House of Commons portcullis
House of Commons
Session 2003 - 04
Internet Publications
Other Bills before Parliament

Public Audit (Wales) Bill [HL]


Public Audit (Wales) Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Local government bodies in Wales
Chapter 1 — Accounts and audit

21

 

(9)   

A body guilty of an offence under subsection (8) is liable on summary

conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(10)   

Nothing in this section affects the operation of section 24(4) to (7).

28      

Additional publicity for non-immediate reports

(1)   

This section applies where under section 22(6) an auditor has sent a report

5

made under section 22(4) to a body.

(2)   

The auditor may—

(a)   

notify any person that he has made the report;

(b)   

publish the report;

(c)   

supply a copy of the report or any part of it to any person.

10

(3)   

From the time when the report is sent to the body—

(a)   

the auditor must ensure that any member of the public may—

(i)   

inspect the report at all reasonable times without payment;

(ii)   

make a copy of the report or any part of it at all reasonable times

without payment;

15

(b)   

any member of the public may require the auditor to supply him on

payment of a reasonable sum with a copy of the report or any part of it.

(4)   

From the end of the period of one year starting with the day on which the

report is sent to the body, the obligations of the auditor under subsection (3)—

(a)   

cease to be his obligations, but

20

(b)   

become obligations of the Auditor General for Wales instead.

Public inspection etc and action by auditor

29      

Inspection of statements of accounts and auditors’ reports

(1)   

A local government elector for the area of a local government body in Wales

may—

25

(a)   

at all reasonable times and without payment inspect and make a copy

of any statement of accounts prepared by the body under regulations

made under section 39;

(b)   

at all reasonable times and without payment inspect and make a copy

of any report (other than a report under section 22(3)) made to the body

30

by an auditor;

(c)   

require a copy of a statement or report falling within paragraph (a) or

(b) to be delivered to him on payment of a reasonable sum for each

copy.

(2)   

A person who has custody of a document falling within paragraph (a) or (b) of

35

subsection (1) commits an offence if—

(a)   

he obstructs a person in the exercise of a right under this section to

inspect or make a copy of the document, or

(b)   

he refuses to supply a copy of the document to a person entitled to the

copy under subsection (1)(c).

40

(3)   

A person guilty of an offence under subsection (2) is liable on summary

conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

 

 

Public Audit (Wales) Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Local government bodies in Wales
Chapter 1 — Accounts and audit

22

 

(4)   

In this section references to a copy of a document include a copy of any part of

it.

30      

Inspection of documents and questions at audit

(1)   

At an audit of accounts under this Chapter an interested person may—

(a)   

inspect the accounts to be audited and all books, deeds, contracts, bills,

5

vouchers and receipts relating to them;

(b)   

make a copy of all or any part of the accounts and of any of the other

documents mentioned in paragraph (a).

(2)   

At the request of a local government elector for any area to which accounts to

be audited under this Chapter relate, the auditor of those accounts must give

10

the elector or any representative of his an opportunity to question the auditor

about the accounts.

(3)   

But nothing in this section entitles a person—

(a)   

to inspect any accounts or other document relating to a body to the

extent that the accounts contain, or the document contains, personal

15

information;

(b)   

to require any personal information to be disclosed by a body’s auditor

in answer to any question.

(4)   

In subsection (3) “personal information” means information relating to an

individual which is available to the body for reasons connected with either of

20

these—

(a)   

the fact that the individual holds or has held an office or employment

under the body;

(b)   

the fact that payments or other benefits are or have been made or

provided to the individual by the body in respect of an office or

25

employment under another person.

(5)   

For the purposes of subsection (4) payments made or benefits provided to an

individual in respect of an office or employment include any payment made or

benefit provided to an individual in respect of his ceasing to hold the office or

employment.

30

31      

Right to make objections at audit

(1)   

At an audit of accounts under this Chapter a local government elector for the

area to which the accounts relate, or any representative of his, may make

objections before the auditor as to—

(a)   

any matter in respect of which the auditor has a power to apply for a

35

declaration under section 32;

(b)   

any other matter in respect of which the auditor has the power to make

a report under section 22.

