Tuesday 31 July 2012

Update On Accessing Newham Council's Accounts

On 19 July, I reported that Newham council has broken the law by failing to publish details of the period when local people have the right to inspect its draft accounts. This failure included both details on its website and a notice in the local newspaper at least 14 working days before the start of public inspection. An e-mail I have seen, from the council's Chief Accountant Barry Stratfull, explains that "following a technicality", meaning a lack of forethought that no-one managed to catch when it happened last year, "we will be reissuing the required public notice detailing when the accounts will be available for inspection".

The council has now managed to post the correct notice online and an advertisement is tucked away on the bottom of page 44 of this week's Newham Recorder. Residents will be able to inspect any and all contracts, invoices, receipts and bills and make copies from 9 August to 7 September 2012.

This remains one of the most powerful rights available to citizens in the UK to uncover the details of how local councils are spending public money. Therefore, if there are burning questions that residents and local campaigners have wanted answers to, from expenditure on the council's headquarters, its payments to consultants or indeed, how exactly the Preventing Violent Extremism budget has been spent, now is the time to pop along to Newham Town Hall on Barking Road, between 10am and 4pm, to try and find out.

The draft Statement of Accounts for 2011-12 can be found here. Happy hunting!

1 Comment:

Mr. O'Brien said...

Be aware that Newham may try to refuse access to contracts and other information on grounds which may or may not be bogus.

It's best to let the Chief Accountant know now if you want to see something uncomfortable so that there is plenty of time to have the argument.

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