The Right to Inspect the Accounts
By law, Craven District Council has to make its accounts available to any interested person or journalist for inspection for a period of 30 working days. Any questions or objections must also be raised in this period.
The period for the inspection of the accounts of the Council for the year ended 31st March 2018 will be from Friday 1st June 2018 to Thursday 12th July 2018 inclusive between the hours of 9.00am and 5.00pm (Monday to Friday).
Any person, on application to the Chief Finance Officer (Section 151 officer), Craven District Council, Council Offices, 1 Belle Vue Square, Broughton Road, Skipton BD23 1FJ, may inspect and make copies of the accounts of the Council for the year ended 31st March 2018 and all related books, deeds, contracts, bills vouchers and receipts.
Interested parties should contact Mr James Hordern, telephone (01756) 706316 or email firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance.
If you wish to inspect our accounts we will arrange for you to view them within our premises.
A guide to your rights can be found on the National Audit Office website
You may have to pay a copying charge
The Right to Ask the Auditor Questions About the Accounts
From Friday 1st June 2018 to Thursday 12th July 2018 a local government elector for the area of the Council, or his/her representative, may ask the Council's external auditor questions about the accounts.
The Council's external auditor Mark Kirkham can be contacted at Mazars LLP, Salvus House, Aykley Heads, Durham, DH1 5TS. Tel: 0191 3836300, to make arrangements to ask any questions.
You are only permitted to ask the auditor questions about the accounts for the year that they are auditing.
The auditor does have the right not to answer questions about the council's policies, finances & procedures.
The auditor does not have to say whether they think something the council has done, or an item in its accounts, is lawful or reasonable.
The Right to Object to the Accounts
If you think that Craven District Council has spent money that they shouldn't have done, or that someone has caused a loss to the authority deliberately or by behaving irresponsibly, you can object to the auditor by sending a formal 'notice of objection in writing '. You must also tell the auditor the reason why you are objecting.
When the auditor reaches a decision on your objection and if you are not happy with that decision then you may appeal to the courts.
You may also object if you think that there is something in the accounts that the auditor should discuss with the council or tell the public about in a 'public interest report'. Again, you must give your reasons.
The auditor will decide whether to take any action. The auditor will normally, but reserves the right not to give reasons for their decision and you cannot appeal to the courts.
You may not, however, use this 'right to object' to make a personal complaint or claim against your council. You should take these complaints to your local Citizens' Advice Bureau, local Law Centre or your solicitor.
These rights may be exercised from Friday 1st June 2018 to Thursday 12th July 2018.
What Else Can You Do
At any time, you can give the auditor information that is relevant to their responsibilities. For example, you can tell the auditor if you have any concerns that something is wrong with the accounts or about waste and inefficiency in the way the council runs its services. You do not have to follow any set time limits or procedures.
The auditor does not have to give you a detailed report of their investigation into the issues you have raised, but they will usually tell you the general outcome.
A Final Word
Councils and so local taxpayers must meet the costs of dealing with questions and objections. Auditors will take valid objections but will consider a range of factors in deciding how to deal with them. They must take into account the costs that will be involved. They will only continue with the objection if it is in the public interest to do so. If you appeal to the courts, you might have to pay for the action yourself.
If you would like further information or would like to arrange a viewing of the accounts please contact Mr James Hordern, telephone (01756) 706316 or email email@example.com in the first instance.