Audit Commission Act 1998
1998 Chapter 18 - continued
PART II, ACCOUNTS AND AUDIT OF PUBLIC BODIES - continued

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Auditors' reports and recommendations
Immediate and other reports in public interest.     8. In auditing accounts required to be audited in accordance with this Act, the auditor shall consider-
 
 
    (a) whether, in the public interest, he should make a report on any matter coming to his notice in the course of the audit, in order for it to be considered by the body concerned or brought to the attention of the public, and
 
    (b) whether the public interest requires any such matter to be made the subject of an immediate report rather than of a report to be made at the conclusion of the audit.
General report.     9. - (1) When an auditor has concluded his audit of the accounts of any body under this Act he shall, subject to subsection (2), enter on the relevant statement of accounts prepared pursuant to regulations under section 27 (or, where no such statement is required to be prepared, on the accounts)-
 
 
    (a) a certificate that he has completed the audit in accordance with this Act, and
 
    (b) his opinion on the statement (or, as the case may be, on the accounts).
      (2) Where an auditor makes a report to the body concerned under section 8 at the conclusion of the audit, he may include the certificate and opinion referred to in subsection (1) in that report instead of making an entry on the statement or accounts.
 
Transmission and consideration of section 8 reports.     10. - (1) Any report under section 8 shall be sent by the auditor to the body concerned or (if it is a parish meeting) to its chairman-
 
 
    (a) forthwith if it is an immediate report;
 
    (b) otherwise not later than 14 days after conclusion of the audit.
      (2) A copy of the report shall be sent by the auditor to the Commission and (in the case of a health service body) to the Secretary of State-
 
 
    (a) forthwith if it is an immediate report;
 
    (b) otherwise not later than 14 days after conclusion of the audit.
      (3) The body concerned shall take the report into consideration-
 
 
    (a) in accordance with sections 11 and 12, or
 
    (b) if section 11 does not apply to the body, as soon as practicable after receiving it.
      (4) The agenda supplied to the members for the meeting of the body at which the report is considered shall be accompanied by the report.
 
      (5) The report shall not be excluded-
 
 
    (a) from the matter supplied under section 1(4)(b) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 or section 100B(7) of the 1972 Act (supply of agenda etc. to newspapers); or
 
    (b) from the documents open to inspection under section 100B(1) of the 1972 Act (public access to agenda and reports before meetings).
      (6) Part VA of the 1972 Act has effect in relation to the report as if section 100C(1)(d) of that Act (public access to copies of reports for six years after meeting) were not limited to so much of the report as relates to an item during which the meeting was open to the public.
 
Consideration of reports or recommendations.     11. - (1) A body to which this section applies shall consider in accordance with this section and section 12-
 
 
    (a) any report under section 8, and
 
    (b) any written recommendation within subsection (3),
  sent to the body or (if a parish meeting) its chairman in connection with the audit of its accounts.
 
      (2) This section applies to every body subject to audit except-
 
 
    (a) charter trustees constituted under section 246 of the 1972 Act;
 
    (b) health service bodies;
 
    (c) port health authorities;
 
    (d) licensing planning committees;
 
    (e) internal drainage boards;
 
    (f) probation committees; and
 
    (g) Passenger Transport Executives.
      (3) A written recommendation is within this subsection if it is made to the body concerned by an auditor and is stated in the document containing it to be one which in the auditor's opinion should be considered under this section.
 
      (4) The body concerned shall consider the report or recommendation at a meeting held before the end of four months beginning with the day on which the report or recommendation was sent to the body or its chairman (as the case may be).
 
      (5) At that meeting the body shall decide-
 
 
    (a) whether the report requires the body to take any action or whether the recommendation is to be accepted; and
 
    (b) what, if any, action to take in response to the report or recommendation.
      (6) If an auditor is satisfied that it is reasonable to allow more time for the body to comply with its duties under subsections (4) and (5) in relation to a report or recommendation, the auditor may, in relation to that report or recommendation, extend the period of four months mentioned in subsection (4).
 
      (7) A period may be extended under subsection (6) whether or not it has already been extended under that subsection once or more than once.
 
      (8) Nothing in section 101 of the 1972 Act (delegation of functions) applies to a duty imposed on a body by this section.
 
