Your rights to inspect the accounts are set out in Sections 14, 15 and 16 of the Audit Commission Act 1998. The detailed regulations that set out how you can use these rights are in the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2003.
Under the Audit Commission Act 1998 any persons interested may inspect the accounts to be audited and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating to them and make copies of all or any part of the accounts and those other documents.
The accounts must be placed on deposit for a period of 20 working days (four weeks) to allow any persons the opportunity to exercise these rights. The council is required to advertise on their websites and in a local newspaper giving the dates, times and places where the public can see and copy documents at least 14 days before they are placed on deposit.
You do not have the right to inspect and copy documents that contain personal information, including personal information about a member of staff. This means that details of payments or other benefits that a council employee receives will be confidential.
Once you have inspected the accounts you have the right to question the auditor and to object to the accounts.
Dorset Council notice of accounts
External Audit of the 2019/20 Statement of Accounts
The external audit of the draft statement of accounts for the year ended 31 March 2020 for Dorset Council has not yet been completed.
Under the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015, Dorset Council is required to publish its audited statement of accounts together with any certificate or opinion from the auditor by 31 July each year. The Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 have amended this date to 30 November 2020, for this year only.
The Dorset Council 2019/20 financial statements are currently being audited by the external auditors, but are being published now in the interest of transparency. The accounts were considered by councillors at the meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee on 16 November 2020, which agreed to delegate authority to the Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee and the Section 151 Officer to approve and sign the financial statements for the period ending 31 March 2020, once the external audit has been concluded. If the external audit identifies the requirement for any material amendments to the statements these should be reported to the Audit Committee prior to signature. The 2019/20 accounts will be republished when the audit has been completed and the accounts have been approved and signed
Draft of accounts for 2019-20
Notice of accounts for 2019-20
Former council annual accounts
Shadow Dorset Council Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) 2018-19 - Declaration of No Accounts