ACCOUNTS & AUDIT
The Annual Budget sets out the Council’s spending plans for the financial year and shows how these are to be funded including the contribution from council tax payers via the Council Precept.
Annual Accounts and Governance Statement
The Local and Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 set out a number of important statutory provisions regarding the financial management of local authorities including the specific requirements for the production, approval, audit and publication of annual accounts and governance statements. It is a statutory requirement in the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 for all local authorities to prepare a statement of accounts and annual governance statement every year, in accordance with proper practices.
With effect from the 2016/17 financial year, the Council has been identified within the regulations as a “smaller relevant body”.
Status as a smaller relevant body means that the Council, along with all other town and parish councils, is subject to different accounting and audit requirements to larger bodies such as principal councils.
Smaller bodies are required to prepare and publish their annual accounts and governance statements via an Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR), and are subject to the limited assurance audit regime.
Proper practices in relation to the accounts and annual governance statements of smaller authorities are set out in ‘Governance and Accountability for Smaller Authorities in England – A Practitioners Guide to Proper Practices to be applied in the preparation of statutory annual accounts and governance statements’.
The accounts and annual governance statement must be prepared, certified by the Council’s Town Clerk and approved by the Council normally by 30th June each year. Due to Covid-19 this is extended to 31st August 2020. The unaudited accounts must then be made available for public inspection.
The accounts and annual governance statement are then checked independently by an external auditor who must issue an opinion that the accounts and governance statement have been prepared in accordance with the relevant statutory requirements and that they present a ‘true and fair view’ of the Council’s finances and governance arrangements. The Council’s external auditor is currently Mazars LLP.
The audited accounts and governance statement must be published by no later than the 30th September each year. Due to Covid-19 this is extended to 30th November 2020.
Annual Governance and Accountability Return
The Annual Governance and Accountability Return of the Council includes the following documents:
- Annual Governance Statement which sets out a number of statements or assertions in relation to good governance, financial management and internal control. The Council is required to provide a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to each assertion and is expected to have relevant evidence in place to support each ‘yes’ answer. It would also need to provide an explanation to the external auditor if it is not able to provide a ‘yes’ answer, including details of how the Council will address any identified weaknesses in its governance arrangements.
- Accounting Statement which present, in accordance with proper accounting practices and in the format required by the Annual Return, the financial position of the Council for the financial year, including details of income, expenditure, opening and closing balances, fixed assets values, outstanding borrowing and cash and bank balances.
- Internal Auditor’s Report which provides a summary of the work undertaken and assurances provided by the Council’s Internal Auditor during the year in relation to their review of the Council’s internal control arrangements, providing an opinion as to whether the Council has in place an effective system of internal control.
2019/20 Annual Governance and Accountability Return
The 2019/20 Annual Governance and Accountability Return of the Council was approved at a Council Meeting on 25th August 2020. It was submitted to the Council’s external auditors along with various supporting records and information.
The audit is now complete and the Council is pleased to report that the auditors have signed off the 2019/20 Annual Governance and Accountability Return and issued their External Auditor Report and Certificate with no issues of concern identified.
A copy of the audited 2019/20 Annual Governance and Accountability Return of the Council can be viewed via the link below:
The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 confer a number of statutory rights for local electors in relation to the inspection of the Council’s annual accounting statements within the Annual Governance and Accountability Return.
A copy of the statutory notice of public rights in relation to the inspection of the 2019/20 Annual Governance and Accountability Return can be viewed via the link below:
Previous Years’ Annual Returns
Copies of the audited Annual Governance and Accountability Returns for previous years can be navigated to and viewed within the relevant year below.
Note: Scanned PDF documents do not comply with the Accessibility Regulations but that these documents can be provided in an alternative format or an alternative media on request.
This year the Council has had to consider its budget not only in the light of ongoing econonic difficulties, but also the introduction by the Government of a new Local Council Tax Benefit scheme which has resulted in a significant loss of income from Council Tax.
Nevertheless, a budget has been set which requires no increase in Council Tax, resulting in the same charges being in place for the fourth year in a row. In addition, no increase in fees and charges has been implemented, with the exception of Burials fees.
Once again the Council has had to consider its budget in an ongoing difficult economic climate. In the circumstances the Council has again agreed to impose no increase in Council Tax levels this year, resulting in the same charges being in place for the third year in a row.
Although fees and charges have been revised, the increases imposed in some areas are considered reasonable.
The Council set the budget for the year 2011/2012 in an economic climate which continues to be difficult. In the circumstances the Council agreed a budget which resulted in no increase in Council tax for the year.
In addition, fees and charges have been frozen, and the increase in VAT from 17.5% to 20% has been absorbed by the Council. Details of the full budget can be found on the link below.