Good governance, accountability and transparency are essential to local councils and a cornerstone of the government’s approach to improving public services. Those who are responsible for the conduct of public business and for spending public money are accountable for ensuring that public business is conducted in accordance with the law and proper standards. They must also ensure that public money is safeguarded, properly accounted for and used economically, efficiently and effectively. In discharging this accountability, public bodies and their managements (both members and officers) are responsible for putting in place proper arrangements for the governance of their affairs and the stewardship of the resources in their care. They are required to report on these arrangements in their published Annual Governance Statement. As a safeguard to the proper discharge of this accountability, external auditors in the public sector give an independent opinion on public bodies’ financial statements. They may also review, and report on, aspects of public bodies’ arrangements to ensure the proper conduct of their financial affairs, and those to manage their performance and use of resources.