If you are a local elector you have certain legal rights which allow you to:
When the council has finalised the accounts for the previous financial year, it must publish a statement, called a Notice of Public Rights, on it's website that they are available for electors to look at.
|Notice of Public Rights 2019-20|
The notice gives details of a period of 30 working days during which you may look at the accounts and supporting documentation.
If you think that the council has spent money unlawfully you can object to their accounts by sending the auditor a formal written 'notice of objection'. You may also object if you think that there is something in the accounts which the auditor should formally tell the public in a 'public interest' report.
If you decide to make an objection to an item in the council's accounts the notice must include:
Other than it must be in writing, there is no set format for objecting. You can ask someone to represent you and deal with your objection. This person does not have to live in the area covered by your council.
Objections can be made to the auditor until the conclusion of the audit of the accounts - the Notice of Public Rights gives details.
Councils and local taxpayers must meet the costs of dealing with questions and objections. When the auditor decides whether to take your objection further, they must take into account the costs that will be involved. They will only continue with the objection if it is in the public interest to do so. If you appeal to the courts, you must undertake the cost of this.
You can ask the council's external auditor questions about the accounts for the year that they are auditing until the conclusion of the audit. However, the auditor does not have to answer questions about anything that is not relevant to the accounts. The Notice of Public Rights explains how you can do this.