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Objecting to the accounts

People who are entitled to vote in local council elections for the area may object to the accounts if they think that the auditor should apply to the High Court to confirm that an item in the accounts is unlawful or make a report 'in the public interest' on a matter that they think the council should consider or tell the public about.

If you want to object to the council's accounts you must give formal notice of your objection, in writing, to the auditor.

The formal notice must include why you are objecting, the details of any item in the accounts that you think is unlawful and the details of any matter that you think the auditor should make a public interest report about.

You must send a copy of your formal notice to the council, marked for the attention of the Chief Executive.

When you are considering whether to object you should appreciate that councils have the power to decide what they think is the best way of doing things. The fact that you may strongly disagree with something that the council has done does not mean that you can necessarily challenge that action. Neither the auditor nor the courts have the power to question a council's policy. The courts can only get involved if the council has acted unlawfully.

The council must meet the cost of dealing with questions and objections, although you may be required to pay for copies of documents. However, you may have to pay the costs if you appeal to the courts against an auditor's decision.

You cannot use the objection process to make a personal complaint or claim against the council. If you think that the council has done something wrong you should follow the council's complaints procedure.

Once the auditor has considered your objection he will issue a decision.

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