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).

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Follow us on Twitter @AccCommScot.


The Commission has adopted the following principles to help it guide its work
and fulfil its responsibilities during the Covid-19 emergency:

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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.

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 financial overview 2018/19

Local government financial overview
Our annual overview found that most of Scotland's councils are increasingly relying on money from reserves to keep up with demand for services and balance their budgets.

North Lanarkshire Best Value

North Lanarkshire
We reported that the council has ambitious plans for developing the area and improving services, and it now needs to work with partners to better involve and engage with residents and staff to achieve these.

Councils' use of arm's-length organisations

Councils' use of arm's-length organisations
Our report looked at how councils are using arm's-length external organisations in Scotland and the impact they are making.


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

Working with other bodies to improve the scrutiny of councils


How councils work reports

Providing practical support to help improvement in local government


Housing benefit audit

Reporting on councils'  benefit services


Annual audit reports

Auditing the accounts of all councils in Scotland

Performance audit

Performance audit reports

Auditing the efficiency and effectiveness of services

Statutory reports

Statutory reports

Highlighting issues found in a council's annual audit

Council reporting

Council performance reporting

Specifying what performance information councils must publish

Our meetings

Commission meetings

Next meeting: Our meeting on 9 April has been cancelled

Previous meeting: 12 December

It was the last Accounts Commission meeting of 2019.

Commission members considered a briefing on preparing for withdrawal from the European Union. This briefing considers evidence and intelligence from a wide range of Annual Audit Reports. Whilst EU withdrawal preparedness is at a reasonable level, preparing for this has diverted attention away from other areas, whilst compounding and intensifying existing pressures. The briefing is due to be published on the Audit Scotland website in December.

Other items under discussion include:

  • a forward look to the Accounts Commission’s Spring 2020 Local Government Overview – the Commission approved the emerging messages for this report
  • the Commission approved a draft follow up report on Early learning and childcare, due to be published in early 2020
  • a report on auditing Best Value in Integration Joint Boards
  • and discussed and noted an important report on the audit fees strategy

The Commission also discussed a report on Best Value statutory guidance. This is an important milestone and the Commission agreed to endorse the Scottish Government’s guidance.

The next meeting of the Accounts Commission takes place on 9 January 2020.

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.

Engaging with stakeholders