These Financial Regulations were reviewed and agreed at the Parish Council meeting held on the 15th August 2022.
1.1 These financial regulations govern the conduct of the financial transactions of the Council and may only be amended or varied by resolution of the Council. Financial regulations must be observed in conjunction with the council’s standing orders.
1.2 The council is responsible in law for ensuring that its financial management is adequate and effective and that the council has a sound system of internal control which facilitates the effective exercise of the council’s functions, including arrangements for the management of risk.
1.3 The council’s accounting control systems must include measures:
• for the timely production of accounts;
• that provide for the safe and efficient safeguarding of public money; and
• to prevent and detect inaccuracy and fraud.
1.4 These financial regulations demonstrate how the council meets these responsibilities and requirements.
1.5 At least once a year, prior to approving the Annual Governance Statement, the council must review the effectiveness of its system of internal control which shall be in accordance with proper practices.
1.6 The Clerk has been appointed Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) for this council and these regulations will apply accordingly.
1.7 The Clerk;
• acts under the policy direction of the council;
• administers the council’s financial affairs in accordance with all Acts, Regulations and proper practices;
• determines on behalf of the council its accounting records and accounting control systems;
• ensures the accounting control systems are observed;
• maintains the accounting records of the council are up to date in accordance with proper practices; and
• produces financial management information as required by the council.
2 ACCOUNTING AND AUDIT (INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL)
2.1 All accounting procedures and financial records of the Council shall be determined by the Clerk in accordance with the Accounts and Audit Regulations, appropriate guidance and proper practices.
2.2 The Clerk shall complete the annual statement of accounts, and any related documents of the council contained in the Annual Return (as specified in proper practices) as soon as practicable after the end of the financial year and having certified the accounts shall submit them and report thereon to the council within the timescales set by the Accounts and Audit Regulations.
2.3 The council shall ensure that there is an adequate and effective system of internal audit of its accounting records, and of its system of internal control in accordance with proper practices. The Clerk shall make available such documents to be necessary for the purpose of the audit and shall, as directed by the council, supply the internal auditor, or external auditor with such information and explanation as the council considers necessary for that purpose.
2.4 The internal auditor shall be appointed by and shall carry out the work in relation to internal controls required by the council in accordance with proper practices.
2.5 The internal auditor shall:
• be competent and independent of the financial operations of the council,
• report to the council a minimum of one annual report during each financial year.
2.6 The Clerk shall make arrangements for the exercise of electors’ rights in relation to the accounts including the opportunity to inspect the accounts, books, and vouchers and display or publish any notices and statements of account required by Audit Commission Act 1998, or any superseding legislation, and the Accounts and Audit Regulations.
2.7 The Clerk shall, without undue delay, bring to the attention of all councillors any correspondence or report from internal or external auditors.
3 ANNUAL ESTIMATES (BUDGET) AND FORWARD PLANNING
3.1 The Clerk must each year, by no later than January, prepare detailed estimates of all receipts and payments including the use of reserves and all sources of funding for the following financial year in the form of a budget to be consider the council.
3.2 The council shall fix the precept for the ensuing financial year not later than by the end of January each year. The Clerk shall issue the precept to the billing authority and shall supply each member with a copy of the approved annual budget.
3.3 The approved annual budget shall form the basis of financial control for the ensuing year.
4 BUDGETARY CONTROL AND AUTHORITY TO SPEND
4.1 Expenditure on revenue items may be authorised up to the amounts included for that class of expenditure in the approved budget.
4.2 No expenditure may be authorised that will exceed the amount provided in the revenue budget for that loss of expenditure other than by resolution of the council.
4.3 In cases of extreme risk to the delivery of council services, the clerk may authorise revenue expenditure on behalf of the council which in the clerk’s judgement it is necessary to carry out. Such expenditure includes repair, replacement or other work, whether or not there is any budgetary provision for the expenditure, subject to a a limit of £200. The Clerk shall report such action to the council as soon as practicable thereafter.
4.4 The Clerk shall each meeting provide the council with a statement of receipts and payments to date, comparing actual expenditure against that planned as shown in the budget.
4.5 Changes in earmarked reserves shall be approved by council as part of the budgetary control process.
5 BANKING ARRANGEMENTS AND AUTHORISATION OF PAYMENTS
5.1 The Council’s banking arrangements shall be made by the Clerk and approved by the Council. They shall be regularly reviewed for safety and efficiency.
5.2 The Clerk shall prepare a schedule of the payments requiring authorisation, together with the relevant invoices and present to the council for authorisation. A list of all payments shall be disclosed within the minutes of the meeting at which payment was authorised.
6 INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MAKING OF PAYMENTS
6.1 All payments are the responsibility of the whole council and all councillors share collective responsibility for the financial management of the council.
6.2 The council will make safe and efficient arrangements for the making of its payments.
6.3 All payments shall be effected by cheque or other instructions to the council’s bankers.
6.4 Cheques or orders for payment drawn on the bank account in accordance with the schedule as presented to council shall be signed by two members of the council; the signatories shall each also initial the cheque counterfoil, if appropriate. (A member who a bank signatory is, having a connection by virtue of family or business relationships with the beneficiary of a payment, should not, under normal circumstances, be a signatory to the payment in question.)
6.5 If thought appropriate by the council, payment for utility supplies may be made by variable Direct Debit provided that the instructions are signed by two members and any payments are reported to council when made.
6.6 The Council will not maintain any form of cash float. All cash received must be banked intact. Any payments made in cash by the Clerk shall be refunded on a regular basis, at least quarterly.
