Thursday, June 01, 2017

Extension of the right to inspect accounting records of Councils for Journalists and Bloggers

Extension of the right to inspect accounting records of Councils for Journalists and Bloggers

Something Oakham Town Council is keeping quiet about and not included on its official notice
is a change in the law which permits Journalists and Bloggers the right to inspect all aspects
of all the council accounting records.

Oakham Town Council have never like the fact electors or Councillors have the right to do this
once a year.

My request was unlawfully refused last year after Cllr Adam Lowe said members were not
permitted to go on fishing expeditions.

That may be true when it comes to other documents the council hold but not the accounts

I have sent the following to Oakham Town Council and will wait to see if they are going to
comply with the law this year.

Dear Clerk

I am aware the council has posted a notice for electors to inspect the accounts does our date take into consideration 
the extension put in place.

Extension of the right to inspect accounting records

Published 11th May 2017

RFOs will be aware that for many years 'persons interested' have had a right to inspect accounting records, including 'all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records', during (now) a statutory inspection period of 30 working days including the first 10 working days in July. The Local Audit (Public Access to Documents) Act 2017, enacted in the dying days of the last Parliament, extends this right to 'any journalist'. 'Journalist' is defined as 'any person who produces for publication journalistic material (whether paid to do so or otherwise)' and so includes (in the Government's opinion) a 'citizen journalist' who blogs without payment. The Act comes into force on 27 June 2017 and so will be in force for the compulsory inspection period of the first ten working days in July 2017.

I wish to arrange a time to inspect the council accounts in full for 2016 - 2017

I wish to inspect all original bank statements (nothing should be redacted)
For all the account the council holds.

I wish to inspect all the council receipts and payments.

I wish to inspect all the councils Cheque Book Stubbs.

I make this request as an elector and I also make this request as 'citizens journalist.


Martin Brookes