Reading Borough Council (RBC) have published their unaudited accounts for the year ended 31 March 2019. These, along with “all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating to those accounts”, can be inspected on weekdays from 9.30am to 4.30pm until 9 April 2020. This is nine months after the statutory deadline of early June 2019, but it is an improvement on the previous year when the inspection period opened over a year late.
If you would like to take advantage of the public inspection opportunity you can contact RBC by post at:
Executive Director of Resources,
Reading Borough Council,
… or by phone 0118 937 3787.
Inspection of a local authority’s accounts is a public right allowed under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, sections 25,26 and 27, the Accounts and Audit Regulations 14,15 and 21 and the Local Audit (Public Access to Documents) Act 2017, section 1.
RBC’s statement of accounts, along with other financial, policy and legal information, can be found on the council’s website.
The National Audit Office (NAO) have published a guide on exercising rights to inspection, which includes guidance on asking questions and making objections responsibly.
As an interested person or journalist, you can inspect an authority’s accounts and related documents. An interested person includes electors but also business rate payers and others who may pay fees or charges to the authority.
If you are an RBC elector you can also:
- ask questions about the accounts to the auditors Ernst & Young (EY),
- object to the accounts.
If you want to ask EY questions about the accounts, then you should first contact them to make arrangements to do this. You can do this by post to:
Ernst & Young LLP,
… or by phone 023 8038 2000.
You can object to the accounts on the grounds that an item in the accounts is unlawful, that there has been a failure to bring a sum into account, or a loss or deficiency has been caused by wilful misconduct on which the auditor can take action, or you can make a report in the public interest under paragraph 1, Schedule 7 of S24 the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.
If you decide to object, you must send a written notice of the proposed objection and its grounds to the auditors, and a copy of that notice must also be sent to the executive director of resources at RBC civic offices.
This must be done before the inspection period closes at 4.30pm on 9 April 2020.