(2)   

A local government elector proposing to make an objection under subsection

(1) must—

40

(a)   

give written notice to the auditor of the proposed objection and the

grounds on which it is to be made, and

(b)   

at the same time, send a copy of the notice to the body whose accounts

are being audited.

 

 

Public Audit (Wales) Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Local government bodies in Wales
Chapter 1 — Accounts and audit

23

 

32      

Declaration that item of account is unlawful

(1)   

Where it appears to an auditor carrying out an audit under this Chapter that

an item of account is contrary to law, the auditor may apply to the court for a

declaration that the item is contrary to law.

(2)   

On an application under this section the court may make or refuse to make the

5

declaration applied for.

(3)   

If the court makes the declaration applied for it may also order rectification of

the accounts.

(4)   

If an auditor decides not to make an application for a declaration under this

section in relation to an item of account, he must notify a person who has made

10

an objection under section 31(1)(a) in relation to the item of account of his

decision.

(5)   

Subsection (4) does not apply if the person who has made the objection has

failed to comply with section 31(2).

(6)   

A person notified under subsection (4) of an auditor’s decision may require the

15

auditor to state in writing the reasons for his decision before the end of the

permitted period, which is 14 days starting with the day on which the person

is notified of the auditor’s decision.

(7)   

A person who receives reasons for an auditor’s decision under subsection (6)

may appeal to the court against the decision before the end of the permitted

20

period, which is 28 days starting with the day on which he receives the reasons.

(8)   

On an appeal under subsection (7) the court has the same powers in relation to

the item of account as it would have if the auditor had applied to the court for

a declaration under subsection (1) in relation to the item of account.

(9)   

On an application or appeal under this section relating to the accounts of a

25

body, the court may make such order as it thinks fit for the payment by the

body of expenses incurred in connection with the application or appeal by—

(a)   

the auditor;

(b)   

the person by whom the appeal is brought.

(10)   

The High Court and the county courts have jurisdiction for the purposes of this

30

section.

Prevention of unlawful expenditure etc

33      

Advisory notices

(1)   

An auditor of accounts of a local government body in Wales may issue a notice

under this section (an “advisory notice”) if he has reason to believe that one or

35

more of the requirements specified in subsection (2) is met.

(2)   

The requirements are that—

(a)   

the body or an officer of the body is about to make or has made a

decision which involves or would involve the body incurring

expenditure which is unlawful;

40

(b)   

the body or an officer of the body is about to take or has begun to take

a course of action which, if pursued to its conclusion, would be

unlawful and likely to cause a loss or deficiency;

 

 

Public Audit (Wales) Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Local government bodies in Wales
Chapter 1 — Accounts and audit

24

 

(c)   

the body or an officer of the body is about to enter an item of account,

the entry of which is unlawful.

(3)   

For the purposes of this section and section 34 the actions of any of these are to

be treated as the actions of a body—

(a)   

a committee or sub-committee of the body;

5

(b)   

a person (other than an officer of the body) authorised to act on behalf

of the body.

(4)   

An advisory notice is a notice which meets these requirements—

(a)   

it is addressed to the body or officer;

(b)   

it specifies which of the requirements specified in subsection (2) is met

10

and the decision, course of action or item of account to which the notice

relates;

(c)   

it specifies that the notice will take effect on the day a copy of it is served

on the person to whom it is addressed;

(d)   

it requires the body or officer to give the auditor of the body’s accounts

15

not less than the specified period of notice in writing of the intention of

the body or officer to—

(i)   

make or implement the decision to which the notice relates,

(ii)   

take or continue to take the course of action to which the notice

relates, or

20

(iii)   

enter the item of account to which the notice relates.

(5)   

For the purposes of subsection (4)(d) the specified period of notice is the period

(not exceeding 21 days) specified in the advisory notice.

