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


Download our handy PPT presentation here


The ONB legal challenge to Lincolnshire County Council (2005)



Orchard News Bureau took Lincolnshire County Council to the High Court after the authority withheld financial records from public inspection.

The council
censored invoices and related documents relating to its 2003/2004 accounts, and claimed it was entitled to do so under data protection rules.

The council attempted to argue that information contained in the accounts could not be disclosed without the
permission of contractors and consultants.



But Mr (now Lord) Justice Leveson ruled that the council had no legal justification to use the data protection act to censor the accounts.

He told the council that ONB and others were entitled to
view the records during the statutory public inspection period.

He also put the authority on notice that any future attempt to withhold financial records using either the data protection act, or the human rights act, would trigger a judicial review hearing.

The council
released the censored accounts.

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