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Managing the Exercise of Public Rights

0 votes
How is your Council managing the Exercise of Public Rights during this time? For example our local Council will only let one item at a time to be viewed, which I find difficult to cross reference. Times cracking on as the public announcement wasn’t advertised on the website,  only the Town Hall Noticeboard within a large Parish and rarely gets seen now people are in the main staying in. TIA
asked by (480 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
Ours is doing it the same way as normal, probably because hardly anybody bothers to make visit in normal times. That said, the new Clerk to her credit has put far more cost data on the web than her predecessor so a lot of stuff that used to be on paper is online.
answered by (13.5k points)
I’ve been told that no photos can be taken, only copies produced by staff which seems a bit of a waste of paper and fees when I’d only photo the copies after!
You need to report that to your external auditor. Taking photos isn't ideal but I can't think of any reason this should be prevented. The documents are meant to be made available for inspection - ask the PC to quote the legislation that entitles them to disallow photography of paper records.
I did ask and the reply was that they sought and are acting on advice from ALC.
Is the ALC a sub division of NALC - the Avon Association of Local Councils?  Unless the The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 or the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 stipulate that copying documents with a digital camera is not permitted, neither ALC or the Parish Council should make their own rules about it.  If you take digital photos of documents, you are not incurring costs on the precept. If the PC make you pay for a copy, they are unnecessarily incurring paper, printer ink and admin costs on the precept.
Yes the ALC in question was Gloucestershire Association of Parish and Town Councils. IMO not really councillor friendly, more concerned with Officer training.
0 votes
I've offered socially-distanced individual appointments.  All records laid out for inspection, I'm in the room to answer questions and make a list of copies required, then everything stays where it is, untouched by me, for at least 72 hours.  I offer e-mail rather than paper copies and most people seem to prefer this, so if they want something I have on the computer, they can have it same day, otherwise they have to wait three days until I can scan it.

The auditor should be made aware of the failure to post the notice on the website Helen, as this is an important part of the process.
answered by (18.5k points)
The notice was amoungst the financial section of the website, not easy to find if one uses a phone. The website front page has sections on latest news, events and public notices, it was not posted in any of those.
I've seen other councils hide important items on their websites. Against the spirit of the legislation, but not actually a contravention of the regulations.
0 votes
When must the Notice be published? So far as I can ascertain our PC has never published a notice and the auditors gave never commented on its omission. What is the remedy for this?
answered by (910 points)
This year's deadline was no later than 1 September. Usually it's earlier than this. The Chair, the Clerk and the Internal Auditor must each sign a statement on the Annual Return to confirm that this process took place last year in accordance with the regulations. If it didn't happen, the external auditor should be notified.
Thank you. In the absence of a notice, how do you find out who the external auditors are?
Go to www.localaudits.co.uk and click on Audit Appointments. Find your county and you'll see who the EA is. Most of them are PKF Littlejohn, but there are a small number of exceptions. Contact details are shown at the bottom of the page.

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