Local councils in England with an annual turnover of £6.5 million or less must complete an annual return in accordance with proper practices summarising their activities at the end of each financial year. This must be approved no later than 30 June.
Basically stated, proper practices mean that to inform taxpayers, local councils must prepare a report on their activities for the year, which is externally audited and then published. External audit remains an essential element in accounting for public money. It makes an important contribution to the stewardship of public resources and to the corporate governance of public services. It also supports local democracy by helping to ensure that members and officers are accountable to the communities they serve and by providing assurance that the public money they manage has been properly spent.
The public accountability framework encourages openness and transparency from local councils by requiring that the annual return and external audit reports are made public.