It's Your Right to Know



Good and Bad Practice


Is your local authority one of the 'best' or 'worst' when it comes to encouraging you to exercise your public inspection rights?

Orchard News Bureau Ltd profiles some of the 'best' and 'worst' councils and police authorities, including (where possible) links to documentary
evidence.

From March 2011, it is a legal requirement for English councils to advertise the public inspection details on their
websites. About a third of councils did so in previous years. These are listed below.

The 'worst' authorities either refused to publicise the details online, or gave
misleading or inaccurate details, or failed to provide information in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, or simply failed to provide local taxpayers and voters with sufficient time to exercise their legal rights.

Councils A-Z

A

Aberdeen: Failed to respond to FOI request for dates and details (2009).
Aberdeenshire, Adur, Allerdale, Amber Valley,
Anglesey: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

Angus, Antrim, Ards, Argyll & Bute, Armagh, Arun, Ashfield, Ashford, Aylesbury.


B

Babergh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Barking & Dagenham, Barnet,
Barnsley: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

Barrow-in-Furness, Basildon, Basingstoke & Deane, Bassetlaw,

Bath & NE Somerset: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

Bedford, Bedfordshire, Belfast, Bexley, Birmingham, Blaby, Blackburn-with-Darwen, Blackpool,

Blaenau Gwent: Council declined to provide ONB with a copy of the public notice (2009).
Bolsover, Bolton, Boston, Bournemouth, Bracknell Forest,
Bradford: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Braintree, Breckland, Brent, Brentwood, Bridgend, Brighton-&-Hove,
Bristol: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Broadland,
Bromley: Details advertised on council's website (201, 2009).

Bromsgrove, Broxbourne, Broxtowe,

Buckinghamshire: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).

Burnley, Bury.


C

Caerphilly, Calderdale, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Camden: Council waited until end of inspection period before releasing dates to ONB, in response to FOI request filed one week before the inspection commenced (2009).
Cannock Chase, Canterbury, Cardiff, Carlisle, Carmarthenshire, Carrickfergus, Castle Point, Castlereagh, Central Beds, Ceredigion, Charnwood, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Cherwell, Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester, Chesterfield, Chichester, Chiltern, Chorley, Christchurch, City of London, Clackmannanshire, Colchester, Coleraine, Conwy,
Cookstown: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Copeland, Corby, Cornwall, Cotswold,
Coventry: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

Craigavon, Craven, Crawley,

Croydon: Failed to respond to FOI request for dates and details (2009).
Cumbria: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).

D

Dacorum, Darlington, Dartford, Daventry,
Denbighshire: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Derby: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Derbyshire, Derbys Dales, Derry, Devon,
Doncaster: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).

Dorset, Dover, Down, Dudley, Dumfries,

Dundee: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

Dungannon & South Tyrone, Durham.


E

Ealing: Failed to respond to FOI request for dates and details (2009).
Ealing: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
East Ayrshire, East Cambs, East Devon, East Dorset, East Dunbartonshire, East Hamps, East Herts, East Lindsey, East Lothian, East Northants,
East Renfrewshire: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
East Riding (Yorks): Details advertised on council's website (2010).
East Staffs,
East Sussex: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

Eastbourne, Eden, Edinburgh, Elmbridge,

Enfield: Failed to respond to FOI request for dates and details (2009).
Epping, Epsom & Ewell, Erewash,
Essex: Council failed to provide statutory 14 days' notice to public of inspection dates (contrary to 2003 regulations). Inspection rescheduled following ONB reference to Audit Commission (2009). Details here
Exeter.

F

Falkirk: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).
Fareham, Fenland, Fermanagh,
Fife: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

Flintshire, Forest Heath, Forest of Dean, Fylde.


G

Gateshead, Gedling, Glasgow, Gloucester,
Gloucestershire: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).

Gosport, Gravesham, Great Yarmouth, Greater London Authority, Greenwich, Guildford, Gwynedd.


