2. Accounting and Audit (Internal and External)
3. Budget Setting and Forward Planning
4. Budgetary Control and Approval to Spend
5. Banking Arrangements and Authorisation of Payments
6. Instructions for Making Payments
7. Payment of Salaries
8. Loans and Investments
10. Orders for Work, Goods and Services
11. Contracts for Services
12. Payments under contracts for Building or other Construction Works
13. Stores and Equipment
14. Assets, Properties and Estates
16. Risk Management
17. Suspension and Revision of Financial Regulations
1.1. These financial regulations govern the conduct of financial management by Stocksfield Parish Council (hereafter referred to as the Council). Financial Regulations are one of the Council’s two governing policy documents providing procedural guidance for members and officers. Financial regulations must be observed in conjunction with the Council’s Standing Orders.
1.2. The Council is responsible in law for ensuring that its financial management is adequate and effective and that the Council has a sound system of internal control which facilitates the effective exercise of its functions, including arrangements for the management of risk.
1.3. The Council’s accounting control systems must include measures:
• for the timely production of accounts;
• that provide for the safe and efficient safeguarding of public money;
• to prevent and detect inaccuracy and fraud; and
• that identify the duties of officers.
These financial regulations demonstrate how the council meets these responsibilities and requirements.
1.4. At least once a year, prior to approving the Annual Governance Statement, the council must review the effectiveness of its system of internal control which shall be in accordance with proper practices.
1.5. A breach of these regulations by an employee is gross misconduct.
1.6. The Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) holds a statutory office to be appointed by the Council. The Clerk has been appointed as RFO for this Council and these regulations will apply accordingly.
1.7. The RFO;
• acts under the policy direction of the Council;
• administers the Council's financial affairs in accordance with all Acts, Regulations and proper practices;
• determines on behalf of the Council its accounting records and accounting control systems;
• ensures the accounting control systems are observed;
• maintains the accounting records of the Council up to date in accordance with proper practices;
• assists the Council to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of its resources; and
• produces financial management information as required by the Council.
1.8. The accounting records determined by the RFO shall be sufficient to show and explain the Council’s transactions and to enable the RFO to ensure that any income and expenditure account and statement of balances, or record of receipts and payments and additional information, as the case may be, or management information prepared for the Council from time to time comply with the Accounts and Audit Regulations.
1.9. The accounting records determined by the RFO shall in particular contain:
• entries from day to day of all sums of money received and expended by the Council and the matters to which the income and expenditure or receipts and payments account relate;
• a record of the assets and liabilities of the Council; and
• wherever relevant, a record of the Council’s income and expenditure in relation to claims made, or to be made, for any contribution, grant or subsidy.
1.10. The accounting control systems determined by the RFO shall include:
• procedures to ensure that the financial transactions of the Council are recorded as soon as reasonably practicable and as accurately and reasonably as possible;
• procedures to enable the prevention and detection of inaccuracies and fraud and the ability to reconstruct any lost records;
• identification of the duties of officers dealing with financial transactions and division of responsibilities of those officers in relation to significant transactions;
• procedures to ensure that uncollectable amounts, including any bad debts, are not submitted to the Council for approval to be written off except with the approval of the RFO and that the approvals are shown in the accounting records; and
• measures to ensure that risk is properly managed.
1.11. The Council recognises four stages in the financial process:
• Budget setting – where the Council agrees the individual sums allocated under specific budget headings.
• Approval to spend – or approval to incur costs
• Authority to pay – an authority to instruct payment.
• Instruction to pay – the physical act of payment.
1.12. In these financial regulations,
• references to the Accounts and Audit Regulations or ‘the regulations’ shall mean the regulations issued under the provisions of Section 27 of the Audit Commission Act 1998, or any superseding legislation, and then in force unless otherwise specified
• the term ‘proper practice’ or ‘proper practices’ shall refer to guidance issued in Governance and Accountability for Local Councils – a Practitioners’ Guide (England) issued by the Joint Practitioners Advisory Group (JPAG).
2. ACCOUNTING AND AUDIT (INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL)
2.1. On a regular basis, at least once in each quarter, and at each financial year end, a member other than the Chairman shall be appointed to verify bank reconciliations for all accounts produced by the RFO. The member shall sign the reconciliations and the original bank statements as evidence of verification. This activity shall on conclusion be reported, including any exceptions, at a Council meeting and minuted.
2.2. The RFO shall complete the annual statement of accounts, annual report, and any related documents of the Council contained in the Annual Return (as specified in proper practices) as soon as practicable after the end of the financial year, and, having certified the accounts, shall submit them and report thereon to the Council within the timescales set by the Accounts and Audit Regulations.
