The Parish Council operates under financial controls. Some of these are set by legislation and some by the council’s own financial regulations. The clerk has responsibility for day to day financial management but the council as a body is overall responsible for financial efficacy.
Budget and Precept
The council is required to set a budget each autumn. Councillors discuss objectives of the council for the following financial year. These are translated into a draft budget in November each year. Once finalised the formal budget is agreed at a monthly council meeting. Budget setting includes agreeing the level of the precept for the following financial year. This is the sum the clerk applies for from the District authority (Stroud District Council) in January each year. The precept is paid in two separate instalments in the spring and autumn of each year.
Management and Audit
The clerk monitors expenditure and payments on a monthly basis and provides a summary report to each monthly council meeting. Procedures require an internal audit annually. The council appoints an internal auditor, or renews the current arrangement, in the autumn of each year. The internal auditor reviews financial management and ensures the council follows its own financial regulations and other agreed policies and procedures. Depending on the levels of income and expenditure each year, the government may require the council to undergo a formal external audit. This may not be necessary if the council’s annual turnover is less than a certain threshold set by the government.
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
Councils can benefit from a payment related to general community benefit from local planning developments. Hillesley and Tresham Parish Council has benefitted in the financial 2021-2022 year from such a payment. Such monies are initially collected and managed by Stroud District Council before being distributed to parish and town councils. Each local council is required to look after CIL monies separately from its main finances and to send an annual report on each year’s CIL spend to the District Council each November.
Once the internal auditor (and possibly the external auditor if appointed) have approved the annual accounts, the clerk for smaller councils is required to upload the Notice of Public Rights to the council website. This means members of the public can inspect the annual accounts on application to the clerk within the set period of time stated on the Notice of Public Rights.
Annual Audit Financial Year 2019-2020
The council had exempt status this year due to its turnover below a certain threshold to trigger a mandatory external audit. The council was still audited by an internal auditor as per each year. More documents to follow.