(6)   

A copy of an advisory notice—

(a)   

must be served on the body to which, or to an officer of which, it is

25

addressed;

(b)   

if the notice is addressed to an officer, must be served on him;

(c)   

may be served on any other person considered appropriate by the

auditor by whom the notice is issued.

(7)   

The auditor by whom an advisory notice is issued must before the end of the

30

required period serve a statement of his reasons for the belief referred to in

subsection (1) on—

(a)   

the body, and

(b)   

if the advisory notice is addressed to an officer of the body, the officer.

(8)   

The required period for the purposes of subsection (7) is 7 days starting on the

35

day on which a copy of the advisory notice was served on the person to whom

it is addressed.

(9)   

A document to be served on an officer of a body under this section must be

served on him by addressing it to him and—

(a)   

delivering it to him at an office of the body at which he is employed,

40

(b)   

leaving it at such an office, or

(c)   

sending it by post to such an office.

(10)   

An advisory notice may at any time be withdrawn by the person who for the

time being is the auditor of the body to which, or to an officer of which, the

notice was addressed.

45

 

 

Public Audit (Wales) Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Local government bodies in Wales
Chapter 1 — Accounts and audit

25

 

(11)   

The auditor by whom an advisory notice is withdrawn must give notice in

writing of the withdrawal to any body or person on whom a copy of the

advisory notice was served under subsection (6).

(12)   

If two or more auditors are appointed in relation to a body’s accounts an

advisory notice may be issued or withdrawn by the auditors acting jointly or

5

by one of the auditors determined by them.

34      

Effect of an advisory notice

(1)   

Subsections (2) to (4) apply while an advisory notice has effect.

(2)   

If the advisory notice relates to a decision, it is not lawful for the body

concerned or an officer of the body to make or implement the decision unless

10

and until the conditions set out in subsection (5) are met.

(3)   

If the advisory notice relates to a course of action, it is not lawful for the body

concerned or an officer of the body to take or continue to take the course of

action unless and until the conditions set out in subsection (5) are met.

(4)   

If the advisory notice relates to an item of account, it is not lawful for the body

15

concerned or an officer of the body to enter the item of account unless and until

the conditions set out in subsection (5) are met.

(5)   

The conditions are—

(a)   

that the body has considered, in the light of the advisory notice and the

statement under section 33(7), the consequences of doing the thing

20

mentioned in whichever of subsections (2) to (4) is applicable;

(b)   

that the body or officer has given the person who is for the time being

the auditor of the body’s accounts the period of notice in writing

required by the advisory notice under section 33(4)(d);

(c)   

that that period has expired.

25

(6)   

An advisory notice takes effect on the day on which a copy of the notice is

served on the person to whom it is addressed.

(7)   

An advisory notice ceases to have effect—

(a)   

if a statement of reasons is not served in accordance with section 33(7),

at the end of the period specified in section 33(8);

30

(b)   

in any other case, when it is withdrawn under section 33(10).

(8)   

An auditor may recover from the body concerned any expenses reasonably

incurred by him in or in connection with the issue of an advisory notice.

(9)   

In this section “the body concerned”, in relation to an advisory notice, means

the body to which, or to an officer of which, the notice is addressed.

35

35      

Advisory notices: legal actions

(1)   

Subsection (2) applies if—

(a)   

before an advisory notice is served, a body enters into a contract to

dispose of or acquire an interest in land, and

(b)   

before the disposal or acquisition is completed, an advisory notice takes

40

effect as a result of which it is unlawful for the body to complete the

disposal or acquisition.

 

 

Public Audit (Wales) Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Local government bodies in Wales
Chapter 1 — Accounts and audit

26

 

(2)   

The existence of the advisory notice does not prejudice any remedy in damages

which may be available to any person as a result of the body’s failure to

complete the contract.

(3)   

No action lies against an auditor in respect of loss or damage alleged to have

been caused as a result of the issue of an advisory notice which was issued in

5

good faith.

