Section 161 – Powers of entry and inspection
414.Section 161 gives the persons specified in subsection (2) a power to enter local authority premises and to inspect and take copies of any records or other documents kept by the local authority, and any other documents containing information relating to the authority which the person considers relevant to the exercise of his or her functions under Part 8 of the Act.
415.This power includes a power to inspect and copy documents containing information about private individuals. The power is subject to the following limitations:
it can only be exercised in a local authority premises;
it applies only to records and documents kept by the local authority (and does not apply to records or documents kept by private individuals); and
it is exercisable only if the person exercising the power considers the information is relevant to the exercise of his or her functions under Part 8 of the Act.
416.The power provided by this section is not intended to be exercised in order to obtain access to documents held by private individuals (in the unlikely event they hold documents which fulfil the criteria).