Political leaflets and social media posts are not subject to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) requirements that adverts are legal, decent, honest and truthful.

But you can check out the Facts here.

If you get any leaflets with statements or allegations you doubt, send them over and I will gladly Fact-Check them for you.


Claim: “For the last four years, though, the Conservative administration has failed to get our Borough’s finances signed off by an impartial external auditor

Fact-Check: There is an enormous backlog of Local Authority Accounts waiting audit.

It is not the case that the Borough Council is somehow resisting having the accounts audited.

It is also unclear why the Lib Dems think it’s a good idea to try to make this a campaign issue. There are two committees that are charged with scrutinising the Council’s finances and audit functions. Both the Performance & Finance Scrutiny Committee and the Audit & Standards Committee are Chaired by Lib Dem Councillors.

Whilst SHBC are not currently permitted to find alternative auditors, action is being proposed to ask permission from the Secratary of State to do so.

The draft accounts are available for anyone to look at, including the auditors:


SHBC Draft Financial Statements 2019-20

The graph below illustrates the extent of the problem:

When we consider that there are 333 Local Authorities in England, this means that 922 Local Authorities missed the audit deadlines from 2019-2022.

You can read more from the Institute of Accountants of England and Wales here.

SHBC's current auditors are BDO, who will be leaving the local audit market after 2022-23.

At the Council Meeting 22 February the Conservative administration put forward a Motion designed to unlock the situation. The proposal was to write to the Secretary of State for Levelling-up, Housing and Communities to seek his support in finding a way to remove SHBC from it's current obligation to remain with BDO until 2023-24, and give SHBC the freedom to find alternative auditors who do have the capacity. You can read the details here (page 4).

The Lib Dems fiercely opposed the Motion, which raises a question over how seriously they really take this issue.

Residents now know that highlighting the local effects of this widespread backlog to suggest SHBC has a particular problem is misleading.

It may be that they wish to downplay this issue now that the fact that 100s of Councils have been affected by this backlog has been exposed.

As of this week, for example, all of the following Councils have unaudited accounts for 2019-20 and 2020-21 and 2021-22:

They are all Lib Dem run Councils.

Stuart Black, February 2023



Stuart Black, September 2022.