Public Interest Reports Explained
Schedule 7 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (‘the 2014 Act’) requires the auditor to consider whether, in the public interest, they should make a report on any matter coming to their notice during the audit relating to the authority, so it can be considered by the authority or brought to the attention of the public.
Section 27 of the 2014 Act allows a local authority elector for the Council’s area to make an objection to the Council’s accounts concerning a matter in respect of which the auditor can report in the public interest. It requires the auditor to decide whether to consider any such objection and, if so, whether to issue a Public Interest Report.
If a Public Interest Report is issued, the authority must:
- publish the report and a notice stating the subject matter of the report and stating that members of the public may inspect the report.
- the notice must be published on the website of the authority.
- send a copy of the report to each of its Members;
- allow members of the public to inspect the report
- allow members of the public to make a copy of the report or any part of it;
- supply members of the public with the report or any part of it
- consider this report at a meeting within one month of the report
- at least eight clear days before the meeting to consider the report, publish on its website a notice stating the time and place of the meeting at which the report is to be considered, stating that the meeting will consider the report and describing the subject matter of the report;
- supply a copy of the report with the agenda for the meeting considering the report;
- as soon as reasonably practicable after the meeting, notify the auditor of the decisions made in response to the report; and
- as soon as reasonably practicable after the meeting, publish on its website a notice, approved by the auditor summarising those decisions.