In response to an unprecedented situation across the UK relating to COVID-19 and the need to reduce the pressure on authorities to comply with legal deadlines, the Government have introduced The Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. These Regulations provide authorities with additional time to complete the audit of their accounts for 2020/21, given the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the availability of local authority staff and auditors to complete the audit process within current deadlines due to sickness or redeployment. These Regulations apply only in relation to annual accounts relating to the 2020/21 financial year.
The period for the exercise of public rights under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 is normally required to include the first 10 working days of June. However, because of the potential impact of the COVID-19 virus on local authorities’ ability to have prepared their draft statement of accounts by the end of May, the requirement has been suspended for 2021.
This means that for the deadline to publish the Council’s unaudited accounts has now moved from 31st May 2021 to 31st July 2021, with the deadline for publishing audited statements being moved from 31st July 2021 to 30th September 2021.
Notice is hereby given under Regulation 15(2) (b) of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (as amended) that from 5th July 2021 – 16th August 2021 between 9.30am – 4.00pm on weekdays any person may inspect, and make copies of the accounts and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other related documents of the Fire Authority for the year ended 31st March 2021, as stipulated in Section 25 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. The accounts and other documents will be available for inspection at Fire Service HQ, Bridle Road, Bootle, L30 4YD by prior arrangement. Please telephone 0151 296 4000 to make an appointment. The accounts are available to inspect on this website here.
During this period, a local government elector for any area to which the accounts relate, or their representative, may question the auditor about the accounts, or make an objection to the accounts as set out in sections 26 and 27 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. Any objection, and the grounds on which it is made, must be sent to the auditor in writing, with a copy to the Authority Treasurer at address given above. Any objection must state the grounds on which the objection is being made and particulars of:
- any item of account which is alleged to be contrary to law; and
- any matter in respect of which it is proposed that the auditor could make a public interest report under section 24 of, and paragraph 1 of Schedule 7 to, the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.
Objections should be addressed to Georgia Jones, Grant Thornton UK LLP at Royal Liver Building, Liverpool L3 1PS.
A guide to your rights can be found here.