27 January 2017
Latest January 2017 Bugle now available
21st June 2016
See information about Operation Aardwolf on the Village News page
2016/17 Parish Council Accounts to 24th December 2017 are here
2015/16 Parish Council Accounts to year end March 31st are here
Parish Council Finance
Beckingham Parish Council ('the Council') obtains its required funds via a precept upon the billing authority i.e NKDC. The precept is an order on the billing authority to pay to the Council a certain sum which is required to carry out its functions and services for the year Before setting its precept, the Council is expected to consider its spending plans for the year and to take into account any income from other sources so that only the net total of revenue expenditure is approved as its precept. This procedure will normally take place between November and January for the precept for the ensuing financial year.
The Council is empowered to incur expenditure on anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the exercise of its statutory powers. It cannot incur expenditure on anything that is not authorised in statute (but see Section 137 & "well-being" expenditure below).
Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972, allows expenditure up to a certain annual limit, on anything which, in the opinion of the Council, is in the interests of the Parish, or part of it, or is in the interests of all or some of its inhabitants as long as the amount awarded is commensurate with the benefit received. (Good examples here are Armistice day wreaths ). The annual limit for Section 137 expenditure is set at a rate per elector. The current rate applicable per elector for the financial year commencing 1st April 2015 is £7.36.
Some councils have an extended power of Well-Being. Beckingham Parish Council does not at the moment have extended powers.
If the Council wishes to incur expenditure on capital items (items not considered to be normal day-to-day revenues expenses), for example purchase of land or building or refurbishing a village hall, it will have to choose between several ways of financing the expenditure - sale of an asset (e.g. land), payment by instalments, saving the funds in advance, borrowing, grant or a combination of these.
Borrowing - the Council may not borrow money (except as an overdraft on its bank account to cover for the short-term problems encountered between paying for day-to-day expenditure and receipt of income or precept), unless permission is given by the Department For Communities and Local Government. This is termed as "Loan Sanction". Loan sanction is not the granting of a loan - it is merely permission to borrow. Once loan sanction is given, the Council is free to negotiate a loan from whichever source can give the best terms. In reality, most local councils will apply to the Public Works Loan Board for the loan. Once granted, a loan will obviously have to be serviced i.e. arrangements will have to be made for the repayments, including interest, to be paid and these must be included in the budget process and precept setting for future years.
The Council must prepare a set of Accounts to show its transactions for the year. This set of Accounts must be prepared in accordance with legislation at the time. For a council like Beckingham with income or expenditure up to £200,000 this is a Receipts and Payments Account showing the actual total receipts and payments for the year. These Statutory Accounts must be prepared and approved by the Full Council before 30th June in any year and an Annual Return completed for audit purposes
The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2011 requires that each local authority "must undertake an adequate and effective internal audit of its accounting records and of its systems of internal control". The same Regulations require a local authority to review the effectiveness of internal audit on an annual basis. Beckingham Parish Council must appoint an internal auditor who is independent of the day to day transactions of the council and its members. The auditor should not be a member of the council. The auditor may be anyone who, in the opinion of the Council, is competent to carry out the work and does not have to be a qualified person.
The Council must approve all items of expenditure for payment. It is usual practice for a list of payments to be presented at the Council meeting for approval and the cheques signed at that meeting. All cheques or orders for payment against the Council's bank account must be signed by at least two Members who are also authorised signatories. Clerks or other employees should not sign cheques.