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

Latest news

Tighter squeeze on councils

Councils are showing increasing signs of financial stress and face even tougher challenges ahead, says the Accounts Commission. In its annual financial overview published today the local...

Our work

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.

 View a full list of all Commission reports.

Our priorities

our priorities

  • Encourage effective reporting of performance
  • Reflect the interests of the citizen, service user and communities
  • Scrutinise the changing public services landscape
  • Promote good practice and innovation

Find out more about our priorities for the coming year in our strategy and annual action plan.

Some of our recent work

Changing models of health and social care

Changing models of health and social careWe reported that a lack of national leadership and clear planning was preventing the wider change urgently needed if Scotland’s health and social care services were to adapt to increasing pressures.

How councils work
 

How councils workOur ‘how councils work’ series of reports aims to stimulate change and provide practical support to help councils continue improving their performance.

Reporting our performance
 

Commission annual reportRead about the work we did last year and the reports we published.

 

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:

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Local government overview

Reporting on local government's financial and overall performance

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Best Value reports
 

Reporting on councils' duty of continuous improvement

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Local government scrutiny

Working with other bodies to improve the scrutiny of councils

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How councils work reports

Providing practical support to help improvement in local government

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Housing benefit audit

Reporting on councils'  benefit services

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Annual audit reports

Auditing the accounts of all councils in Scotland

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Performance audit reports

Auditing the efficiency and effectiveness of services

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Statutory reports
 

Highlighting issues found in a council's annual audit

Our meetings

Commission members

Next meeting: 11 January

Previous meeting: 9 November

This was the first meeting chaired by Graham Sharp, the newly-appointed chair of the Commission. Members examined a  Best Value Assurance report on West Lothian Council and a Best Value follow up report on East Dunbartonshire Council. In both cases, the Commission agreed to make findings, to be published later in November.

The Commission considered and approved a draft of its  Local Government Financial Overview which is due to come out at the end of November.

The Commission also considered and endorsed the approach to, and timetable for, the Shared Risk Assessment (SRA) process for co-ordinated work by various scrutiny bodies in 2018/19.

The draft minute from this meeting is included in the papers for the next meeting.

Interested in coming to our meetings?

Our meetings are open to the public. Find out how to attend.