BCP Council “broke the law” last year when it failed to make its document outlining governance processes available to the public.

The “minor” error was raised by a member of the public and raised by the council’s former interim director of law Anne Brown.

She said the error was made as a result of a “legislative omission” during the creation of the new council and its transition from its preceding local authorities

The issue was raised by Bournemouth man Philip Gatrell after the council failed to make a draft version of its annual governance statement available for public inspection last year.

Since 2015, councils have been legally required to publish a document alongside a statement of its accounts.

But this was not done for Bournemouth at the end of the 2018/19 financial year, breaching the Local Audit and Accountability Act.

Under the Local Government Act the council’s monitoring officer is required to raise any issue where the law has been contravened has to be reported to councillors.

“Unfortunately, the omission occurred because of the reliance in the first year of the new authority [BCP Council] to rely upon the predecessor authority procedures.,” a report by Ms Brown said.

“It appears that there was a failure to pick up the legislative omission and adapt the process by the predecessor authorities.”

Councillor Stephen Bartlett said the issue was “not necessarily a minor error. “We did actually break the law,” he said at Tuesday’s full council meeting.

Graham Farrant, the council’s chief executive, said the issue had been “recognised” and that processes were now in place to ensure the statement was correctly made available each year.

He added that the document for the 2019/20 financial year had been available for public inspection in recent weeks.

“All councils have a legal duty to publish a draft annual governance statement alongside a statement of accounts and to make them available for consultation,” he said.

“Last year we carried forward the end-of-year accounting practises from the preceding councils and in doing that we omitted to fulfil the specific legal duty of publishing the draft annual governance statement for Bournemouth Borough Council.”

He added that the council had now “changed its practices” to remedy the issue.