< Open and accountable local government

Are there other rights I can exercise?

The Local Government Transparency Code sets out the minimum datasets that your local authority should publish. These include spending transactions valued over £500, salaries of senior staff, organisational charts, contracts and the location of public land and assets. The Code applies to local authorities, including parish councils with annual income or expenditure (whichever is the higher) over £200,000xxxi. Local authorities with annual income or expenditure of above £6.5m will soon be statutorily required to comply with Part 2 of the Code when the relevant regulations are in place. You can obtain further information on this from: Local Government Transparency Code.

You can inspect a council’s detailed financial accounts, ledgers and records under section 15 of the Audit Commission Act 1998. In addition, the Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2011xxxii cover checking not just the accounts, but also “all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts related to them”. More information on this right is available at: Transparency and Accountability.

Also, you have the right to request information held by your council by submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to your council (a similar regime exists in relation to environmental information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004).

Information on the Freedom of Information Act and data protection is available on the Information Commissioner’s Office website at: Information Commissioner’s Office.

You have certain rights to re-use for your own purposes documents held by the council under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005. These Regulations provide that any request for re-use must be in writing, and where possible and appropriate the council must make the document concerned available for re-use by electronic means. More information is available at: Re-use of Public Sector Information.


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Where can I find the legislation relating to access to local government bodies’ and council’s executive meetings and information?

The relevant legislation about access to local government body meetings and information is in Section 40 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. The relevant provisions are available at the following link: Local Audit and Accountability Act.

The detailed provisions on how any person can report on the meetings of a local government body are in The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 which can be found at: Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations.

The legislation relating to access to information regarding decisions made by council executives, and their committees, sub-committees and joint committees is Part 1A of the Local Government Act 2000 – see sections 9G and 9GA. This part was inserted as a result of amendments made by the Localism Act 2011 and the relevant provisions are available at the following link: Local Government Act.

The detailed provisions on the rights to attend meetings and obtain information of an executive are in the secondary legislation made under the 2000 Act, that is the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 which can be found at: Meetings and Access to Information.

The legislation relating to access to meetings and documents of a council and other local government bodies can be found in Part VA of the Local Government Act 1972, available at the following link: Local Government Act.

The legislation relating to access to meetings of a parish or town council can be found at section 1 the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, available at the following link: Admission to Meetings.


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< Open and accountable local government

 

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