• Councils urged to draw on crisis management skills

    24 May 2022

    Scotland’s councils should draw on their COVID-19 experiences when handling the new challenges posed by service backlogs and rising inflation, the country’s spending watchdog has suggested.

  • New accountability body 'stops short' of Audit Commission reinvention

    08 February 2022

    Plans for a body to oversee the accountability of local government stop just short of re-inventing the Audit Commission, according to experts.

  • Hillier rages over 'chronic' lack of funding

    31 January 2022

    A ‘chronic’ lack of funding for council services amid soaring demand means many communities face a ‘long slog’ out of the COVID-19 pandemic, MPs warned today.

  • Local government audit close to 'breaking point'

    14 July 2021

    The timeliness and quality of auditing local government spending is undermining accountability and effective spending decisions, a watchdog has warned today.

  • Report shows 'accountability vacuum' in council finances

    28 April 2021

    A damning report into citizen’s experiences of scrutinising their councils’ finances has claimed there is an ‘accountability vacuum’.

  • Facing down the pandemic

    29 September 2020

    A line-up of 13 top speakers delivered The MJ’s first virtual Future Forum on lessons learned from the pandemic and the challenges and opportunities facing the sector. Michael Burton and Heather Jameson report on the conclusions.

  • Whiteman: Audit appointment system not independent enough

    29 September 2020

    The system of appointing auditors needs to be independent and not driven by a politically-led organisation, finance expert Rob Whiteman has argued.

  • Trust in the public realm really matters

    21 July 2020

    Trust in public institutions cannot be rebuilt if different levels of government are seeking to divert blame on to each other, says Dr Jonathan Carr-West.

  • Fresh league table fears

    16 June 2020

    The prospect of council performance being ranked in a league table has been raised again this week.

  • Make councils account for extreme investments

    19 March 2020

    Local government needs a new way to hold councils to account when they are making ‘extreme’ investments, finance expert Rob Whiteman has claimed.

  • IfG: Extend outsourcing reforms to councils

    04 March 2020

    Government reforms of outsourcing to avoid another Carillion collapse must be extended to local government where commercial skills lag behind Whitehall, a report from the Institute for Government (IfG) think-tank has said.

  • CIPFA proposals to 'revolutionise financial reporting'

    09 October 2019

    The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has floated the idea of scaling council financial reporting requirements depending on factors such as the size of the authority.

  • Making digital partnerships work

    04 June 2019

    Melvyn Ingleson says that while the expertise of technology companies is genuine, there is an opportunity for councils to re-balance relationships, drive a harder bargain and ensure robust engagement from those you hold accountable for outcomes.

  • Scottish councils need more power - think-tank

    28 May 2019

    Scottish local government needs a ‘renewal,’ a think tank has urged, with directly elected mayors and complete control over council tax and business rates.

  • NAO: Government must do more to ensure LEP value for money

    07 May 2019

    The Government has been reprimanded for not doing enough to ensure billions of pounds given to local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) are delivering value for money.

  • Local authority business provision ‘lacks transparency’ - MSPs

    20 February 2019

    Scottish MSPs have criticised a local authority scheme that aims to help businesses grow for lacking ‘transparency, accountability and alignment’.

  • Keeping up standards

    30 January 2019

    As councils become increasingly commercial, auditors are asking how high standards of governance and accountability can be maintained in a more risky financial climate. Michael Burton reports on a National Audit Office/The MJ round table debate

  • FoI should be extended to providers

    30 January 2019

    The Information Commissioner believes contractors providing services to the public sector should be subject to the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act. Michael Burton also comes down on the side of us being able to monitor how they spend our money.

  • More scrutiny in local government?

    19 December 2018

    Benoit Guerin explains why Government should review the case for setting up local Public Accounts Committees (PACs) to scrutinise performance across the breadth of services locally - and the links between them.

  • EXCLUSIVE: Brokenshire in shared prosperity fund threat

    15 November 2018

    Communities secretary James Brokenshire has threatened to withhold the shared prosperity fund (SPF) from areas that fail to remove local enterprise partnership (LEP) overlaps.