What a bunch of overpaid morons we have at Kent County Council.
Under the Local Audit & Accountability Act 2014 (LAAA 2014) any resident of Kent or journalist can inspect KCC’s accounts 2020/21. These opened to inspection on the 1st July and will close to inspection on the 6th August
Inspection of documents etc
1 – At each audit of accounts under this Act, other than an audit of accounts of a health service body, any persons interested may
(A) inspect the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records, and
(B) make copies of all or any part of those records or documents.
A request was made on the 1st July to inspect various documents including a certain contract (minus all financial information). However KCC state in a response:
There is no mention of this [contract] within the statement of accounts and this will be handled under the FOIA.
This is the wrong answer.
Now it is not just us who say KCC are wrong and given an unlawful response. Oh no! Thankfully Lord Justice Rix, Lord Justice Etherton and Lord Justice Jackson also support our request for the contract requested.
Both ‘accounts to be audited’ and ‘relating to’ should be given a broad meaning: the former referring to and/or embracing the underlying record of financial movements kept as a running record but made up for each financial year, and the latter requiring only a factual connection between the accounts and the documents in question, and not an express reference or mention.
Put simply the document does NOT need to be mentioned in the accounts, plus an Act of Parliament says one can have any contract bearing in mind commercial confidentially. But we requested a contract minus all financial information and KCC got their response WRONG.
Those responsible are highly paid and yet do not understand the legal rulings, or the Act of Parliament, which is bewildering to say the least.
Is it any wonder that KCC are pilloried by residents when they cannot follow the law, or abide by an Act of Parliament? We think not. You can make up your own mind.
The Shepway Vox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful