Whitgreave Parish Council
whitgreavepcclerk@gmail.co.uk



Whitgreave is a very small village a few miles to the NNW of Stafford situated midway between the M6 motorway to the west and the A34 trunk road to the east. It lies about 1.5 miles to the northeast of Great Bridgeford.

Smaller authority name: Whitgreave Parish Council

 

NOTICE OF PUBLIC RIGHTS AND PUBLICATION OF UNAUDITED ANNUAL GOVERNANCE
& ACCOUNTABILITY RETURN

ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2018

 

Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 Sections 26
and 27

The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/234)




NOTICE


NOTES




 
1. Date of announcement__22.05.2018___________________________________(a)
2. Each year the smaller authority’s Annual Governance
and Accountability Return (AGAR) needs to be reviewed by an external auditor
appointed by Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd.  The unaudited AGAR has been published with
this notice. As it has yet to be reviewed by the appointed auditor, it is
subject to change as a result of that review.
Any person interested has the right to inspect
and make copies of the accounting records for the financial year to which the
audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and
other documents relating to those records must be made available for
inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2018, these
documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to:
 
(b)   __Ruth Rowlands, Clerk and RFO_________________________________
        _email.
 Whitgreave pcclerk@gmail.com______________________________
        _tel: 07990940553__________________________________________
 
commencing on (c) __Monday 2 July 2018
_______________________
 
 
and ending on (d) ___Friday 10 August 2018
________________________
 
3. Local government electors and their
representatives also have:
 
·        
The opportunity to question the
appointed auditor about the accounting records; and
·        
The right to make an objection which
concerns a matter in respect of which the appointed auditor could either make
a public interest report or apply to the court for a declaration that an item
of account is unlawful. Written notice of an objection must first be given to
the auditor and a copy sent to the smaller authority.
 
The appointed
auditor can be contacted at the address in paragraph 4 below for this purpose
between the above dates only.
 
4. The smaller authority’s AGAR is subject to
review by the appointed auditor under the provisions of the Local Audit and
Accountability Act 2014, the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and the
NAO’s Code of Audit Practice 2015.  The
appointed auditor is:
 
Mazars
1 Westferry Circus
Canary Wharf
London
E14 4HD
(sba@pkf-littlejohn.com)
 
5. This announcement is made by
(e) ____Ruth Rowlands (Clerk & RFO)_______
 


 
 
(a) Insert date of placing of the notice which must be not less than 1
day before the date in (c) below
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(b) Insert name, position and
address/telephone number/ email address, as appropriate, of the Clerk or
other person to which any person may apply to inspect the accounts
 
(c) Insert date, which must be
at least 1 day after the date of announcement in (a) above and at least 30
working days before the date appointed in (d) below
 
(d) The
inspection period between (c) and (d) must be 30 working days inclusive and
must include the first 10 working days of July.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(e) Insert
name and position of person placing the notice – this person must be the
responsible financial officer for the smaller authority




LOCAL AUTHORITY ACCOUNTS: A SUMMARY OF YOUR RIGHTS

 

Please note that this summary applies to all relevant smaller
authorities, including local councils, internal drainage boards and ‘other’
smaller authorities.

 

The basic position

 

The Local
Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (the Act) governs the work of
auditors appointed to smaller authorities. This summary explains the provisions
contained in Sections 26 and 27 of the Act. The Act and the Accounts and
Audit Regulations 2015 also cover the duties, responsibilities and rights
of smaller authorities, other organisations and the public concerning the
accounts being audited.

As a
local elector, or an interested person, you have certain legal rights in
respect of the accounting records of smaller authorities. As an interested
person you can inspect accounting records and related documents. If you are a
local government elector for the area to which the accounts relate you can also
ask questions about the accounts and object to them. You do not have to pay
directly for exercising your rights. However, any resulting costs incurred by
the smaller authority form part of its running costs. Therefore, indirectly,
local residents pay for the cost of you exercising your rights through their
council tax.

