MSPs are to be asked to look at how the country's top police officers can be held to account after a £7.7 million computer system was abandoned without ever functioning.

The project was overseen by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) but The Herald revealed the national spending watchdog was powerless to look at what had gone wrong with a system that was meant to save eight forces more than £30m but after five years came to nothing.

The issue has again highlighted the fact that because Acpos is established as a limited company it does not come under the scrutiny of Audit Scotland.

Now Iain Gray, convener of the Public Audit Committee, plans to raise the issue with the committee. Speaking in a personal capacity about the need for action, he said: "The audit committee has been very concerned about public money being lost in IT contracts which end up written off. We encouraged the Auditor General to investigate, and evidence from her on her report into the fiascos at three public bodies will be the first item of substantive business at the committee's first meeting of the new parliamentary session.

"There does appear to be a systematic failure by public sector bodies to procure workable IT contracts, across Holyrood and Whitehall, and under administrations of all political stripes."

Acpos general secretary Assistant Chief Constable Cliff Anderson said last night: "Acpos will co-operate as appropriate with the chair and members of the Public Audit Committee should they require further information."

The issue of the status of Acpos has been raised in the past by Audit Scotland and by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, but the whole issue of accountability is about to change with the shift to a single Scottish force.

But Mr Gray said: "The case of Acpos writing off £7.7m on a computer system which does not work is yet more of the same. My personal view is that Audit Scotland must investigate."

A spokesman for Audit Scotland said: "There is an important question about where the money that was spent on this IT system came from, and we are in the process of confirming that."