Accounts Commission for Scotland and Improvement Service collaboration focused on improving local government services

11 May 2021

The Accounts Commission and the Improvement Service have confirmed a formal collaboration focused on accelerating the improvement and pace of change in local government services. There will be a strong focus on driving change and improvement on the key pressures councils are facing: the impact of Covid-19, escalating service demand and financial constraints.

Both organisations will maximise the impact of their unique roles in supporting local government in Scotland.

This includes:

  • Joint work on key strategic areas for local government including: responding to the economic and social impact of Covid-19, employability and fair work, child poverty, climate change, health and social care integration, community empowerment, digital transformation, collaborative leadership, equalities and governance
  • Working with elected members to drive forward change in critical areas such as community empowerment, partnership working and effective scrutiny
  • Delivering collaborative events in priority areas for local government, presenting opportunities to share insight and accelerate change
  • The Accounts Commission involving the Improvement Service in developing a new approach to auditing Integration Joint Boards

Elma Murray, Interim Chair of the Accounts Commission, said:

I am delighted that the Accounts Commission will now be working even more closely with the Improvement Service. Our joint focus continues to be the drive, commitment and momentum to improve local council services across Scotland, for the benefit of citizens. We will use our distinct and unique roles to inform, facilitate and support each other’s work, with joint priorities, to improve local government at a time of unprecedented challenge and at a time when change in how services are delivered must now accelerate.

Councillor Alison Evison, Chair of the Improvement Service board, said:

I welcome this alliance, which builds on the existing strong relationship between the Improvement Service and the Accounts Commission.

Local Government and the communities it serves face unprecedented challenges as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. By capitalising on our complementary strengths, skills, knowledge and experience, we will accelerate the transformation and improvement of council services for the benefit of all citizens.

Further information

Download the published joint statement - PDF 187Kb

The Accounts Commission is the public spending watchdog for local government. It holds councils and various joint boards and committees in Scotland to account and help them improve. It operates impartially and independently of councils and of the Scottish Government, and meets and reports in public.

Audit Scotland is a statutory body set up in April 2000, under the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act, 2000. It provides services to the Auditor General for Scotland and the Accounts Commission for Scotland.

The Improvement Service is the 'go-to' organisation for local government improvement in Scotland. It was set up in 2005 to deliver improvement support to help councils and their partners improve the health, quality of life and opportunities of all people in Scotland through community leadership, strong local governance and the delivery of high quality, efficient services.