7 PAYMENTS OF SALARIES
7.1 The payment of all salaries shall be made in accordance with payroll records and the rules of PAYE and National Insurance currently operating, and salaries agreed by Council.
8 LOANS AND INVESTMENTS
8.1 All loans and investments shall be negotiated in the name of the council and shall be for a set period in accordance with council policy.
8.2 The council shall consider the need for an Investment Strategy and Policy which, if drawn up, shall be in accordance with relevant regulations, proper practices and guidance. Any Strategy and Policy shall be reviewed by the council at least annually.
8.3 All investments of money under the control of the council shall be in the name of the council.
8.4 All investment certificates and other documents relating thereto shall be retained in the custody of the Clerk.
9.1 The collection of all sums due to the council shall be the responsibility of and under the supervision of the Clerk.
9.2 Particulars of all charges to be made for work done, services rendered or goods shall be agreed annually by the council.
9.3 The Clerk shall complete a VAT Return online (known as a VAT 126 claim). Claims can be made every three months as required and the periods must not overlap.
10 ORDERS FOR WORK, GOODS AND SERVICES
10.1 An official order or letter shall be issued for all work, goods and services unless a formal contract is to be prepared or an official order would be inappropriate. Copies of orders shall be retained.
10.2 All members and Officers are responsible for obtaining value for money at all times. An officer issuing an official order is to ensure as far as reasonable and practicable that the best available terms are obtained in respect of each transaction, usually by obtaining three or more quotations or estimates from appropriate suppliers
11.1 Procedures as to contracts are laid down as follows:
a Every contract shall comply with these financial regulations, and no exceptions shall be made otherwise than in an emergency provided that these regulations shall not apply to contracts which relate to items (i) to (vi) below:
(i) for the supply of gas, electricity, water, sewerage and telephone services;
(ii) for specialist services such as are provided by solicitors, accountants, surveyors and planning consultants;
(iii) for work to be executed or goods or materials to be supplied which consist of repairs to or parts for existing machinery or equipment or plant;
(iv) for work to be executed or goods or materials to be supplied which constitute an extension of an existing contract by the Council;
(v) for additional audit work of the external Auditor up to an estimated value of £250 (in excess of this sum the Clerk shall act after consultation with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Council;
(vi) for goods or materials proposed to be purchased which are proprietary articles and/or are only sold for a fixed price.
b Where it is intended to enter into a contract exceeding £5000 in value for the supply of goods or materials or for the execution of works or specialist services other than such goods, materials, works or specialist services as are excepted as set out in paragraph (a) the Clerk shall invite tenders from at least three firms to be taken from the appropriate approved list.
c When applications are made to waive financial regulations relating to contracts to enable a price to be negotiated without completion the reason shall be embodied in a recommendation to the Council.
d Such invitation to tender shall state the general nature of the intended contract and the Clerk shall obtain the necessary technical assistance to prepare a specification in appropriate cases. The invitation shall in addition state that tenders must be addressed to the Clerk in the ordinary course of post. Each tendering firm shall be supplied with a specifically marked envelope in which the tender is to be sealed and remain sealed until the prescribed date for opening tenders for that contract.
e All sealed tenders shall be opened at the same time on the prescribed date by the Clerk in the presence of at least one member of Council.
f If less than three tenders are received for contracts above £5000 or if all the tenders are identical the Council may make such arrangements as it thinks fit for procuring the goods or materials or executing the works.
g Any invitation to tender issued under this regulation shall be subject to Standing Orders.
h When it is to enter into a contract less than £5000 in value for the supply of goods or materials or for the execution of works or specialist services other than such goods, materials, works or specialist services as are excepted as set out in paragraph (a) the Clerk shall obtain 3 quotations (priced descriptions of the proposed supply); where the value is below £2000 and above £200 the Clerk shall strive to obtain 3 estimates.
i The Council shall not be obliged to accept the lowest or any tender, quote or estimate.
12 ASSETS, PROPERTIES AND ESTATES
12.1 The Clerk shall make appropriate arrangements for the custody of all title deeds of properties owned by the Council. The Clerk shall ensure a record is maintained of all properties owned by the Council, recording the location, extent, plan, reference, purchase details, nature of the interest, tenancies granted, rents payable and purpose for which held in accordance with Accounts and Audit Regulations.
12.2 No property shall be sold, leased or otherwise disposed of without the authority of the Council, together with any other consents required by law, save where the estimated value of any one item of tangible movable property does not exceed £50.
12.3 The Clerk shall ensure that an appropriate and accurate Register of Assets and Investments is kept up to date and verified at least annually.
13.1 Following an annual risk assessment the Clerk shall effect all insurance’s and negotiate all claims on the Council’s insurers.
13.2 The Clerk shall give prompt notification to the Council of all new risks, properties or vehicles which require to be insured and of any alterations affecting existing insurances.
13.3 The Clerk shall keep a record of all insurances affected by the Council and the property and risks covered thereby and annually review it.
13.4 The Clerk shall be notified of any loss liability or damage or of any event likely to lead to a claim, and shall report these to Council at the next available meeting.
13.5 All appropriate employees of the Council shall be included in a suitable fidelity guarantee insurance which shall cover the maximum risk exposure as determined by the Council.
14 RISK MANAGEMENT
14.1 The council is responsible for putting in place arrangements for the management of risk. Risk policy statements and consequential risk management arrangements shall be reviewed by the council at least annually.
15 SUSPENSION AND REVISION OF FINANCIAL REGULATIONS
15.1 It shall be the duty of the council to review the Financial Regulations of the Council from time to time. The Clerk shall make arrangements to monitor changes in legislation or proper practices and shall advise the council of any requirement for a consequential amendment to these financial regulations.