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

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Blackburn with Darwen Borough 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

Accesstoinformation, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

Dear Megan,

Thank you for your request for information regarding ‘Public exercise of inspection and objection rights under Local Audit and Accountability Act’ (reference number 05111). Your request was received on the 26/09/19 and I am dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and/or Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, I will let you know. A fees notice will be issued to you, and you will be required to pay before we will proceed to deal with your request.

If you have any queries about this request, please contact Information Governance on 01254 585852. Alternatively, our email address is [Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council request email].         

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Kind Regards,

Fatima Makken
Apprentice Information Governance Officer
Email: [email address]
01254 222527

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Accesstoinformation, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

2 Atodiad

Dear Ms Waugh

 

Thank you for your attached request for information regarding ‘the
inspection of account and objections’ (our reference 05111); Please find
our response below:

 

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.

 

The council has received no objections to items in our accounts during the
period requested

 

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.

 

To the best of our knowledge there have been no inspections of our
accounts but we do not record this information

 

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

If you have any queries regarding your request for information then please
don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
you should write to: Information Governance Manager, Information
Governance, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, G Floor, Town Hall,
Blackburn, Lancashire, BB1 7DY or email
[1][Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council request email]

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water
Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. 

 

Please find attached our 'have your say' feedback policy. 

 

Kind Regards,

 

Information Governance

Email: [2][Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council request email]

Tel: 01254 585852

 

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