Objections to local authority accounts
Local electors and other people with an interest have a right to inspect and object to local authority accounts under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.
Auditors appointed by the Accounts Commission have specific duties to consider formal objections to the accounts of local government bodies.
The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and the Local Authority Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2014 requires all local authorities (councils, joint boards and joint committees) to give public notice of the right of interested persons to inspect and object to the accounts. This public notice must be on their website by the 17th of June each year. The inspection period should last for 15 working days and should commence at least 14 days after the notice is published.
The public notice will include the following information:
- that the accounts and other documents will be available for inspection during the ordinary business hours of the local authority for a period of 15 working days from the date specified in the notice
- the places and times at which those accounts and other documents will be available for inspection
- the name and address of the auditor together with the date by which any objections must be sent to them
How can you raise an objection to a local authority's accounts?
If you wish to raise an objection to a local authority’s accounts, you should do this directly with the named auditor.
To comply with section 101 of the 1973 Local Government Act and the 2014 regulations, any person wishing to object to a local authority's accounts must send the objection in writing to the appointed auditor, with a copy to the authority and to any officer of the authority who may be concerned.
You can read more about the process and obligations of authorities in an extract from the Act and regulations (PDF 118Kb).
What happens after you raise an objection?
An interested person who objects to the accounts has the right to be heard by the appointed auditor in relation to the objection. The auditor must give the objector an opportunity, if requested, to appear before them and be heard.
Once the auditor has considered the objection, he or she will send a copy of their findings to the Controller of Audit. The Controller of Audit will assess whether a statutory report is appropriate.
- If a statutory report is not considered appropriate – the auditor should advise the objector, the authority's Chief Executive and any officer concerned of the outcome of their consideration of the matter.
- If a statutory report is to be prepared – the Controller's team will assume responsibility for the process, including any correspondence with the objector.
What happens if it is not a valid objection?
Where the auditor considers that the submission cannot be accepted as a valid objection, the auditor should write as soon as possible to the person who raised the matter, the authority's Chief Executive and any officer of the authority who may be concerned advising that the matter:
- cannot be treated as a statutory objection and explaining the reasons
- will be dealt with as an issue of concern by Audit Scotland's correspondence team.