Annex 2 – Audit notice
Notice of appointment of the date for the exercise of electors’ rights
[Ponthir Community Council]
Financial year ending 31 March 2021
1. Date of announcement __6th August 2021___________________________________
2. Each year the annual accounts are audited by the Auditor General for Wales. Prior to this date, any interested person has the opportunity to inspect and make copies of the accounts and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts etc relating to them for 20 working days on reasonable notice. For the year ended 31 March 2021, these documents will be available on reasonable notice on application to:
_Telephone: 07789 640709 ______________________________
between the hours of ____6pm______ and ____8pm___ on Monday to Friday
commencing on 20 August 2021
and ending on 17 September 2021
3. From 20 September 2021, until the audit has been completed, Local Government Electors and their representatives also have:
• the right to question the Auditor General about the accounts.
• the right to attend before the Auditor General and make objections to the accounts or any item in them. Written notice of an objection must first be given to the Auditor General. A copy of the written notice must also be given to the council.
The Auditor General can be contacted via: Community Council Audits, Audit Wales, 24 Cathedral Road Cardiff CF11 9LJ.
4. The audit is being conducted under the provisions of the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004, the Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2014 and the Auditor General for Wales’ Code of Audit Practice.
Electors’ rights under the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004
The basic position
By law, any interested person has the right to inspect the council’s accounts. If you are entitled and registered to vote in local council elections, then you (or your representative) also have the right to ask the Auditor General questions about them or challenge an item of account contained within them.
The right to inspect the accounts
When a local government body has finalised its accounts for the previous financial year, it must advertise that they are available for people to look at. Having given reasonable notice of your intentions, you then have 20 working days to look through the accounts and supporting documents. You will be able to make copies of the accounts and most of the relevant documents from the body. You will probably have to pay a copying charge.
The right to ask the auditor questions about the accounts
You can only ask the Auditor General questions about the accounts. The Auditor General does not have to answer questions about the body’s policies, finances, procedures or anything else not related to the accounts. Your question must be about the accounts that are subject to audit. The Auditor General does not have to say whether he thinks 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 the body has spent money that they should not have, or that someone has caused a loss to the body deliberately or by behaving irresponsibly, you can object to the Auditor General by sending a formal ‘notice of objection’, which must be in writing to the address below. You must tell the Auditor General why you are objecting. The Auditor General must reach a decision on your objection. If you are not happy with that decision, you can appeal to the courts.
You may also object if you think that there is something in the accounts that the Auditor General should discuss with the council or tell the public about in a ‘public interest report’. Again, you must give your reasons in writing to the Auditor General at the address below. In this case, the Auditor General must decide whether to take any action. The Auditor General will normally, but does not have to, give reasons for their decision and you cannot appeal to the courts. You may not use this ‘right to object’ to make a personal complaint or claim against the body.
If you wish to make a personal complaint or claim, you should take these complaints to your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, local Law Centre, or your solicitor. You may also be able to complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales if you believe that a Member of the body has broken the Code of Conduct for Members. The Ombudsman can be contacted at: 1 Old Field Rd, Pencoed, Bridgend CF35 5LJ, (tel: (01656) 641 150).
What else you can do
Instead of objecting, you can give the Auditor General information that is relevant to their responsibilities. For example, you can simply tell the Auditor General if you think 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 General 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
Local government bodies, and so local taxpayers, must meet the costs of dealing with questions and objections. When the Auditor General decides whether to take your objection further, one of a series of factors they must take into account includes 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 wish to contact the Auditor General, please write to: Community Council Audits, Audit Wales, 24 Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF11 9LJ
Final Accounts submissions 2020/21