Key appointments and extension announced for Scotland’s Accounts Commission
The minister for local government, empowerment and planning, Joe Fitzpatrick MSP, unveiled a series of appointments to the Accounts Commission for Scotland, the public body entrusted with overseeing the performance and expenditure of local councils, joint boards, and integration joint boards across the nation.
Ronnie Hinds, a veteran public servant and former chief executive of Fife Council, will extend his role as interim chair of the Accounts Commission until the end of December 2023.
Since his retirement in 2013 he has held a number of public positions, including chair of Boundaries Scotland and lead non-executive director with the Scottish Government. Mr Hinds was deputy chair of the Accounts Commission for four years from October 2014 and served as acting chair for two years until standing down in June 2019. He was also controller of audit from 2000 until 2002.
Additionally, Dr Carol Evans, Angela Leitch, Mike Neilson, and Derek Yule have been named as members of the Accounts Commission, each bringing a wealth of experience.
Dr Evans, possessing over 20 years in education, stakeholder engagement, and strategic leadership, has operated in key roles at AstraZeneca, Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Her present commitments include non-executive roles at Skills Development Scotland and Food Standards Scotland, along with her chairmanship at Friends of Cedarbank Charity.
As a member of global executive teams, she has been responsible for audit, risk, finance and ensuring the highest standards of corporate governance, compliance and performance improvement.
Ms Leitch has worked at a senior level in local authorities for over two decades and has a thorough understanding of the context within which councils continue to operate. After eight years as chief executive of East Lothian Council she was appointed as chief executive to the newly formed Public Health Scotland in November 2019 which gave her a deeper insight and experience of working of NHS in Scotland. She stepped down from this role in March 2023.
Ms Leitch is convenor of the Scottish Local Authority Remuneration Committee which will report to Ministers in November 2023. In addition, she is a trustee on the board of the Cyrenians and Chair of Youthlink Scotland.
Mr Neilson, a retired civil servant, has served at the UK Treasury, European Commission, and the Scottish Government, with more than 15 years as a director. He has in-depth experience of leading public service improvement and restructuring in a range of roles in the Scottish Government, including in relation to digital services, housing, homelessness and public utilities.
He brings extensive experience of different models of public service governance, and of financial and programme management, having had accountability for budgets in excess of £1 billion per annum, and for complex multi-agency programmes.
Mr Yule is a retired depute chief executive and director of corporate resources at Highland Council. He is a qualified accountant (CIPFA), who trained in the NHS and held several posts in the NHS and local government. He has been a member of several boards and working groups relative to local government at UK and Scottish level. He was awarded CIPFA Scotland Public Finance Professional of the year in 2019.
These appointments and extension, overseen by the ethical standards commissioner, are part-time roles with respective remunerations. All selected members have not engaged in any political activity in the past five years, confirming the neutrality and merit-based nature of the appointment process.
The Accounts Commission stands as a pillar of transparency and assurance for Scotland’s citizens, safeguarding the optimal use of public funds by local councils.