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Normandy PC Clerk Claims Covid Rules Block Check of Financial Records

Published on: 30 Sep, 2020
Updated on: 19 Oct, 2020

Normandy Village Hall

By Hugh Coakley

Normandy Parish Council has blocked a September 14 request by The Dragon to inspect their 2019/20 financial records, said to be held in their clerk’s office (see Frustrated Residents Left in the Dark Over the Information Battle of Normandy).

Under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, Sections 26 and 27, inspection is a statutory right: “Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the accounting records“.

The parish clerk, Mr Leslie Clarke, agreed a date of October 1, saying holiday commitments and the availability of PC chairman Mr Alan Cheesman prevented an earlier appointment.

The statutory period for inspection of the records was set by Normandy PC as between August 26 and October 7 although notification was not published on their website until around September 12.

On September 25, two days after The Dragon article was published, Mr Clarke emailed saying: “I regret to inform you that is it necessary to cancel your appointment on 1 Oct 20.

“My office is too small to accommodate you and your colleague and to adhere to the current Covid-19 government guidelines and I am in the vulnerable category.

“We are happy to re-arrange the appointment once the guidelines are sufficiently relaxed to allow us to do so.”

The Dragon has suggested the statutory inspection be changed to a larger venue or even outside and Mr Clarke, an 86-year-old former Army officer, does not need to attend.

Subsequent to the article being published, Mr Clarke has reinstated the appointment of October 1 to inspect the records. He said: “I advised you by email on 28 Sep 320 [sic] that we are expecting you at 1100 hours on 1 Oct 20.” The Dragon can find no record of the email of September 28.

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