      (9) This section is without prejudice to any duties (so far as they relate to the subject-matter of a report or recommendation sent to a body to which this section applies) which are imposed by or under this Act, sections 114 to 116 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (functions and reports of finance officers), section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (functions of monitoring officers) or any other enactment.
 
Publicity for meetings under section 11.     12. - (1) A meeting shall not be held for the purposes of section 11 unless, at least seven clear days before the meeting, there has been published, in a newspaper circulating in the area of the body concerned, a notice which-
 
 
    (a) states the time and place of the meeting,
 
    (b) indicates that the meeting is to be held to consider an auditor's report or recommendation (as the case may be), and
 
    (c) describes the subject-matter of the report or recommendation.
      (2) The body concerned shall ensure that, as soon as practicable after the meeting-
 
 
    (a) the auditor of its accounts is notified of the decisions made in pursuance of section 11(5); and
 
    (b) a notice containing a summary of those decisions which has been approved by the auditor is published in a newspaper circulating in that body's area.
      (3) The notice required by subsection (2)(b) in relation to a meeting-
 
 
    (a) need not summarise any decision made while the public were excluded from the meeting-
 
      (i) under section 100A(2) of the 1972 Act (confidential matters);
 
      (ii) in pursuance of a resolution under section 100A(4) of that Act (exempt information); or
 
      (iii) in pursuance of a resolution under section 1(2) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 (protection of public interest);
 
    but
 
    (b) if sections 100C and 100D of the 1972 Act (availability for inspection after meetings of minutes, background papers and other documents) apply in relation to the meeting, shall indicate the documents in relation to the meeting which are open for inspection in accordance with those sections.
      (4) This section is without prejudice to, and in addition to, any provision made in relation to meetings of the body in question by section 10(4) to (6) or by or under the 1972 Act, the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 or any other enactment.
 
Additional publicity for immediate reports.     13. - (1) This section applies where under section 10(1) an auditor has sent an immediate report to a body or its chairman, except where the body is a health service body.
 
      (2) From the time when the report is received by virtue of section 10(1), any member of the public may-
 
 
    (a) inspect the report at all reasonable times without payment,
 
    (b) make a copy of it, or of any part of it, and
 
    (c) require the body or chairman to supply him with a copy of it, or of any part of it, on payment of a reasonable sum.
      (3) On receiving the report by virtue of section 10(1), the body or (if a parish meeting) its chairman shall forthwith publish in one or more local newspapers circulating in the area of the body a notice which-
 
 
    (a) identifies the subject-matter of the report, and
 
    (b) states that any member of the public may inspect the report and make a copy of it or any part of it between such times and at such place or places as are specified in the notice;
  and the body, if not a parish meeting, shall in addition forthwith supply a copy of the report to every member of the body.
 
      (4) The auditor may-
 
 
    (a) notify any person he thinks fit of the fact that he has made the report, and
 
    (b) supply a copy of it or of any part of it to any person he thinks fit.
      (5) A person who has the custody of an immediate report and-
 
 
    (a) obstructs a person in the exercise of a right conferred by subsection (2)(a) or (b), or
 
    (b) refuses to supply a copy of the report or of part of it (as the case may be) to a person entitled to the copy by virtue of subsection (2)(c),
  is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
 
      (6) A person who fails to comply with a requirement of subsection (3) is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
 
      (7) Nothing in this section affects the operation of section 10(4) to (6).
 
 
Public inspection etc. and action by the auditor
Inspection of statements of accounts and auditors' reports.     14. - (1) A local government elector for the area of a body subject to audit, other than a health service body, may-
 
 
    (a) inspect and make copies of any statement of accounts prepared by the body pursuant to regulations under section 27;
 
    (b) inspect and make copies of any report, other than an immediate report, made to the body by an auditor; and
 
    (c) require copies of any such statement or report to be delivered to him on payment of a reasonable sum for each copy.
      (2) A document which a person is entitled to inspect under this section may be inspected by him at all reasonable times and without payment.
 
      (3) A person who has the custody of any such document and-
 
 
    (a) obstructs a person in the exercise of a right under this section to inspect or make copies of the document, or
 
    (b) refuses to give copies of the document to a person entitled under this section to obtain them,
  is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
 
      (4) References in this section to copies of a document include references to copies of any part of it.
 
 
 
 
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Prepared 29 June 1998