H

Hackney: Details advertised on council's website (2009).
Halton, Hambleton,
Hammersmith & Fulham : Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Hampshire, Harborough,
Haringey: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Harlow, Harrogate, Harrow, Hart, Hartlepool,
Hastings: Website notice failed to give 20 working days' public inspection access (2011). Details here
Havant, Havering, Herefordshire,
Hertfordshire: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).

Hertsmere, High Peak, Highland,

Hillingdon: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

Hinkley & Bosworth, Horsham, Hounslow,

Hull: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

Huntingdonshire, Hyndburn.


I

Inverclyde: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).
Ipswich, Isles of Scilly, Isle of Wight,
Islington: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).

K

Kensington & Chelsea, Kent, Kettering, Kings Lynn & West Norfolk,
Kingston-upon-Thames: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).

Kirklees, Knowsley.


L

Lambeth: Details advertised on council's website (2009).
Lancashire: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Lancaster: Details advertised on council's website (2009).
Larne,
Leeds: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Leicester: Council website implied period of public inspection was limited to two weeks instead of the statutory 20 working days (2009).
Leicestershire, Lewes, Lewisham, Lichfield, Linavady, Lincoln,
Lincolnshire: Improperly worded public notice failed to give electors and taxpayers full details of their rights to challenge the accounts. The Audit Commission compelled LCC to re-run the inspection period (2010).

Lisburn,

Liverpool: Council imposed 20p per sheet copying charge on al pages inspected & requested - despite an earlier court ruling which specifically disapproved of this practice (2010 and 2009). Details here
Luton: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

M

Magherafelt, Maidstone, Maldon, Malvern,
Manchester: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Mansfield, Medway, Melton, Mendip, Merthyr Tydfil,
Merton: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).

Mid Devon, Mid Suffolk, Mid Sussex,

Middlesbrough: Council waited until end of inspection period before releasing dates to ONB, in response to FOI request filed one week before the inspection commenced (2009).

Midlothian,

Milton Keynes: Council waited until after the inspection period ended before releasing dates to ONB, in response to FOI request filed as the inspection commenced (2009).
Mole Valley : Council website implied inspection limited to electors (2010). Details here
Mole Valley, Monmouthshire, Moray, Moyle.

N

Neath Port Talbot, New Forest, Newark & Sherwood, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Newcastle-upon-Tyne,
Newham: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).

Newport, Newry & Mourne, Newtownabbey, Norfolk, North Ayrshire, North Devon, North Dorset, North Down, NE Derbys, NE Lincs, North Herts, North Kesteven, North Lanarkshire, North Lincs, North Norfolk,

North Somerset: Details advertised on council's website (2009).
North Tyneside : Website notice failed to give contact details of external auditor (2011). Details here

North Warwicks, NW Leics, North Yorks, Northampton, Northamptonshire

Northumberland: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).

Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Nuneaton & Bedworth.


O

Oadby & Wigston,
Oldham: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).

Omagh, Orkney Islands, Oxford, Oxfordshire.


P

Pembrokeshire, Pendle, Perth & Kinross, Peterborough,
Plymouth: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Poole,
Portsmouth: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Powys, Preston, Purbeck.

R

Reading,
Redbridge: Details advertised on council's website (210, 2009).
Redcar & Cleveland: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).

Redditch, Reigate & Banstead, Renfrewshire, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Ribble Valley,

Richmond upon Thames: Details advertised on council's website (2010).

Richmondshire,

Rochdale: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

Rochford, Rossendale, Rother, Rotherham, Rugby, Runnymede, Rushcliffe, Rushmoor, Rutland, Ryedale.


S

Salford: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

Sandwell, Scarborough,

Scottish Borders: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Sedgemoor, Sefton, Selby, Sevenoaks, Sheffield, Shepway, Shetland,
Shropshire: Improperly worded public notice implied public inspection period extended to imprecise date up to conclusion of audit (2009). Details here
Slough: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

Solihull, Somerset, South Ayrshire, South Bucks, South Cambs, South Derbys, South Gloucs, South Hams, South Holland, South Kesteven, South Lakeland, South Lanarkshire, South Norfolk, South Northants, South Oxon, South Ribble, South Somerset, South Staffs,