36      

Power of auditor to make a claim for judicial review

(1)   

An auditor appointed to audit accounts of a local government body in Wales

may make a claim for judicial review with respect to a decision of the body or

a failure of the body to act, if it is reasonable to believe that the decision or

10

failure to act would have an effect on the body’s accounts.

(2)   

Subsection (1) is subject to section 31(3) of the Supreme Court Act 1981 (c. 54)

(no claim for judicial review without permission of court).

(3)   

The existence of the powers conferred on an auditor under this Part is not a

ground for refusing—

15

(a)   

a claim falling within subsection (1), or

(b)   

an application for permission to make a claim falling within subsection

(1).

(4)   

On a claim by an auditor for judicial review with respect to a decision of a body

or a failure of a body to act, the court may make any order it thinks fit for the

20

payment by the body of expenses incurred by the auditor in connection with

the claim.

Miscellaneous

37      

Extraordinary audit

(1)   

The Auditor General for Wales may direct an auditor to hold an extraordinary

25

audit of the accounts of a local government body in Wales if the condition in

subsection (2) or the condition in subsection (3) is met.

(2)   

The condition is that it appears to the Auditor General for Wales to be desirable

to hold an extraordinary audit of the body’s accounts.

(3)   

The condition is that an application for an extraordinary audit of the body’s

30

accounts is made by a local government elector for the area of the body.

(4)   

The Assembly may require the Auditor General for Wales to direct an auditor

to hold an extraordinary audit of the accounts of a local government body in

Wales if it appears to the Assembly to be desirable in the public interest for an

extraordinary audit of the body’s accounts to be held.

35

(5)   

These provisions apply to an extraordinary audit under this section as they

apply to an ordinary audit under this Chapter—

(a)   

section 15;

(b)   

sections 17 to 19;

(c)   

sections 22 to 28;

40

(d)   

sections 31 and 32.

 

 

Public Audit (Wales) Bill [HL]
Part 2 — Local government bodies in Wales
Chapter 1 — Accounts and audit

27

 

(6)   

An extraordinary audit of a body’s accounts may be held under this section

only if 3 clear days’ notice in writing of the audit is given to the body.

(7)   

The expenditure incurred in holding an extraordinary audit of a body’s

accounts under this section must be met in the first instance by the Auditor

General for Wales.

5

(8)   

The Auditor General for Wales may recover all or part of the expenditure from

the body.

38      

Audit of accounts of officers

(1)   

This section applies if an officer of a local government body in Wales receives

money or other property—

10

(a)   

on behalf of the body, or

(b)   

for which he ought to account to the body.

(2)   

The auditor of the body’s accounts must audit the officer’s accounts.

(3)   

These provisions apply with the necessary modifications to the accounts and

audit—

15

(a)   

section 13(1);

(b)   

sections 17 to 24;

(c)   

sections 27 to 32;

(d)   

section 37;

(e)   

section 39.

20

39      

Accounts and audit regulations

(1)   

The Assembly may by regulations applying to local government bodies in

Wales make provision with respect to—

(a)   

the keeping of accounts;

(b)   

the form, preparation and certification of accounts and of statements of

25

accounts;

(c)   

the deposit of the accounts of a body at the offices of the body or at

another place;

(d)   

the publication of information relating to accounts and the publication

of statements of accounts;

30

(e)   

the exercise of any rights of objection or inspection conferred by section

29, 30 or 31 and the steps to be taken by a body for informing local

government electors for the area of the body of those rights.

(2)   

Before making any regulations under this section the Assembly must consult—

(a)   

the Auditor General for Wales,

35

(b)   

any associations of local authorities in Wales which appear to it to be

concerned, and

(c)   

any bodies of accountants which appear to it to be appropriate.

(3)   

A person commits an offence if—

(a)   

without reasonable excuse he contravenes a provision of regulations

40

under this section, and

(b)   

the regulations declare that contravention of the provision is an offence.

 

 

 
previous section contents continue
 
House of Commons home page Houses of Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 2004
Revised 1 July 2004