Audit Committees in Scottish Local Authorities 1998-2005
Public Policy and Administration, Vol. 22, pp. 303-318, July 2007
Posted: 27 Oct 2010
Date Written: July 2007
During the last 15 years corporate governance has become increasingly prominent in the public sector. The Audit Commission's 1993 report on probity in local government recommended the establishment of audit committees. However, progress on this was slow, as demonstrated by a survey of Scottish local authorities by the authors in 1998. Recent major changes in government in Scotland at both a local and national level have prompted councils to improve the accountability, openness and integrity of their operations. One major aspect of this exercise was the formation of scrutiny committees to provide objective scrutiny of the process and audit committees were the most common vehicle for this. This article explores recent developments in Scottish local government and their impact on audit committees. The article also reports the results of a 2005 survey of Scottish local authorities and compares these with the 1998 survey. This indicates a significant growth in the number of audit committees in Scottish councils and although the level of their perceived effectiveness is patchy, they are a more important feature of local government than they were in 1998.
Keywords: audit committees, corporate governance, local auhtorities,scrutiny
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