News

 
Annual Accounts & Governance 2023-2024
28 Jun 2024

 

Name of Smaller authority: Arne Parish Council, Dorset

 

 

NOTICE OF PUBLIC RIGHTS AND PUBLICATION OF UNAUDITED ANNUAL GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY RETURN

ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2024

Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 Sections 26 and 27 The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/234) LOCAL AUTHORITY ACCOUNTS: A SUMMARY OF YOUR RIGHTS

Please note that this summary applies to all relevant smaller authorities, including local councils, internal drainage boards and ‘other’ smaller authorities.

The basic position

The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (the Act) governs the work of auditors appointed to smaller authorities. This summary explains the provisions contained in Sections 26 and 27 of the Act. The Act and the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 also cover the duties, responsibilities and rights of smaller authorities, other organisations and the public concerning the accounts being audited.

As a local elector, or an interested person, you have certain legal rights in respect of the accounting records of smaller authorities. As an interested person you can inspect accounting records and related documents. If you are a local government elector for the area to which the accounts relate you can also ask questions about the accounts and object to them. You do not have to pay directly for exercising your rights. However, any resulting costs incurred by the smaller authority form part of its running costs. Therefore, indirectly, local residents pay for the cost of you exercising your rights through their council tax.

 

 

The right to inspect the accounting records

 

 

Any interested person can inspect the accounting records, which includes but is not limited to local electors. You can 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. You can copy all, or part, of these records or documents. Your inspection must be about the accounts, or relate to an item in the accounts. You cannot, for example, inspect or copy documents unrelated to the accounts, or that include personal information (Section 26 (6) – (10) of the Act explains what is meant by personal information). You cannot inspect information which is protected by commercial confidentiality. This is information which would prejudice commercial confidentiality if it was released to the public and there is not, set against this, a very strong reason in the public interest why it should nevertheless be disclosed.

When smaller authorities have finished preparing accounts for the financial year and approved them, they must publish them (including on a website). There must be a 30 working day period, called the ‘period for the exercise of public rights’, during which you can exercise your statutory right to inspect the accounting records. Smaller authorities must tell the public, including advertising this on their website, that the accounting records and related documents are available to inspect. By arrangement you will then have 30 working days to inspect and make copies of the accounting records. You may have to pay a copying charge. The 30 working day period must include a common period of inspection during which all smaller authorities’ accounting records are available to inspect. This will be 1-12 July 2024 for 2023-24 accounts. The advertisement must set out the dates of the period for the exercise of public rights, how you can communicate to the smaller authority that you wish to inspect the accounting records and related documents, the name and address of the auditor, and the relevant legislation that governs the inspection of accounts and objections.

 

 

The right to ask the auditor questions about the accounting records

 

 

You should first ask your smaller authority about the accounting records, since they hold all the details. If you are a local elector, your right to ask questions of the external auditor is enshrined in law. However, while the auditor will answer your questions where possible, they are not always obliged to do so. For example, the question might be better answered by another organisation, require investigation beyond the auditor’s remit, or involve disproportionate cost (which is borne by the local taxpayer). Give your smaller authority the opportunity first to explain anything in the accounting

records that you are unsure about. If you are not satisfied with their explanation, you can question the external auditor about the accounting records.

The law limits the time available for you formally to ask questions. This must be done in the period for the exercise of public rights, so let the external auditor know your concern as soon as possible. The advertisement or notice that tells you the accounting records are available to inspect will also give the period for the exercise of public rights during which you may ask the auditor questions, which here means formally asking questions under the Act. You can ask someone to represent you when asking the external auditor questions.

Before you ask the external auditor any questions, inspect the accounting records fully, so you know what they contain. Please remember that you cannot formally ask questions, under the Act, after the end of the period for the exercise of public rights. You may ask your smaller authority other questions about their accounts for any year, at any time. But these are not questions under the Act.

You can ask the external auditor questions about an item in the accounting records for the financial year being audited. However, your right to ask the external auditor questions is limited. The external auditor can only answer ‘what’ questions, not ‘why’ questions. The external auditor cannot answer questions about policies, finances, procedures or anything else unless it is directly relevant to an item in the accounting records. Remember that your questions must always be about facts, not opinions. To avoid misunderstanding, we recommend that you always put your questions in writing.

 

 

The right to make objections at audit

 

You have inspected the accounting records and asked your questions of the smaller authority. Now you may wish to object to the accounts on the basis that an item in them is in your view unlawful or there are matters of wider concern arising from the smaller authority’s finances. A local government elector can ask the external auditor to apply to the High Court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, or to issue a report on matters which are in the public interest. You must tell the external auditor which specific item in the accounts you object to and why you think the item is unlawful, or why you think that a public interest report should be made about it. You must provide the external auditor with the evidence you have to support your objection. Disagreeing with income or spending does not make it unlawful. To object to the accounts you must write to the external auditor stating you want to make an objection, including the information and evidence below and you must send a copy to the smaller authority. The notice must include:

  • confirmation that you are an elector in the smaller authority’s area;

  • why you are objecting to the accounts and the facts on which you rely;

  • details of any item in the accounts that you think is unlawful; and

  • details of any matter about which you think the external auditor should make a public interest

    report.
    Other than it must be in writing, there is no set format for objecting. You can only ask the external

    auditor to act within the powers available under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

 

A final word

  • You may not use this ‘right to object’ to make a personal complaint or claim against your smaller authority. You should take such complaints to your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, local Law Centre or to your solicitor. Smaller authorities, and so local taxpayers, meet the costs of dealing with questions and objections. In deciding whether to take your objection forward, one of a series of factors the auditor must take into account is the cost that will be involved, they will only continue with the objection if it is in the public interest to do so. They may also decide not to consider an objection if they think that it is frivolous or vexatious, or if it repeats an objection already considered. If you appeal to the courts against an auditor’s decision not to apply to the courts for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, you will have to pay for the action yourself.

