Magazine article Public Finance

Scots Officials 'Should Be Held to Account'

Magazine article Public Finance

Scots Officials 'Should Be Held to Account'

Article excerpt

Scottish council chief executives and senior officials face new laws to make them directly accountable for their decisions and to hold them responsible for poor advice.

Finance Minister Tom McCabe said this week that legislation might be needed to ensure that officials are held to a code that spells out their responsibilities in advising councillors.

McCabe voiced concern over some of the advice given by senior management officials - who earn up to £ 130,000 a year - when he gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament finance committee, which is investigating the failure of councils to implement equal pay agreements.

Councils across Scotland are concerned about the prospect of having to pay millions of pounds in compensation and for new pay structures under the single status agreement that was first struck in 1999.

McCabe told the committee in Edinburgh he found it strange that only one of Scotland s 32 councils - South Lanarkshire - had resolved the issue.

He suggested it could be instructive to look at the professional advice that was offered to elected members of that authority, compared with the professional advice offered in other councils.

He added: 'It might also be useful for us to consider the degree of accountability that should exist, not only among democratically elected politicians but among very highly paid professionals in the public services and local government. …

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