Furneux Pelham Parish Council

Parish Clerk: Fiona Forth
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Finance and governance

Finance Governance

The financial year for the Parish Council runs from 1 April to 31 March.

The Parish Council derives most of its income from the precept, which is an annual charge on local taxpayers. It is collected on the Parish Council's behalf by East Herts Council as part of the council tax bill. In addition to the precept, the Parish Council also receives income from the allotments, car park permits and the new homes bonus.

Expenditure relates to running the Parish Council, (the Clerk, insurance, subscriptions), delivering services (allotments), maintaining assets (car park and grounds maintenance) and supporting organisations through donations (e.g. Parochial Parish Church graveyard).

In January each year, the Parish Council sets a budget and determines the level of precept for the forthcoming year. The precept was increased to £4,000 for 2019/20. The budget for 2019/20 was approved on the 10th January 2019, together with a forward financial plan that covers the period 2019/20 to 2023/24.

During the year, at each Parish Council meeting, a comparison of the actual income and expenditure to the budget is presented and discussed.

The Parish Council's financial management arrangements are underpinned by its financial regulations with the key elements being:

  • banking income in the Parish Councils' name in a timely manner;
  • obtaining Parish Council approval for all expenditure items prior to the payment being made;
  • making payments by cheque which require signatures from 2 Parish Councillors, on the cheque and supporting documentation;
  • recording all financial transactions in a cashbook - which is used for reporting the actual to budget comparison referred to above;
  • reconciling the cashbook to bank statements as and when these are received, and the annual bank reconciliation is available as part of the accounts information.

In May each year, the Parish Council approves the accounts for the preceding financial year. The approved and audited accounts are available for 2018/19 and earlier years.

The Parish Council is a corporate body and it can only do that which it is authorised to do by statute. The most important piece of legislation for parish council law and procedure is the Local Government Act 1972.

The Parish Council is required to conduct its business in an open and transparent way, and must comply with statutory requirements which include:

  • public and advance notice of meetings;
  • meetings being open to the public;
  • meetings being regulated by appropriate standing orders;
  • access to minutes of meetings and accounts;
  • strict control and regulation of financial affairs;
  • regulation of the conduct of parish councillors; and
  • regulation of the conduct of staff.

A full listing of the Parish Council's governance documentation is available. The key documents that link to statutory requirements are standing orders, financial regulations and the code of conduct. Everyone is welcome to attend the bi-monthly meetings and can access agendas and minutes on this website.