The council must conduct the administration and management of its financial affairs and spend its money in accordance with its legal powers and legislation. The council is responsible for setting a budget and for regularly monitoring income and expenditure against the approved budget, which is done at least quarterly.
The Clerk is the appointed Responsible Spending Officer with responsibility for maintaining the accounts and providing advice and support to the Council, ensuring value for money and sound financial management.
At the end of each financial year (31 March) the Clerk must provide the End of Year Accounts and an Annual Governance Statement and Accounting Statements, both of which form part of the statutory Annual Return. The accounts and statements have to be approved by the council before 30 June.
The council’s end of year accounts are audited by a competent and independent Internal Auditor who must that the accounts have been developed in accordance with proper practice and comply with the procedures and controls expected to be in operation. Having audited the accounts and financial records, the Internal Auditor must complete and sign the Annual Internal Audit Report (also part of the Annual Return) indicating whether the control objectives have been achieved to an adequate standard.
Finally, the completed Annual Return is reviewed by an External Auditor, appointed by the National Association of Local council’s (NALC), who are required to ensure that the completed and signed Annual Return and supporting documents (set out below) are in accordance with guidance issued by the National Audit Office. When satisfied, the External Audit Certificate and Report (part 3 of the Annual Return) is completed and signed off by the External Auditor.
The council is subject to the requirements of the Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities which, along with the publication of the approved Annual Return, requires publication of supporting documents by 01 July at the latest. Documents for the year ended 31 March 2018 will be set out below:
- list of all items of expenditure above £100 (to be completed);
- a bank reconciliation for the relevant financial year and an explanation of any significant variances (e.g. more than 10%, > £100) between the relevant year and previous year;
- a statement of Assets held;
- an annual risk assessment of council operations