Public exercise of inspection and objection rights under Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Exeter City Council,

The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 provides members of the public with rights to inspect, within an annual inspection window, the council’s accounts and related documents. It also provides local electors with the right to object to an item of the accounts. Prior to the 2014 Act these same rights were enshrined in the Audit Commission Act 1998.

As a regular user of these rights, in my capacity as a local journalist, local elector, member of accountability campaigns and academic researcher I am interested in understanding the frequency and the way in which these rights are being used across the country.

The MHCLG have recently launched an independent inquiry into the quality of local authority audit (the Redmond Review). One of the questions in the recent call for views asks whether the “the inspection and objection regime allow local residents to hold their council to account in an effective manner?” whilst also acknowledging that data is not currently gathered at a national level on the citizen uses of these rights. I feel there is therefore a strong public interest in the timely disclosure of the information in this request.

Please provide the following information:

A. For all the objections you received between 2009 and 2019 (i.e. relating to financial years 2008/9 to 2018/19 inclusive) please provide the following information in an excel spreadsheet. Please use the list below as column headers and compile the data for each objection in a separate row.

1. Objection reference no.
2. Financial year the objection relates to
3. Subject/summary of the objection
4. Date objection was received
5. Did objector ask the auditor make a referral to the High Court?
6. Did objector ask the auditor to issue a Public Interest Report?
7. Was the objection accepted as valid?
8. If not, why?
9. Was a public interest report issued?
10. Was a referral made to the High Court?
11. If so, what was the High Court’s decision?
12. Were any other recommendations made or actions taken by the auditor under the powers set out in Section 24 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act?
13. Date objector was sent a final decision notice
14. How much was the council charged by the auditor to carry out work in relation to the objection?

B. For all the inspection requests you received between 2009 and 2019 (i.e. relating to financial years from 2008/9 to 2018/19 inclusive), please provide the following information in an excel spreadsheet. Please use the list below as column headers and compile the data for each inspection request in a separate row.

1. Inspection reference number
2. Financial year inspection request refers to
3. Date request for information received
4. Was the request accepted as valid?
5. If not, why?
6. Was request transferred to FOI?
7. If transferred to FOI, what was the justification for doing so?
8. Subject/summary of request as recorded
9. Which department(s) dealt with the information request?
10. Date the response and documents requested were sent to requester

Yours faithfully,

Megan I Waugh

Freedom Of Information, Exeter City Council

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Carrie-Anne Bainbridge, Exeter City Council

Thank you for your request for information, which has been dealt with
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 

 

Please see below the information you have requested.

 

Exeter City Council is committed to openness and transparency. If you wish
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here: [2]https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/. 

 

Kind regards

Carrie

 

Carrie-Anne Bainbridge

Policy Officer

Executive Support

Exeter City Council

 

01392 265875

 

From: Megan I Waugh [[3]mailto:[FOI #607245 email]]
Sent: 25 September 2019 20:19
To: Freedom Of Information
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Public exercise of inspection
and objection rights under Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014

 

Dear Exeter City Council,

The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 provides members of the public
with rights to inspect, within an annual inspection window, the council’s
accounts and related documents. It also provides local electors with the
right to object to an item of the accounts. Prior to the 2014 Act these
same rights were enshrined in the Audit Commission Act 1998.

As a regular user of these rights, in my capacity as a local journalist,
local elector, member of accountability campaigns and academic researcher
I am interested in understanding the frequency and the way in which these
rights are being used across the country.

The MHCLG have recently launched an independent inquiry into the quality
of local authority audit (the Redmond Review). One of the questions in the
recent call for views asks whether the “the inspection and objection
regime allow local residents to hold their council to account in an
effective manner?” whilst also acknowledging that data is not currently
gathered at a national level on the citizen uses of these rights. I feel
there is therefore a strong public interest in the timely disclosure of
the information in this request.

Please provide the following information:

A. For all the objections you received between 2009 and 2019 (i.e.
relating to financial years 2008/9 to 2018/19 inclusive) please provide
the following information in an excel spreadsheet. Please use the list
below as column headers and compile the data for each objection in a
separate row.

I can advise the Council has received one objection in 2019.  However, as
the objection had not been entered appropriately, the Council has been
advised by its External Auditors that it cannot be considered as a formal
objection.  The Council’s External Auditors have agreed to look into the
issue raised by the individual.  This matter is ongoing. 

1. Objection reference no.
2. Financial year the objection relates to
3. Subject/summary of the objection
4. Date objection was received
5. Did objector ask the auditor make a referral to the High Court?
6. Did objector ask the auditor to issue a Public Interest Report?
7. Was the objection accepted as valid?
8. If not, why?
9. Was a public interest report issued?
10. Was a referral made to the High Court?
11. If so, what was the High Court’s decision?
12. Were any other recommendations made or actions taken by the auditor
under the powers set out in Section 24 of the Local Audit and
Accountability Act?
13. Date objector was sent a final decision notice
14. How much was the council charged by the auditor to carry out work in
relation to the objection?

B. For all the inspection requests you received between 2009 and 2019
(i.e. relating to financial years from 2008/9 to 2018/19 inclusive),
please provide the following information in an excel spreadsheet. Please
use the list below as column headers and compile the data for each
inspection request in a separate row. This information is not held in a
recorded format. 

1. Inspection reference number
2. Financial year inspection request refers to
3. Date request for information received
4. Was the request accepted as valid?
5. If not, why?
6. Was request transferred to FOI?
7. If transferred to FOI, what was the justification for doing so?
8. Subject/summary of request as recorded
9. Which department(s) dealt with the information request?
10. Date the response and documents requested were sent to requester

Yours faithfully,

Megan I Waugh

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See our [9]privacy notice for details on how we manage personal
information.

Disclaimer: [10]http://www.exeter.gov.uk/disclaimer

References

Visible links
1. http://exeter.gov.uk/council-and-democra...
2. https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/
3. mailto:[FOI #607245 email]
4. mailto:[FOI #607245 email]
5. mailto:[Exeter City Council request email]
6. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...
7. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
8. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...
9. Exeter City Council Privacy Notice
https://exeter.gov.uk/council-and-democr...
10. http://www.exeter.gov.uk/disclaimer