2.3. The Council shall ensure that there is an adequate and effective system of internal audit of its accounting records and of its system of internal control in accordance with proper practices. Any officer or member of the Council shall make available such documents and records as appear to the Council to be necessary for the purpose of the audit and shall, as directed by the Council, supply the RFO, Internal Auditor, or External Auditor with such information and explanation as the Council considers necessary for that purpose.
2.4. The Internal Auditor shall be appointed by and shall carry out the work in relation to internal controls required by the Council in accordance with proper practices.
2.5. The Internal Auditor shall:
• be competent and independent of the financial operations of the Council;
• report to the Council in writing, or in person, on a regular basis with a minimum of one annual written report during each financial year;
• to demonstrate competence, objectivity and independence, be free from any actual or perceived conflicts of interest, including those arising from family relationships; and
• have no involvement in the financial decision making, management or control of the Council.
2.6. Internal or External Auditors may not under any circumstances:
• perform any operational duties for the Council;
• initiate or approve accounting transactions; or
• direct the activities of any Council employee, except to the extent that such employees have been appropriately assigned to assist the Internal Auditor.
2.7. The RFO shall make arrangements for the exercise of electors’ rights in relation to the accounts, including the opportunity to inspect the accounts, books, and vouchers and display or publish any notices and statements of account required by Audit Commission Act 1998, or any superseding legislation, and the Accounts and Audit Regulations.
2.8. The RFO shall, without undue delay, bring to the attention of all Councillors any correspondence or report from internal or external auditors.
3. BUDGET SETTING AND FORWARD PLANNING
3.1. The RFO must each year, by no later than November, prepare detailed estimates of all income and expenditure, including the use of reserves and all sources of funding, for the following financial year in the form of a budget to be considered by the Council.
3.2. The Council shall fix the precept (Council Tax requirement), and relevant basic amount of Council Tax to be levied for the ensuing financial year not later than by the end of January each year. The RFO shall issue the precept to the billing authority and shall supply each member with a copy of the approved annual budget.
3.3. The approved annual budget shall form the basis of financial control for the ensuing year.
4. BUDGETARY CONTROL AND APPROVAL TO SPEND
4.1. Expenditure on revenue items up to and including £500 may be approved, up to the amounts included for that class of expenditure in the approved budget, by the Clerk in conjunction with the Chair. This only applies to the Council’s most recent ‘approved annual budget’ within the budget classifications of Administration, Environment, Communications, Sports Facilities and Play Facilities. The approval of the Clerk and Chair is to be evidenced by an appropriately authorised invoice or other form duly signed by the Clerk and the Chair.
4.2. The Clerk may approve individual items of expenditure up to £500 where budgetary provision exists within the ‘Environment’, ‘Sports Facilities’ or ‘Play Facilities’ budget classifications to maintain the general appearance of the Parish. In all cases the expenditure will be subsequently approved and authorised by the Chair and the Clerk as if approved in accordance with paragraph 4.1. The expenditure will then form part of the monthly schedule of payments presented to the full Parish Council meeting.
4.3. The Council must, subject to paragraph 4.6, approve expenditure for all items over £500 and may approve expenditure whether or not it exceeds the amount included for that class of expenditure in the approved budget. The approval of the Council is to be evidenced by a Minute. Contracts may not be disaggregated to avoid controls imposed by these regulations.
4.4. During the budget year and with the approval of the Council, having considered fully the implications for public services, unspent and available amounts may be moved to other budget headings or to an earmarked reserve as appropriate (‘virement’).
4.5. In cases of extreme risk to the delivery of Council services, the Clerk may approve revenue expenditure on behalf of the Council which in the Clerk’s judgement it is necessary to carry out. Such expenditure includes repair, replacement or other work, whether or not there is any budgetary provision for the expenditure, subject to a limit of £500. The Clerk shall report such action to the Chairman as soon as possible and to the Council as soon as practicable thereafter.
4.6. In cases of extreme risk to the delivery of Council Services, the Clerk may approve expenditure over £500 only with the prior authority of the Chair.
4.7. In the event that the Council does not meet at a normal monthly meeting as a consequence of an event outside of the control of the Council and there is no realistic prospect of a meeting being held in the subsequent month, the Clerk will have delegated authority to approve expenditure within any budget head except Community Support and Contingency. Authority under this paragraph is conditional upon consultation with the Chair or the Vice Chair. Such delegated authority will continue until the next meeting of the Council is held. In all cases a record of the consultation and delegated authorities used must be made and reported to the next meeting of the Council.
