Local authorities and their accounts
Local authorities spend public money. The money comes from national and local taxes as well as charges to service users. Local authorities must tell local residents and taxpayers how their money is spent. They do this by publishing yearly accounts and details of their spending.
The Local Audit & Accountability Act 2014 and the Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015 set out the responsibilities of all local councils in respect of their accounting and auditing procedures.
Each year, the Council’s financial accounts and statements are examined by an independent ‘internal’ auditor appointed by the Council.
The Council is also required to complete an ‘Annual Governance and Accountability Return’ (AGAR) which includes the findings of the Internal Auditor, together with Governance Statements and Financial Statements. This Annual Return is then submitted to another independent ‘external’ auditor for examination.
As part of this process, the Council must publish the unaudited Annual Return and must make arrangements for a period in which interested persons can inspect the Council’s accounts and related documents. If you are a registered local government elector (i.e. you appear on the electoral register for the area covered by the Council) you can also ask questions about the accounts and object to them.
In due course (and by the 30th September each year) the Council must also publish a final copy of the audited Annual Return, once this is received back from the External Auditor after they have completed their examination.
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