The external audit of the draft statement of accounts for the year ended 31 March 2022 has not yet been completed by our external auditors, EY LLP, due to the national issue relating to infrastructure assets. This situation is allowed for by Regulation 10, paragraph (2a) of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015. Therefore, this notification explains, as per paragraph (2a), that we are not yet able to publish our audited 2021/22 final statement of accounts in line with deadline of 30 November 2022, as per paragraph (1). The General Purposes & Audit Committee have delegated authority to the Director of Finance and Corporate Services, S151 in consultation with the Chairman of the General Purposes and Audit Committee to sign the accounts after completion of the Audit and subject to no material findings, after which we will publish the final audited accounts.
Public Inspection 2021/22
- From 1 August 2022 to 12 September 2022 any elector in the London Borough of Bexley or journalist (a person who produces for publication journalistic material, whether paid to do so or otherwise) is entitled to inspect the council’s draft 2021/22 accounts published online and to ask to inspect documents that support the figures in the accounts.
- Requests can be sent to the Council by email to the following mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org
- Requests should include the individual’s full name and address and if a journalist, the publication the individual writes for.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Public Inspection period the right avenue for me?
- The Public Inspection period is for inspecting records that support the financial information in the accounts and relate to the 2021/22 published draft accounts. Requests that do not fall within this category should not be raised via the Public Inspection process.
- Queries that are not related to Public Inspection can be raised via a Freedom of Information Request on the Council’s website.
- Queries raised via Freedom of Information can be submitted all year round and you do not have to wait for the Public Inspection period to raise these.
What if clarification on a response is required?
- During the inspection period, any inspector of the accounts is entitled to ask for clarification following receipt of documentation or indeed make a new request.
- After the statutory inspection period, the Council will not be able to answer new requests or follow-up questions via this route.
Can I visit to the civic offices and inspect documents in person?
- The council holds data electronically and will be able to provide data in an electronic format via email. The Council promotes the use of sending information electronically rather that printing it or visiting the civic offices to view it.
Can I request a hard copy of documents?
- Data is held electronically, and the preferred method of response is in an electronic format via email. If a printed version is requested via post the council will endeavour to facilitate this and may levy a charge of 5p per sheet and recover postage costs to protect the Council from excess cost and so not to undermine other charging policies.
- Please note that as most staff are remote working due to the pandemic, there may be a delay in response if hard copies are required.
Can you provide examples of requests that will not be responded to under this process?
- Requests from someone who is not an elector in the Borough or a journalist from a publication that is not recognised.
- Requests that are for documents that do not underpin financial information in the 2021/22 published financial statements or that do not relate to them.
- Requests for personal data or commercially confidential information.
When a query cannot be responded to for any of the above reasons, this will be communicated to the individual making the request.
How will the Council respond to high volume requests?
The council is committed to supporting electors in their right to inspect the accounts. High volume requests will likely have a cost to the taxpayer and involve significant officer time. In the event of a high-volume request, the council will seek to engage the requestor to review their request and discuss how their query can be met whilst minimising cost. For example picking a smaller sample of data to request documentation for.
Can I contact the external auditor directly?
- If you are a registered elector in Bexley, during the 30 working-day inspection period the external auditor will be available for you to ask questions about the accounts. Contact details are provided below.
- The right to ask the auditor questions is limited to questions about the accounts. Electors are not entitled to ask questions about Council policies, finances or procedures that are not related to the accounts.
- Before asking the auditor questions electors should have inspected the accounts.
Can I raise an objection to the accounts to the auditor?
- During the 30-working-day inspection period an elector or their representative has the right to make an objection to the accounts to the external auditor in accordance with the Local Audit & Accountability Act 2014.
- Regarding objections raised, the role of the auditor is limited by statute to issues pertaining to:
- Issuing a report in the public interest; and/or
- Applying to the courts for a declaration that an item of account is against the law
Objections raised to the auditors should therefore relate to issues in the Public Interest or compliance with the Law.
No objection may be made unless the auditor has previously received written notice of the proposed objection, specifying the facts on which the objector relies and the grounds on which the objection is being made.
Ernst & Young LLP,
400 Capability Green,
- An elector sending notice to the auditor of proposed objection must also send a copy of the notice to the Council to:
Director of Finance & Corporate Services
London Borough of Bexley
2, Watling Street,
Audit of Accounts - Notice of Public Rights
- Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, Sections 25, 26 and 27
- Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 Sections 14, 15 and 21
- Local Audit (Public Access to Documents) Act 2017, Section 1
NOTICE is given that the unaudited statement of accounts for the year ended 31 March 2022 has been published on the Council’s website. The statement of accounts is unaudited and may be subject to change.
Notice is given that, from 1 August 2022 to 12 September 2022 between 9.30am and 4.30pm on weekdays, any person interested may inspect and make copies of the accounts of the London Borough of Bexley for the year ended 31st March 2022 and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating to those accounts. Some documents containing personal or commercially-privileged information may not be available for inspection. Requests should be made to email@example.com and further details can be found in the Council’s Public Inspection Protocol which accompanies this notice.
Notice is also given that during this period, the auditor, at the request of a local government elector for the London Borough of Bexley, will give the elector or his/her representative an opportunity to question her about the accounts. Any such elector or his/her representative may attend before the auditor and make objections as to any matter in respect of which the auditor could take action under Section 28 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (namely, an unlawful item of account, failure to bring the sum into account, or loss or deficiency caused by wilful misconduct), or could make a report in the public interest under Section 24 of, and paragraph 1 of Schedule 7 to, that Act.
Questions may be received by prior arrangement with the auditor, Elizabeth Jackson, Ernst & Young LLP, 400 Capability Green, Luton, LU1 3LU (Elizabeth.Jackson@uk.ey.com) to whom requests for this purpose should be addressed. No objection may be made unless the auditor has previously received written notice of the proposed objection and its grounds. A copy of that notice must be sent to the Director of Finance & Corporate Services, London Borough of Bexley, Civic Offices, 2 Watling Street, Bexleyheath, DA6 7AT. (Paul.Thorogood@bexley.gov.uk)
A guide to your rights can be found at: Local authority accounts: A guide to your rights.
Director of Finance & Corporate Services
London Borough of Bexley
2 Watling Street