The rules governing
the public's rights to view and copy local authority files
are profiled in this section.
The Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004
This legislation has the same
effect as the Audit Commission Act 1998 in England, and governs the access
to accounts concerning councils, police authorities, national parks and port authorities.
rules were amended by statutory instrument in March 2010, requiring councils and
police authorities to publish total earnings, expenses, bonuses and pension payments
While English authorities are required to list (by job title but
not by name) employees receiving more than £50,000 per annum, in Wales the
tariff is £60,000.
the Welsh and English regulations are identical. Heads of paid service (mainly
and chief constables) who earn more than £150,000 will have their financial
packages released to the public.
Councils and police authorities are obliged
to attach a note to the accounts, listing their (total) salaries, fees and allowances,
severance packages, pension contributions and any other payments in separate sub-headings.
in the case in England, there will be no disclosure this year of any payments
where relevant contracts contained valid confidentiality
clauses, providing those contracts were in force before 1 April 2010.
Section 30 of the 2004 Act gives local electors and taxpayers rights to inspect
and copy all files - except details of payments
to employees or ex-employees earning less than £150,000. Restrictions on
the disclosure of accounts which contain the identities of any other individuals,
introduced in the 2007 English statute, have similar effect in Wales.
in England, councils and police authorities must have the permission
of external auditors to 'redact' such information from the accounts.
2004 Act enables 'interested persons' to question an auditor, and section 31 enables
local electors to lodge formal objections to the accounts.
and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2005 require the files to be open to public inspection
for 20 working days.
guidance, contact Orchard News Bureau Ltd.