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Clarification: Normandy Parish Council Refuses To Disclose Failed Audit Details

Published on: 2 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 2 Jan, 2021

By Hugh Coakley

This article was originally published on December 31, 2020. Following correspondence from Normandy Parish Council, we wish to clarify that the council published the External Audit 2019 /20 on December 9 (click here to view).

Normandy Parish Council has refused to disclose to The Guildford Dragon NEWS details of failures in their 2019/20 Internal Audit, and noted in the External Audit 2019/20 which identified “significant weaknesses in relation to invoices, salary payments, the asset register and provision for the exercise of public rights”.

After several requests for explanations of the failures and their plans to address them, the council has also not commented on whether it would publish these details on their website, as required by the Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities.

Normandy Village Hall.

In an email to The Dragon on December 18, the council’s decision not to disclose or publish appears to be based on the wording of general advice from the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) which encourages but doesn’t require local authorities with an annual turnover of less than £200,000 or greater than £25,000 to comply with the code.

The same advice states: “As guardians of public money, there is an expectation that local councils are expected to be as transparent and open as possible. Transparency and openness are fundamental principles behind everything local councils do.”

The council have also noted that they are only obliged to provide details of the annual audit return to Normandy electors which does not include The Dragon.

Cllr Alan Cheesman, chair of Normandy Parish Council.

Previously the parish clerk Lesley Clarke has said the council was compliant with the Transparency Code. The council chairman, Alan Cheesman claims it is “complying with all statute rules” and has accused The Dragon in an email of December 29 of “becoming vexatious”.

See also: Frustrated residents left in the dark over the information battle of Normandy and Normandy PC finally reveals failures in financial governance and public rights.

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