For more detailed guidance on public rights and the special powers of auditors, copies of the publication Local authority accounts: A guide to your rights are available from the NAO website.

If you wish to contact your authority’s appointed external auditor please write to the address in paragraph 4 of the Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return.

 
Photo ID Reminder
13 Jun 2024

General Election 2024 Reminder 

 
Flood Plan
23 May 2024

 The revised (Provisional Flood Plan) for the area between Stoborough and Wareham involving the causeway may be viewed from the following link:-

 

 

Flood Plan 1

 
Wareham Ward Dorset Councillors
23 May 2024

Are holding regular advice Surgeries at the Wareham Library.

Please follow the link below for further details:-

 

Dorset Councillor Advice Surgeries

 
Allotments in Stoborough
25 Mar 2024

Allotment Vacancy

 

An allotment has become available.  To apply please see the following:-

 

Our allotments are extremely popular and there may be a waiting list for the site on New Road, Stoborough. For more information please complete the Allotment Application Form and return it to the Clerk.

Residents of the Parish of Arne will be given preference when allocating the allotments when they become vacant.

 

Allotment Application Form

 

 

 
Planning Applications
22 Mar 2024

 P/LBC/2024/01099 Location: Former Engine Shed Barnhill Road Ridge Proposal: Convert existing building into 2no bedroom dwelling with a single storey side extension, internal alterations and erect new outbuilding.

 

 

 

P/HOU/2024/01422Proposal:Grey cladding above the dado line, replacement of UPVc soffits and fascias on porch with same cladding, new aluminium white double glazed windows.Location:Alexander House
33 Stoborough Meadow
Wareham
BH20 5HP

 

P/CLP/2024/01174
39 Furzebrook Road Stoborough BH20 5AU Certificate of Lawfulness : Mobile home in rear garden

 

 

 

 
Allotment Hedge Layering in Progress
13 Feb 2024
 
Rebrand of AONB to National Landscape
07 Dec 2023

Dorset Council has recently announced that the current Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty will be rebranded as a National Landscape along with the 46 other AONBs.   More information can be found on the Dorset Council Website.

 
Speed Watch
29 Nov 2023

Volunteers for Speed Watch Wardens: UPDATE

 

A sufficient number of volunteers have now been recruited and training and procurement of equipment is set to commence.

 

 

 
The Moors at Arne Decision Notice
26 Apr 2023

Dorset Council have now issued consent for the Arne Moors Project with a number of conditions:-

 

Decision Notice

 
Arne Moors Project Diagram
27 Dec 2022

 

Click on the image for an enlarged view.  The diagram illustrates the scope of the works.

 

Also, APC have received the following information from the Planning Officer at Dorset Council in response to the concerns raised at the last meeting by Ridge Yacht Club

 

“The following information has been sent to Mr Clarke by the EA while I was on leave. Mr Clarke has confirmed his concerns are allayed based on this.

 

               To reassure you, we can re-state the outcomes that are presented in the Ridge Wharf Tidal Narrative which concludes that there is no detriment as a result of the project’s proposals:

  1. Your eastern ditch has a capacity of 9,600m3
  2. The volume of tidal water that comes over Ridge Wharf land when the level is between 1.3-1.8mAOD is less than 9,600m3 and so nearly fills the ditch, but not quite.
  3. The ditch becomes full at the point when the entire wider area is under water, a very extreme tide of higher than 1.8mAOD. At this height all of the existing river embankments along the whole of the river would be overwhelmed by the water, as their heights are on average 1.6mAOD.
  4. Even at a water level of 1.8mAOD not all of the Ridge Wharf land is under water, and there is no difference in the situation with the project in place or without the project in place.
  5. If you look at the timestep diagrams in the Ridge Wharf Tidal Narrative you can see that the Ridge Wharf land has water flowing over (as is the case currently) but the water does not back up across the land until the point when the whole area is under water (orange colour figs 3-19 & 3-20).
  6. Thus there will be no newly created standing water on Ridge Wharf land and no detriment. The modelling even shows a very minor betterment for Ridge Wharf land at the highest tidal level.

 

There may have been a misunderstanding arising from the recent discussions that you had with Neil and Simon in Oct this year. We are sorry if this has been the case. Our position remains as stated and as evidenced in our flood risk reports.”

 
Arne Parish Neighbourhood Plan
07 May 2021
Arne Parish Neighbourhood Plan
 
On the 6th May, the Arne Neighbourhood Plan went to referendum. Many parishioners were involved in the production of the Plan or ontributed via public meetings, parish council meetings and surveys, and therefore know that this has been a very long and complicated process. It all began back in 2013 with a vision:
 
'Arne Parish has a unique natural environment formed by past cultural, economic, social, industrial and agricultural practices. While recognising and protecting its heritage, we seek to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of the parish through environmental and economic measures that will develop the community and its charm, so that all its residents, young or old, will continue to live in a community were they feel safe, cared for and happy.'
 
We are very pleased to announce that over 500 residents turned out to vote on 6 May 2021 and the final count was 479 in favour and 36 against - 93% in favour. Of the 8 Neighbourhood Plan referendums being help throughout Dorset on the day, Arne had the highest turnout and the largest majority in favour. We would like to thank all those who voted in favour of the Plan for their support. 
 
You can click here to see a PDF of the whole Neighbourhood Plan

 

 

 
Dorset Local Plan
01 Mar 2021

 

 

 

Get Arne Parish Council's response in PDF

to the Dorset Local Plan.        

 

 

News items from earlier times will make their way into the Gallery Pages

 

Have a look there to see some fascinating "Old News".