The right to inspect the accounting records

 

Any interested person can inspect
the accounting records, which includes but is not limited to local electors.
You can inspect the accounting records for the financial year to which the
audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and
other documents relating to those records. You can copy all, or part, of these
records or 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 (Section 26 (6) – (10) of
the Act explains what is meant by personal information). You cannot 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 smaller authorities have
finished preparing accounts for the financial year and approved them, they must
publish them (including on a website). 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 accounting records. Smaller
authorities must tell the public, including advertising this on their website,
that the accounting records and related documents are available to inspect. By
arrangement you will then have 30 working days to inspect and make copies of the
accounting records. You may have to pay a copying charge. The 30 working day
period must include a common period of inspection during which all smaller
authorities’ accounting records are available to inspect. This will be 2-13
July 2018 for 2017/18 accounts. The advertisement must set out the dates of the
period for the exercise of public rights, how you can communicate to the smaller
authority that you wish to inspect the accounting records and related
documents, the name and address of the auditor, and the relevant legislation
that governs the inspection of accounts and objections.

 

The right to ask the auditor questions about the accounting records

 

You should first ask your smaller authority about the accounting records, since they hold all the details. If you
are a local elector, your right to ask questions of the external auditor is
enshrined in law. However, while the auditor will answer your questions where
possible, they are not always obliged to do so. For example, the question might
be better answered by another organisation, require investigation beyond the
auditor’s remit, or involve disproportionate cost (which is borne by the local
taxpayer). Give your smaller authority the opportunity first to explain
anything in the accounting records that you are unsure about. If you are not
satisfied with their explanation, you can question the external auditor about
the accounting records.

The law
limits the time available for you formally to ask questions. This must be done
in the period for the exercise of pubic rights, so let the external auditor
know your concern as soon as possible. The advertisement or notice that tells
you the accounting records are available to inspect will also give the period
for the exercise of public rights during which you may ask the auditor
questions, which here means formally asking questions under the Act. You can
ask someone to represent you when asking the external auditor questions.

Before
you ask the external auditor any questions, inspect the accounting records
fully, so you know what they contain. Please remember that you cannot formally
ask questions, under the Act, after the end of the period for the exercise of
public rights. You may ask your smaller authority other questions about their
accounts for any year, at any time. But these are not questions under the Act.

You can
ask the external auditor questions about an item in the accounting records for
the financial year being audited. However, your right to ask the external
auditor questions is limited. The external auditor can only answer ‘what’
questions, not ‘why’ questions. The external auditor cannot answer questions
about policies, finances, procedures or anything else unless it is directly
relevant to an item in the accounting records. Remember that your questions
must always be about facts, not opinions. To avoid misunderstanding, we
recommend that you always put your questions in writing.

The right to make objections at audit

 

You have inspected the accounting records and asked
your questions of the smaller authority. Now you may wish to object to the
accounts on the basis that an item in them is in your view unlawful or there
are matters of wider concern arising from the smaller authority’s finances. A
local government elector can ask the external auditor to apply to the High
Court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, or to issue a
report on matters which are in the public interest. You must tell the external
auditor which specific item in the accounts you object to and why you think the
item is unlawful, or why you think that a public interest report should be made
about it. You must provide the external auditor with the evidence you have to
support your objection. Disagreeing with income or spending does not make it
unlawful. To object to the accounts you must write to the external auditor
stating you want to make an objection, including the information and evidence
below and you must send a copy to the smaller authority. The notice must
include:

 

·        
confirmation that
you are an elector in the smaller authority’s area;

·        
why you are
objecting to the accounts and the facts on which you rely;

·        
details of any
item in the accounts that you think is unlawful; and

·        
details of any
matter about which you think the external auditor should make a public interest
report.

 

Other than it must be in writing, there is no set
format for objecting. You can only ask the external auditor to act within the
powers available under the Local Audit and
Accountability Act 2014.

 

A final word

 

You may not use this ‘right to
object’ to make a personal complaint or claim against your smaller authority.  You should take such complaints to your local
Citizens’ Advice Bureau, local Law Centre or to your solicitor. Smaller
authorities, and so local taxpayers, meet the costs of dealing with questions
and objections.  In deciding whether to
take your objection forward, one of a series of factors the auditor must take
into account is the cost that will be involved, they will only continue with
the objection if it is in the public interest to do so. They may also decide
not to consider an objection if they think that it is frivolous or vexatious,
or if it repeats an objection already considered. If you appeal to the courts
against an auditor’s decision not to apply to the courts for a declaration that
an item of account is unlawful, you will have to pay for the action yourself.

 




For more detailed guidance on
public rights and the special powers of auditors, copies of the publication Local
authority accounts: A guide to your rights are available from the
NAO website.


 
If you wish to contact your authority’s
appointed external auditor please write to the address in paragraph 4 of the Notice of Public Rights and Publication of
Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return.
 




 







The Parish
  • Parish Boundary


Whitgreave Lane from the air