer.

Working with others

We held meetings with councils to follow up our reports, and provided briefings on our work to Parliamentary committees.

New audit appointments

Every five years we appoint a new set of auditors to carry out our work, and new appointments took effect in 2016/17.


Measuring our impact

We provided updates on the impact of our reports, Borrowing and treasury management and School education.

Reporting on fraud

We reported on the impact of new housing benefit counter-fraud work.

Scrutiny coordination

We produced local scrutiny plans for all councils to ensure each council keeps on track.


Reports 2016/17

Engagement plan 2016/17 - Progress report

Accounts Commission Engagement plan 201617 - Progress report

Action plan 2016/17 - Progress report

Accounts Commission Action plan 2016/17 - Progress report

Equality outcomes and mainstreaming: progress report 2015-2017

Equality outcomes and mainstreaming: progress report 2015-2017

Other information

how we perform

Other information we report

The Commission publishes annual information on efficiency, effectiveness and economy and on sustainable economic growth. Read more about this and other expenditure information we publish...