4.8. Where conditions relating to the use of delegated authority outlined within paragraph 4.7 are met and there is a potential need to provide funding from the Community Support or Contingency budget, whether identified by an external source or from within the Council, relating to an urgent community need or emergency, the Clerk has delegated authority to approve such expenditure. The delegated authority provided under this paragraph can be used only when the additional conditions outlined in paragraph 4.9 are satisfied. The requirements referred to in paragraph 4.7 relating to the length of delegated authority, record keeping and reporting to the next meeting of the Council also apply to decisions made under this paragraph.
4.9. The conditions required in order to use the delegated authority outlined in paragraph 4.8 are:
a) The Clerk has communicated the proposal, including its rationale and any financial implications, to councillors by email.
b) At least four councillors have responded within any time period that has been agreed separately with the Chair to indicate whether individual councillors approve, object or abstain from a view regarding the proposal. Failure to reply within the timescales will be regarded as abstaining.
c) There is a clear majority of those who have responded who express approval of the proposal.
d) The Clerk has attempted to contact all councillors by telephone to inform them personally of the requirement to reply to the email. Suitable notification to councillors includes leaving a telephone message on an answer machine and the delegated authority may be used notwithstanding all councillors may not have been contacted personally.
4.10. No expenditure shall be approved in relation to any capital project and no contract entered into or tender accepted involving capital expenditure unless the Council is satisfied that the necessary funds are available and the requisite borrowing approval has been obtained.
4.11. The RFO shall provide the Council with a statement of receipts and payments to date under each head of the budgets, comparing actual expenditure to the appropriate date against that planned as shown in the budget. These statements are to be prepared quarterly and shall show explanations of material variances.
4.12. The Council holds funds in a ‘General Fund’ to facilitate authorised expenditure within the approved budget. Other funds are considered ‘Reserve Funds’ and are held in separate accounts. Reserve Funds can be set aside for specific purposes and are known as ‘Allocated Reserves’. Reserve Funds which are not allocated to a specific purpose are known as ‘General Reserves’. Changes in Allocated Reserves shall be approved by the Council as part of the budgetary control process. The Council must review the Reserve Funds annually.
4.13. All payments from the Council’s funds will be made from the General Fund. Unless there are exceptional circumstances such that complying with this requirement causes a significant delay to a Council project, authorised payments will not be made from Reserve Funds, instead they will be transferred to the General Fund.
5. BANKING ARRANGEMENTS AND AUTHORISATION OF PAYMENTS
5.1. The Council's banking arrangements, including the bank mandate, shall be made by the RFO and approved by the Council. They shall be regularly reviewed for safety and efficiency.
5.2. The Council has adopted internet banking as its preferred means of payment and receipt of funds.
5.3. The RFO shall prepare a schedule of payments requiring authorisation, forming part of the Agenda for each Meeting and, together with the relevant invoices, present the schedule to the Council. The schedule will identify those payments which require retrospective authority. The Council shall review the schedule for compliance and, having satisfied itself, shall authorise payment or grant retrospective authority as the case may be, by a resolution of the Council. The approved schedule shall be ruled off and initialled by the Chairman of the Meeting. A detailed list of all payments shall be disclosed within or as an attachment to the minutes of the meeting at which payment was authorised. Personal payments (including salaries, wages, expenses and any payment made in relation to the termination of a contract of employment) may be summarised to remove public access to any personal information.
5.4. All invoices for payment shall be examined, verified and certified by the RFO to confirm that the work, goods or services to which each invoice relates has been received, carried out, examined and represents expenditure previously approved by the Council, as described within these Regulations.
5.5. The RFO shall examine invoices for arithmetical accuracy and analyse them to the appropriate expenditure heading. The RFO shall take all steps to pay all invoices submitted, and which are in order, before or at the next available Council meeting, in accordance with the provisions of the Regulations.
5.6. The RFO shall have delegated authority to authorise the payment of items only in the following circumstances:
a) If a payment is necessary to avoid a charge to interest under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998, and the due date for payment is before the next scheduled meeting of the Council, where the Clerk/RFO certifies that there is no dispute or other reason to delay payment; or
b) An expenditure item authorised under 5.7 below (continuing contracts and obligations); or
c) An item of expenditure approved under 4.1, 4.2, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7 or 4.8; or
d) Fund transfers within the Council’s banking arrangements up to the sum of £10,000;
and in respect of (a) to (c), only with the additional authorisation of a second ‘signatory’ and in all cases, provided that a list of such payments shall be submitted to the next appropriate meeting of the Council.
