Section 19: Accountable officer
80.Section 19 requires the Parliamentary corporation to designate a person as the accountable officer.
81.Subsection (1) requires that the accountable officer must either be a Commissioner or a member of the CESPLS’ staff. Under subsection (4) the accountable officer is directly answerable to Parliament for the exercise of those functions specified in subsection (2).
82.The functions of the accountable officer are set out in subsection (2) and include: the signing of the CESPLS’ accounts; ensuring that the CESPLS’ finances are kept in good order; and ensuring that the CESPLS’ resources are used economically, efficiently and effectively. That latter requirement links to section 20 (Budget), in terms of which the budget is approved by the Parliamentary corporation and the CESPLS is required to ensure that its resources are used economically, efficiently and effectively.
83.Subsection (3) provides a degree of protection for the accountable officer should they be required to act in any way which is inconsistent with their responsibilities. Before any such action can be taken the accountable officer must to obtain written authority from the CESPLS. Thereafter a copy of the authority must be sent as soon as possible to the Auditor General for Scotland.