Across the UK, concerned individuals and local groups are holding local government to account. Research for Action has been supporting this loose network to form closer ties, meet regularly to learn from one another, provide support and compare experiences and techniques.
This publication shows ways in which those local groups and individuals are scrutinising their local authorities, challenging poor governance and decisions they believe are not in the public interest.
Citizen auditors are working on a wide range of issues relating to council spending, but also on challenging poor governance. In practice, the work involves attending council meetings and scrutinising minutes, accounts and documents as well as using accountability rights enshrined in different pieces of legislation such as the Local Audit and Accountability Act or processes like judicial review. We support each other in working on very technical issues, which though vital for democracy can be complex to communicate to the wider public.
This brief report is intended to explain why we have initiated this network and demonstrates some of the ways in which the local democratic deficit is being tackled across the UK. It also highlights some of the tools citizen auditors are using. We hope that it will inspire and encourage more people to scrutinise their councils and hold them to account, and we are very grateful to those who have shared their experiences with us.
If you would like to hear more about the network and our next meeting, contact Fanny at fanny(at)researchforaction.uk.