15.Section 4 makes new provision for the procedures to be followed in a hearing held under section 3. The section makes cross-reference to provisions contained in the 1973 Act (as amended in particular by the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 (asp 7) (“the 2000 Act”)). These provisions ensure that the Accounts Commission has the right to determine the procedure at any hearing but that certain basic requirements must be met.
16.These include that the hearing should be conducted (if appropriate) in public, that no fewer than three members of the Accounts Commission should attend, and that any local authority or individual mentioned in the report or likely to be mentioned during the hearing has the right to be heard at the hearing. The Accounts Commission may require individual officers or members of an authority to attend a hearing, under pain of a level 3 fine, but may pay their expenses if it thinks it appropriate.
17.At the conclusion of the hearing the Accounts Commission must prepare written findings to be copied to the relevant local authorities, any member or officer named in the report that initiated proceedings and any other parties the Accounts Commission thinks fit. The findings issued at the conclusion of a hearing can include recommendations made either direct to the relevant local authority or to the Scottish Ministers.
18.As a consequence of provision made by sections 3 and 4, subsection (6) repeals those subsections of the 1973 Act that have been superseded.