External Audit 2019/2020
The right to inspect the accounts
Any interested person can inspect the accounts, which includes but is not limited to local electors. You can inspect your council’s accounts, any related documents, and any report the auditor made in that financial year. The law says you may inspect the accounts to be audited and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating to them for that financial year. You can copy all, or part, of these accounts and related documents. Your inspection must be about the accounts, or relate to an item in the accounts. You cannot, for example, inspect or copy documents unrelated to the accounts, or that include personal information about staff. You may also not be able to inspect information which is protected by commercial confidentiality. This is information which would prejudice commercial confidentiality if it was released to the public and there is not, set against this, a very strong reason in the public interest why it should nevertheless be disclosed.
When councils have finished preparing accounts for the financial year they must make them available for inspection. There must be a 30 working day period, called the ‘period for the exercise of public rights’, during which you can exercise your statutory right to inspect the accounts. Councils must tell the public, including advertising this on their website, that the accounts and related documents are available to inspect. By arrangement you will then have 30 working days to inspect and make copies of the accounts. You may have to pay a copying charge. The 30 day period must include a common period of inspection during which all councils’ accounts are available to inspect. The advertisement must set out the dates of the period for the exercise of public rights, how you can communicate to the council that you wish to inspect the accounts and related documents, the name and address of the auditor, and the relevant legislation that governs the inspection of accounts and objections.
Click HERE to take you to the full Audit Information, including details of your rights.