The right to view the town and parish council accounts appears to be widely misinterpreted or denied. This seems to arise as the terms annual return, accounting records and accounts are misunderstood.

Town and parish councillors play a key role in scrutinising the spending of public money.

This CPALC (Communities, Parish and Local Councils) Best Practice Guide (BPG) is for residents, town and parish councillors and clerks who wish to understand what can be seen by whom and when.


This guide covers...



Interim accounts

Right to view the annual return and accounting records

When can you inspect the accounts and records

Where can you inspect the accounts

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act publication scheme

Inspection of documents

Electors inspection

Councillors inspection



Best Practice



This guide is indicative and not definitive as legal accounting requirements and procedures will vary between councils. It should be noted that Standing Orders cannot deny residents and councillors their statutory rights to view the accounts and some accounting records.


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