Guide to the Legislation
The rules governing the public's rights to view and copy local authority files are profiled in this section.

England

The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014
BRIEFING ORIGINAL

The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (England)
BRIEFING ORIGINAL

The Local Audit (Public Access to Documents) Act 2017
BRIEFING ORIGINAL

Wales

The Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2014
BRIEFING ORIGINAL

Scotland

The Local Authority Accounts
(Scotland) Regulations 2014
BRIEFING ORIGINAL

Northern Ireland

The Local Government (Accounts and Audit) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015
BRIEFING ORIGINAL

Links to Council Websites
LOCAL AUTHORITY WEBSITES: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT LINKS

LOCAL AUTHORITY WEBSITES: PUBLIC NOTICES OF AUDIT INSPECTIONS
It's Your Right to Know


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The Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2014



Welsh voters, taxpayers and journaists have less time to examine and copy local government spending records in comparison with English residents.

The legislation governed
access to accounts concerning councils was unified by the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 in England and Wales.

The law was amended in 2017, to enable journalists and citizen journalists to inspect and copy bills, vouchers, deeds, contracts, invoices and statements of accounts without any limitation on residency.

However, there are several key
differences between inspection rights in the two countries. While residents, taxpayers and journalists in England have a 30-day window to examine the original documents, files and records, regulation 11 gives only 20 working days for the public to request access to files and to conduct their enquiries.

Regulation 12 requires councils to publish (online) a
notice informing the public of their rights to access the documents and records at least 14 days before the start of the public inspection period.

Unlike the English regulations, there is no pre-determined period and the 20-day inspection window is left to the
auditor. Council finance officials have a deadline of 30 June to sign the statement of accounts, which means the public inspection period will normally take place during June or July each year.

Regulation 9 requires councils to list the number of employees receiving
salaries valued £60,000 or more in £5,000 incremental ranges, together with their job titles but not their names. The regulation compels councils to identify all employees receiving salaries worth £150,000 or above by name, together with their job titles.

For further guidance, contact ONB.


Key Court Rulings



The Veolia and Nottinghamshire County Council court cases (2009/10)
BRIEFING ORIGINAL

The ONB and Lincolnshire County Council court hearing (2005)
BRIEFING  

The HTV and Bristol City Council court case (2004)
BRIEFING  

Exernal Reference Materials
DCLG GUIDE TO CHECKING COUNCIL EXPENDITURE

NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE GUIDE TO CHECKING COUNCIL EXPENDITURE

AUDIT SCOTLAND GUIDE TO CHECKING COUNCIL EXPENDITURE

AUDIT WALES GUIDE TO CHECKING COMMUNITY COUNCIL EXPENDITURE

AUDIT NORTHERN IRELAND GUIDE TO CHECKING COUNCIL EXPENDITURE

THE PUBLIC SECTOR AUDIT APPOINTMENTS BOARD