Wednesday 31 August 2011

Audit Committee - Stifling Public Scrutiny?

Updated 8.00pm see below:

On 6 September the Audit Committee is due to meet. Amongst other things on the agenda is the External Auditors Annual Audit Report along with a formal document known as an ISA 260 report. It also deals with the annual governance statement. Public have the right to submit questions in advance to the committee but you can only ask about items on the agenda.
Barnet council published the meeting papers but carefully omitted these three key reports. So I know that the annual audit report will be discussed but I haven’t got a clue what is in it. Now here comes the catch. On checking with the Council this morning I was told that the deadline for submitting public questions to the Audit Committee is 10.00am tomorrow Thursday 1 September. At 3.54 pm on Wednesday 31 August these papers were published. So I have between now and 10.00am tomorrow morning to read 162 pages and to frame suitable questions.

Is this the way to encourage public participation? NO

Is this the way to stimulate openness and transparency? NO

This is nothing short of a disgrace.

Update: This evening I had a very courteous email from Barnet Council stating the deadline is in fact Friday at 10.00am, not Thursday as I had previously been told and that if I required additional time to review the papers to let them know. I will ensure that my questions to the committee are detailed and probing!


  1. Respect to Mr Reasonable. Your request was reasonable and polite. Perhaps someone at LBB is starting to realise that they are in a democracy ( or have had enough bad press )

  2. One extra day is simply not good enough - the leadership of this council needs to wake up and realise that this sort of behaviour is further infuriating their own senior party members and ministers. Barnet seems determined to ignore the professed aims of the localism policy agenda at every turn. They are a disgrace to their own party, and a disgrace to the residents of this borough.

  3. Look on the bright side. The deadline for questions for the Residents' Forums in mid-September was 22 June