Items, Investigations & Exposés
22 July 2011: |
Richmond London Borough Council has re-scheduled
its public inspection period after ONB queried its failure to advertise the public
rights on the authority's website in time.
regulations in force since March 2011 compel authorities to post a notice on local
govt websites, detailing times and locations, and rights to question the district
auditor. The rules say information must be given at least 14 days before the start
of viewing by the public.
A spokesperson told ONB: "Thank you for bringing
this issue to our attention. To ensure the Council fully complies with the requirements
of the 2011 regulations we have revised the inspection dates and republished the
notice online and in the Richmond and Twickenham Times."
13 July 2011: |
A Norfolk authority has provided local taxpayers
with more time to scrutinise spending, after ONB queried the absence of information
on the council website.
The Kings Lynn/North
Norfolk Borough Council has agreed with its external auditor to extend its public
inspection period by a further week (to 26 Aug), after Orchard News Bureau Ltd
alerted the authority to its failure to post an online notice of public rights
to hold the authority to account.
29 October 2010: |
The Court of Appeal today ruled that taxpayers
and voters are entitled to examine local authority contracts and invoices - but
that councils and contractors are entitled to protect legitimate 'trade secrets'.
Justice Rix, Jackson and Etherton today said the Audit Commission Act 1998 (a
law which permits the public to trawl through local govt accounts each summer)
requires councils and police authorities to disclose files to local taxpayers
and voters except where there is a 'strong public interest' against disclosure.
July 2010: |
The Court of Appeal has been tasked to decide whether
UK taxpayers and voters (including journalists) are free to view, copy and then
publicise details of Town Hall finances.
Justice Rix, Jackson and Etherton are to judge whether the Audit Commission Act
(a law which permits the public to trawl through local govt accounts each summer)
must be tightened up, to enable councils and consultants to keep 'confidential'
contracts and invoices out of public view.
The court is also to rule whether
taxpayers and voters (including journalists) should be prohibited from disclosing
any information inspected and copied to any individual or organisation other than
a nominated district auditor - who will determine what information can be made
More details of court submissions
October 2009: |
Veolia appeals High Court ruling
Waste management firm Veolia ES Nottinghamshire has lodged a formal appeal against
a High Court ruling ordering disclosure of financial details of a multi-million
pound PFI incinerator project.
The company, which took judicial review proceedings
to stop Nottinghamshire county council releasing parts of a contract and monthly
invoices to local campaigner Shlomo Dowen (pictured below), has filed papers with
the Court of Appeal.
It is understood that the company intends to argue that
commercial confidentiality interests over-ride the taxpayers' rights to peruse
the disputed accounts. Mr Justice Cranston rejected Veolia's case in the High
Court hearing earlier this month, and ordered the council to provide Mr Dowen
with access to the files.
An appeal hearing date is pending.
October 2009: |
High Court rules against Veolia on 'commercial confidentiality
The High Court has rejected an attempt by environmental
company Veolia to keep details of a major PFI deal under wraps.
which is operating an incinerator site near Sherwood Forest, Notts, has been told
it can not prevent Friends of the Earth campaigner Shlomo Dowen (pictured) from
inspecting last year's PFI invoices and contracts at his local county council.
Veolia argued that its commercial interests would be damaged if there was disclosure,
as part of the recent annual public audit of accounts. But Judge Cranston said
Parliament had established a clear right for the public to view such files.|
a summary of the judgement, click here.
August 2009: |
High Court hearing on 'commercial confidentiality deal'
is pending over an attempt by environmental firm Veolia to stop a council releasing
details of a PFI deal which cost £21m last year.
The company issued legal
proceedings after Nottinghamshire taxpayer and campaigner Shlomo Dowen (pictured
above) requested access to financial files, using his audit act inspection rights.
At a hearing earlier this week, Veolia argued its contract and monthly invoices
were not covered by legislation requiring accounts to be opened to public inspection.
The company also argued that its itemised fees were commercially sensitive and
confidential, and should not be disclosed to taxpayers, sub-contractors or rival
Mr Justice Cranston is reserving his decision.
For a summary of Counsels'
submissions at the hearing, click here.
web page is updated periodically.
Please check back for additional information.
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