South Tyneside: Improperly worded public notice implied that public access waslimited to the 'statement of accounts' and 'working papers' (2009). Details here
Southampton, Southend, Southwark, Spelthorne, St Albans, St Edmunsbury, St Helens, Stafford, Staffordshire, Staffs Moorlands, Stevenage, Stirling,
Stockport: Details advertised on council's website (2009).
Stockton-on-Tees: Details advertised on council's website (2009).
Stoke on Trent: Website notice failed to give required information about public rights (2011). Details here

Strabane, Stratford-on-Avon, Stroud, Suffolk, Sunderland, Surrey,

Surrey Heath: Website notice failed to give 20 working days' public inspection access. Notice amended after query raised by ONB (2010).

Sutton, Swale, Swindon.


T

Tameside: Details advertised on council's website (2009).

Tamworth, Tandridge, Taunton Deane, Teignbridge, Telford & Wrekin, Tendring, Test Valley, Tewkesbury, Thanet, Three Rivers,

Thurrock: Failed to respond to FOI request for dates and details (2009).
Tonbridge & Malling, Torbay, Torfaen, Torridge, Tower Hamlets, Trafford, Tunbridge Wells.

U

Uttlesford.

V

Vale of Glamorgan, Vale of White Horse.

W

Wakefield,
Walsall: Failed to respond to FOI request for dates and details (2009).
Waltham Forest: Details advertised on council's website (2010, 2009).

Wandsworth,

Warrington: Details advertised on council's website (2009).
Warwick,
Warwickshire: Website notice incorrectly stated access to audit files governed by data protection act (2011). Details here

Watford, Waveney, Waverley, Wealdon, Wellingborough, Welwyn Hatfield, West Berks, West Devon, West Dorset, West Dunbartonshire, West Lancs, West Lindsey, West Lothian, West Oxon, West Somerset, West Sussex, Western Isles,

Westminster: Advertised details on council's website (2008) but failed to do so (2009).
Weymouth & Portland, Wigan, Wiltshire, Winchester, Windsor & Maidenhead,
Wirral: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Woking, Wokingham, Wolverhampton, Worcester, Worcestershire, Worthing, Wrexham, Wychavon, Wycombe, Wyre, Wyre Forest.
Y

York.

Police Authorities A-Z

Avon & Somerset: Details advertised on authority's website (2010, 2009).

Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Central Scotland,

Cheshire: Failed to respond to FOI request for dates and details (2009).
City of London,
Cleveland: Public notice failed to provide 20 working days' public inspection of accounts (2011 and 2010).
Cumbria,
Derbyshire: Details advertised on authority's website (2009).

Devon & Cornwall, Dorset, Durham, Dyfed-Powys, Essex,

Gloucestershire: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Grampian
Grtr Manchester: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Gwent, Hampshire, Herefordshire,
Hertfordshire: Details advertised on authority's website (2009).

Humberside, Kent,

Lancashire: Failed to respond to FOI request for dates and details (2009).
Leicestershire,

Lincolnshire: Failed to provide 20-working days' public inspection of the accounts. Period advertised included a statutory bank holiday (2010).

London Metropolitan : Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Lothian & Borders,
Merseyside: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Norfolk, Northern, Northern Ireland,
Northumbria: Details advertised on council's website (2010).
North Wales: Details advertised on authority's website (2009).
North Yorkshire: Details advertised on authority's website (2010, 2009).

Northamptonshire,

Nottinghamshire: Details advertised on authority's website (2009).
South Wales: Details advertised on authority's website (2009).

South Yorkshire,

Staffordshire: Failed to provide 20-working days' public inspection of accounts (2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008). Details here

Strathclyde, Suffolk,

Surrey: Details advertised on authority's website (2009).
Sussex: Details advertised on authority's website (2009).

Tayside, Thames Valley,

Warwickshire: Website notice incorrectly stated access to audit files governed by data protection act (2011). Details here
West Mercia: Details advertised on authority's website (2009).
West Midlands: WMPA site stated viewing limited to 2 weeks (2010). Link here
West Yorks : Details advertised on council's website (2010).
Wiltshire.

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