There is a really good blog post on this ruling that I could not hope to match but I will quote from the ruling:
“..the 1998 Act enables an interested party to inspect and copy certain documents related to the accounts of the Council. It does not create the type of general free-standing right of access to information as conferred by modern information rights legislation. Its history lies in democratic accountability, rather than the policy of transparency and openness behind the modern legislation. But in my view, as a matter of legal analysis, section 15(1) applies in this case, notwithstanding Veolia’s contention that this will lead to a breach of commercial confidentiality. … In the result Mr Dowen is entitled to inspect and copy these documents.”
The Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2005 require that accounts and other documents of local authorities in Wales must be available for public inspection (by electors of that authority) for 20 working days before the date appointed by the auditor. The Wales Audit Office have recently published a list of dates in response to a request made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Response email from Wales Audit Office
Dates of Inspection for Public Authorities in Wales
The inspection period runs for twenty working days from the date listed in the document (15 for probation trusts and probation boards).
The list includes inspection dates for:
- fire authorities
- joint committees
- local authorities
- national park authorities
- pension funds
- police authorities
- probation boards