Public appointment: Members appointed to Accounts Commission for Scotland

Public appointments news release

The Minister for Social Security and Local Government today announced the appointment of Malcolm Bell, Nichola Brown, Jennifer Henderson and Ruth MacLeod as a Member of the Accounts Commission for Scotland.


Malcolm Bell has extensive experience in the public and third sectors and is passionate about partnership working and organisational improvement. He served as Convener of Shetland Islands Council from 2012 until he stood down from elected office in 2022. During this time he was a member of the Cosla Convention and served as a director of the Improvement Service, the ‘go to’ organisation for Local Government improvement in Scotland. In addition he was President of the Scottish Provosts Association, the forum for Scotland’s 32 Civic Heads and served on various other boards including Shetland Citizens Advice. Malcolm was also a Non-Executive Director and Vice-Chair of NHS Shetland between 2010 and 2022. He is a former senior police officer who retired from Northern Constabulary in 2010, having taken a particular interest in community planning and partnership working. He has chaired Shetland’s Child and Adult Protection Committees, leading both through a period of significant organisational and legislative change during his tenure.  Malcolm has been an Honorary Sheriff since 2010. 

Nichola Brown brings extensive experience in partnership working across statutory and community and voluntary organisations, having worked in public health in Glasgow city for over twenty years. With a strong commitment to social justice and reducing inequalities, Nichola has led and managed the implementation of a complex portfolio of work programmes to improve population health, translating national and city strategies into the local context. This is underpinned by her background in community development. From a personal perspective, Nichola brings experience and understanding of the challenges associated with navigating services and systems as a parent carer of a young man with a severe learning disability. Nichola is also founder and Chairperson, in a voluntary capacity, of PlayPeace, a small charity in North Lanarkshire which provides play sessions and outings to support families of children with additional needs during school holiday periods.

Jennifer Henderson has extensive public sector management and leadership experience and is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. She is currently the Chief Executive and Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, where she is delivering a substantial programme of digital transformation. Jennifer emphasises the importance of effective stakeholder engagement, communication, and transparency in public service delivery — bringing experience from both her current role and from leading the stakeholder engagement for the Building Safety Programme established in response to the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower. Jennifer has a strong commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion. She received a UK Women in Defence Award for improving gender equality during her time as a Director at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. Previously, Jennifer also served as a Non-Executive Director for Ploughshare Innovations Ltd.

Ruth Macleod is currently Head of Communications for the Church of Scotland. With more than 20 years’ experience working in strategic Public Relations (PR), predominantly in the public sector, she has led on complex corporate communications issues, managing multi-disciplinary teams across traditional media, digital, web and publishing platforms. She has held previous roles within the police, the local authority sector, the Scottish Government and the fire and rescue service. A specialist in crisis communications and change management Ruth was responsible for delivering the communications function for the newly-formed national Scottish Fire and Rescue Service bringing together eight regional brigades in a significant public sector reform which required significant leadership across all aspects of communications. During her time there she delivered the communications response to a number of high-profile incidents including a firefighter fatality, the Clutha Bar helicopter crash and the George Square bin lorry crash. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).


This appointment will be for four years and will run from 1 November 2022 to 31 October 2026.

This appointment is regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.


This appointment is part-time and attracts a remuneration of £298.15 per day for a time commitment of two and a half days per month.

Other ministerial appointments

Mrs Henderson is a Keeper and Chief Executive of Registers of Scotland, for which she receives remuneration of £87.400 per year, for a time commitment of five days per week.

Mrs Brown is a Member of the Mental Welfare Commission, for which she receives remuneration of £3693.15 per year, for a time commitment of fifteen days per year. This Membership is due to end in January 2023.

Mr Bell and Ms MacLeod do not hold any other public appointments.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.   

Mr Bell was elected and served as an independent / non-aligned councillor on Shetland Islands Council between May 2012 and May 2022. He is not a member of any political party.

Ms MacLeod is a member of the Scottish National Party.

Mrs Brown and Mrs Henderson have had no political activity within the last five years.


The Accounts Commission is the public body responsible for reporting on the performance and spending within Scotland’s 32 councils, 30 Integration Joint Boards and other local government joint boards.

The Accounts Commission plays a significant role in Scottish public life, providing independent assurance to citizens about their local councils’ use of public money and about how these councils are performing. The Commission holds councils and joint boards to account and to ensure that they provide best value for their communities. The Commission operates independently of councils and of the Scottish Government, and reports in public

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