§ MR. STANLEY LEIGHTON (Shropshire, Oswestry)
I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education, (1), whether he is aware that the Clerk to the Aberdaron United District Board, Pwllheli, has been fined for refusing to allow a ratepayer to inspect the books of the Board, that the books are still kept at the clerk's private house, and that the Board have neglected to carry out the suggestion of the magistrates as to providing an office where such books may be open to the ratepayers' inspection; (2), whether he is also aware that the district auditor has on several occasions refused to pass the accounts of the Board; (3), whether the treasurer of the Board is justified in refusing to allow any member of the Board to inspect all the books of the board at any board meeting; and (4), whether he is aware that the chairman and treasurer of the board have for years past had commercial transactions with the board, and, if so, what steps he is prepared to take in the matter?
§ THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Mr. A. H. D. ACLAND, York, W. R., Rotherham)
I understand that some of the alleged irregularities have been reported to the Education Department by a member of the Aberdaron School Board. They would appear for the most part to be cognisable by courts of law, and such as the Education Department have no power to deal with under the Elementary Education Acts. No report adverse to the accounts of the Board has been received up to the present time by the Department from the District Auditor. As to the third paragraph of the hon. Member's Question, this would appear to be a matter of order at any actual meeting of the Board, but Section 87 of the Elementary Education Act of 1870 gives power to any ratepayer to inspect the Board's books at all reasonable times, and imposes a penalty, recoverable by summary process, on any person who hinders such inspection.