The council's hardback Minute Book - along with several other documents related to the annual accounts to be scrutinised under the Public Rights requirements - was not made available to two electors who'd booked an appointment this week, The RFO robustly insisted that the Minute Book was not related to the accounts and therefore she had not included it, and she would not include it at any point in the future. When challenged, the RFO admitted that she didn't have the Minute Book in her possession as it was with the Chairman who had taken it to his home after the last council meeting held on 16 June in order to sign and initial all the past year's minutes "in one go". This despite the fact that the minutes should have been signed n public at the first face-to-face meeting of our council after relinquishing Zoom meetings, which took place in May 2021. The Chairman also had the opportunity to sign and initial all the minute papers at the June meeting, but he didn't. As the Chairman was in attendance at the inspection session, he was asked if he could pick up and bring back the Minute Book from his home - a mere five minute drive away. He refused point blank to do so even though he had the time and means to make the book available for public scrutiny.
The RFO was asked why there was no Internal Auditor's Report included in the accounts. The reply was that none had been done or sent to the council as it was not needed under the present AGAR system. Is this the case? Up until now, our Internal Auditor has always provided the council with a comprehensive and considered report covering several pages, with constructive assessment, advice and recommendations to be followed up over the year ahead. The Internal Auditor's contact details were not published in the accounts and had to be requested from the RFO by email.
Among other documents that were not made available by the RFO for inspection by the two electors at the session were the published, signed and dated Notices/Summons/Agendas for last year's PC and Public meetings; all the ratified Bank Reconciliations, a written explanation behind the mysterious loss of several signed cheques for which there is no minuted account or record; the council's Asset Register which had to be amended because the first list included an item not owned by the council, the council's Cashbook Excel document, and the Clerk's time sheets supporting two overtime payments submitted under expenses vouchers rather than as separate salary claims.
It is hoped that all the outstanding documents and Minute Book will be provided by the RFO at another inspection session that has yet to be arranged. It would have been easier and less time-consuming for everyone concerned if all the relevant documents relating the council's accounts had been made available for public inspection the first time round. Is there a definitive list of these available anywhere online?