The Act extends the public inspection rights to "any journalist", without any restriction of residence in a particular local authority area.
A journalist living anywhere is entitled to inspect and copy documents regardeless of whether he/she is employed by a news organisation. There does not appear to be any nationality requirement which means the journalist does not have to be a British citizen, or reside in the UK.
The definition includes citizen journalists and bloggers, as was made clear during the Parliamenary passage of the legislation which was introduced as a Private Members' Bill with government backing.
However, journalists residing outside the area of the local authority do not enjoy the same legal rights as the general public living in the area.
Local electors and tazpayers have a statutory right to question the local auditor about
the accounts at the end of the inspection period, and to lodge formal objections to any item of expenditure. However, this right does not extend to journalists from outside of the relevant local authority area.
Unlike local electors and tazpayers, journalists residing outside the local authority area have limited scope to object to what they may view as unreasonable redactions of information, particularly in relation to protecting "commercial confidentiality".
Journalists faced with obfuscation and/or 'blanked out' financial records have no recourse to appeal to the local auditor for assistance. Instead, journalists must rely on the courts to order disclosure of material withheld unreasonably.
Details of payments
to council staff earning in excess of £50,000per annum are available in
the relevant authorities' annual statements of accounts.
All of the material, including detailed contracts,
listed in the table above are available during the statutory
For further guidance, contact ONB.
The Veolia and Nottinghamshire County Council court