Andover Town Council is set to become more transparent following the acceptance of its latest audit.

Councillors at the extraordinary meeting on March 4 were told that a plan to bring the council’s website into line with regulations on transparency would be brought to the next meeting of the council for approval.

The council has not met the requirements of the regulations, such as publishing information about tenders and spending over £500, since their introduction in 2015. Failing to follow these rules can lead to central government withholding funds from local authorities, though this threat has very rarely been put into practice.

Councillors met at the extraordinary meeting on Thursday, March 4, to deal with “urgent business matters” before the end of the financial year.

The first of these was to accept the internal audit report and action plan. Part of this was held in public, while the remainder was held in confidential session.

During debate on the report, Cllr David Coole queried steps being taken to meet the council’s transparency obligations, which the report noted had not been met, and asked for clarification.

He said: “That regulation is a really a list of things that have to be put on the website so I’m slightly confused in the recommendation in the box.”

In response, the deputy town clerk, Tor Warburton, said: “This is regarding the website accessibility so I have been working with and our website provider to ensure our website complies with accessibility regulations.

“I have just tonight got a quote in that will be taken to the next council to get that work done so we are compliant.”

Under the Local Government Transparency Code, councils of all sizes must publish information on all expenditure over £500, the use of Government Procurement Cards and details of contract tenders over £5,000, while other information, such as grants made to voluntary organisations, must be published every year.

Failure to be transparent has seen the UK government take action against local authorities in the past, with the Department for Communities and Local Government (now the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) saying it would withhold certain funding from Rother District Council in 2014 over allegations it was not complying with regulations.

Following debate on the motion, councillors voted to accept the report and action plan, with Cllrs Coole, Barbara Long, Jason Sangster, Luigi Gregori, Richard Rowles and Robin Hughes voting in favour. Cllrs Christopher Ecclestone and Rebecca Meyer voted against.

After postponing discussion of the Corporate Risk Assessment to the following meeting, the council passed a resolution to exclude the press and public to discuss confidential aspects of the report.