Councils tell local residents and taxpayers how they spend your money by publishing yearly accounts and details of their spending.
As a local resident, you have legal rights that let you inspect your Council's accounts and related documents. If you are also a council taxpayer, you also have rights to ask questions about the accounts and object to them.
The publication Council accounts: a guide to your rights [PDF 525KB] explains how you can use your rights responsibly. It explains what the law says about the accounts and your rights. If you have concerns about your Council that are not about the accounts, it points to other sources of advice and more information.
When we have finalised our accounts for the previous financial year, usually towards the end of June, we must advertise that they are available for people to look at. You then have 30 working days to look through the accounts and supporting documents.
You can get copies of the accounts from us. You may not inspect documents that are not relevant to the accounts or are otherwise legally protected.
You can only ask the auditor questions about the accounts for the year that they are auditing. The auditor does not have to answer questions about our policies, finances, procedures or anything else that is not relevant to the accounts. The auditor does not have to say, at this stage, whether they think something we have done, or an item in its accounts, is unlawful.
If you think that we have spent money unlawfully, you can object to the auditor. To object to the council’s accounts you must write to the external auditor stating that you want to make an objection, telling the auditor which specific item in the accounts you object to and why you think the item is unlawful. You must send a copy to the council. Further guidance can be found here The auditor will consider your objection and will usually write to you to say how they have dealt with your objection and the outcome. If you are not happy with that decision, you can appeal to the courts in certain circumstances, but you should take legal advice as you may have to pay costs.
You may also object if you think that there is something in the accounts that the auditor should tell the public about in a 'public interest report'. Again, you must give your reasons. In this case, the auditor must decide whether to take any action. The auditor will normally, but does not have to, give reasons for their decision and you cannot appeal to the courts. You may not, however, use this 'right to object' to make a personal complaint or claim against us. You should take personal complaints to your local Citizens' Advice Bureau, local Law Centre or to your solicitor.
At any time, you can give the auditor information that is relevant to their responsibilities. For example, you can simply tell the auditor if you think that something is wrong with the accounts or about waste and inefficiency in the way we run our services. You do not have to follow any set time limits or procedures. The auditor does not have to give you a detailed report of any investigation into the issues you have raised, but they will usually tell you the general outcome.
Councils, and so local taxpayers, must meet the costs of dealing with questions and objections. Auditors will take valid objections but will consider a range of factors in deciding how to deal with them. 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 might have to pay for the action yourself.
If you suspect fraud or improper use of our money, you may contact our Head of Resources who can be contacted at:
Head of Resources
Derbyshire Dales District Council
Tel: 01629 761 284
If you want to question or challenge our accounts, our external auditor may be able to help you. By law, your rights and the external auditor's powers are limited. If you are thinking about going to the auditor, it is important that you understand your rights and the auditor's powers. The National Audit Office has produced a booklet "Councils' accounts - a guide to your Rights" [PDF 525KB] which should help you.
The Council's External Auditor can be contacted at:
Mr J Cornett
Director of Public Sector Audit
St. Nicholas House,
31 Park Row
Tel: 0844 798 7173
Statement of Accounts Documentation
Audit Completion Letter 2015-16 [PDF 202KB]
Statement of Accounts 2014-15 [PDF 1.1MB]
Statement of Accounts 2013-14 [PDF 1.17MB]
Statement of Accounts 2012-13 [PDF 644KB]
Statement of Accounts 2011-12 [PDF 627KB]
Statement of Accounts 2010-11 [PDF 307KB]
Statement of Accounts 2009-10 [PDF 538KB]