Inquiry into arm’s length external organisations (ALEOs)



The Committee is undertaking a brief inquiry into the governance arrangements for arm’s length external organisations (ALEOs). These governance arrangements enable local authorities to have effective oversight of ALEOs, ensuring they fulfil their purpose and provide value for money. We want to hear about what works well and explore how good practice can be shared throughout the country.

ALEOs 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.

Increasingly councils are using ALEOs to deliver public services, such as leisure services, arts and culture services, economic development, property maintenance and employment services.


Written evidence

The Committee sought the following points:

  • Has a council ever asked for your views on the performance of an ALEO or the type of services to be delivered by an ALEO?
  • If a council has asked for your views, how did they consult you?
  • If you wanted to complain about an ALEO’s performance, would you complain to the ALEO directly or the council?
  • Have you any other comments to make on ALEOs?

Comments can be made by email to [email protected] or by post to the Local Government and Regeneration Committee, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP.

Before submitting your evidence please read the Parliament’s policy on treatment of written evidence by subject and mandatory committees.

Written Evidence

The call for evidence is now closed. Read the submissions received here:

The Committee also posted a survey relating to ALEOs
You can read the results here (613KB pdf)

Oral evidence

The Committee expects to take evidence in November.


 The Committee published its report on 9 March 2016.

Read the Committee's report here.

Additional Information


The Committee exchanged correspondence with Aberdeen City Council relating to giving evidence to this inquiry.

Letter from Angela Scott, Chief Executive, Aberdeen City Council - 11 November (67KB pdf)

Letter from Convener to Angela Scott, Chief Executive, Aberdeen City Council - 18 November (98KB pdf)

Letter from Convener to Judith Proctor, Chief Officer, Health and Social Care Integration, Aberdeen City Council - 18 November (103KB pdf)

Letter from Convener to Councillor Jenny Laing, Council Leader, Aberdeen City Council - 18 November (103KB pdf)


The Committee wrote to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland in relation to the code of conduct for councillors and councillors' representation on ALEO boards.

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