Are local service providers accountable, asks Committee?


How some of Scotland’s public services are delivered is to be considered by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee as it looks at arm’s-length external organisations (ALEOs).

ALEOs run a range of public services across the country, such as leisure facilities. Whilst these bodies are subject to the control and influence of local authorities they remain separate bodies. The Committee wants to ensure that ALEOs who often deliver vital public services, are accountable for what they do. 

Committee Convener, Kevin Stewart MSP said: 

“How public services are delivered is of vital importance. Not only must ALEOs meet the needs of the communities in which they operate, but they must be transparent and accountable.   

“Our Committee will explore the governance arrangements around these organisations, some of which have are responsible for many millions of pounds of public money. We want to ensure local authorities have effective oversight to ensure ALEOs fulfil their purpose and provide value for money. We also want to hear about what works well and explore how good practice can be shared throughout the country.” 

In particular, the Committee would like to hear from members of the public about whether they have ever been asked for views on the performance of an ALEO or the type of services delivered by an ALEO.


ALEOs, or arms-length organisations, are used by local authorities to deliver services. They offer an alternative to ‘in house’ services or using contract-based service delivery. 

They are known as ‘arm’s-length’ because the local authority will retain a degree of control or influence, usually through a funding agreement but they will have a separate identity to the local authority. 

When an ALEO takes on responsibility for service delivery, the local authority remains responsible for ensuring that the ALEO uses the public funds properly and can demonstrate best value.  

You can respond to an online questionnaire: 

Or you can make a submission which should be sent to: 

[email protected]

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