It's Your Right to Know

The Local Authority Accounts
(Scotland) Regulations 1985

Section 5 provides 'any interested person' (as defined under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973) with a right to inspect the books, deeds, contracts, vouchers and receipts.

However, the regulations in Scotland provide 15 working days for inspecting the accounts, compared with 20 days in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The law in Scotland differs from other parts of the UK in that local electors and taxpayers are under a strict
time limit for lodging formal objections to any items of expenditure.

'Interested persons' (which includes taxpayers, voters and representatives of businesses contributing indirectly to the local authority accounts) have a maximum of 21 working days in which to file
objections from the date that the documents first become available for inspection.

In England and Wales, formal objections can be made up until the formal closure of the accounts.

As Audit Scotland states on its own website, section 101 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 enables copies or extracts of the accounts to be taken "
without charge".

This is in contrast to practice by a minority of English local authorities which attempt to levy a copying charge on documents requested by local taxpayers - notably Liverpool City Council.

Details of public inspection periods are published by Audit Scotland on its website.

Link to Audit Scotland website here.

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