5.7. For each financial year, the Clerk/ RFO shall draw up a list of due payments which arise on a regular basis as the result of a continuing contract, statutory duty, or obligation (such as, but not exclusively, salaries, PAYE and NI, and regular maintenance contracts) for which the Council may authorise payment for the year, either monthly or quarterly as the case may be, provided that a list of such payments made shall be submitted to the next appropriate meeting of the Council.
5.8. In respect of grants, the Council shall approve expenditure in accordance with the Council’s policy for awarding grants.
5.9. Members are subject to the Code of Conduct that has been adopted by the Council, and shall comply with the Code and the Standing Orders when a decision to authorise or instruct payment is made in respect of a matter in which they have a disclosable pecuniary or other interest, unless a dispensation has been granted.
6. INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MAKING OF PAYMENTS
6.1. The Council will make safe and efficient arrangements for the making of its payments.
6.2. Following authorisation under Financial Regulation 5 above, the Council, or, if so delegated, the Clerk/RFO shall give instruction that a payment shall be made.
6.3. All payments shall be effected by electronic transfer or cheque or other instructions to the Council’s bankers, or otherwise, in accordance with a resolution of Council.
6.4. Cheques or orders for payment drawn on the bank account in accordance with the schedule as presented to the Council shall be signed by at least one member of the Council in accordance with a resolution instructing that payment. The Council requires a second signatory for each cheque which may include the RFO. If a member who is also a bank signatory has declared a disclosable pecuniary interest, or has any other interest, in the matter in respect of which the payment is being made, that Councillor shall be required to consider Standing Orders, and thereby determine whether it is appropriate and/or permissible to be a signatory to the transaction in question.
6.5. Payment for utility supplies (energy, telephone and water), recurring administrative costs (photocopier) and any National Non-Domestic Rates may be made by variable Direct Debit, provided that the instructions are signed by two members and any payments are reported to the Council as made. The approval of the use of a variable Direct Debit shall be renewed by resolution of the Council at least every two years.
6.6. Payment for certain items (principally Salaries) may be made by Banker’s Standing Order provided that the instructions are signed, or otherwise evidenced by two members, are retained and any payments are reported to council as made. The approval of the use of a Banker’s Standing Order shall be renewed by resolution of the council at least every two years.
6.7. Payment for certain items may be made by BACS or CHAPS methods, provided that the instructions for each payment are signed, or otherwise evidenced, by two authorised bank signatories, are retained, and any payments are reported to the Council as made. The approval of the use of BACS or CHAPS shall be renewed by resolution of the Council at least every two years.
6.8. Payment for items may be made by internet banking transfer provided evidence is retained showing which member(s)/officer(s) approved the payment.
6.9. Where a computer requires use of a personal identification number (PIN) or other password(s), for access to the Council’s records on that computer, a note shall be made of the PIN and passwords and shall be handed to and retained by the Chairman of the Council in a sealed dated envelope. This envelope may not be opened other than in the presence of two other Councillors. After the envelope has been opened, in any circumstances, the PIN and/or passwords shall be changed as soon as practicable. The fact that the sealed envelope has been opened, in whatever circumstances, shall be reported to all members immediately and formally at the next available meeting of the Council. This will not be required for a member’s personal computer used only for remote authorisation of bank payments.
6.10. No employee or Councillor shall disclose any PIN or password, relevant to the working of the Council or its bank accounts, to any person not authorised in writing by the Council.
6.11. Regular back-up copies of the records on any computer shall be made and shall be stored securely away from the computer in question, and preferably off-site.
6.12. The Council, and any members using computers for the Council’s financial business, shall ensure that anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software with automatic updates, together with a high level of security, is used.
6.13. Where internet banking arrangements are made with any bank, the RFO shall be appointed as the Service Administrator. The Bank Mandate approved by the Council shall identify a number of Councillors and the RFO who will be authorised to approve transactions on those accounts. The bank mandate will state clearly the amounts of payments that can be instructed by the use of the Service Administrator alone, or by the Service Administrator with a stated number of approvals.
6.14. Access to any internet banking accounts will be directly to the access page (which may be saved under “favourites”), and not through a search engine or e-mail link. Remembered or saved passwords facilities must not be used on any computer used for Council banking work. Breach of this regulation will be treated as a very serious matter.
6.15. Changes to account details for suppliers, which are used for internet banking, may only be changed on hard copy notification by the supplier or by email with corroborating evidence (eg telephone call from a known person).
6.16. Any Debit Card issued for use will be specifically restricted to the Clerk and will also be restricted to a single transaction maximum value of £500, unless authorised by the Council in writing before any order is placed.
6.17. Any corporate credit card or trade card account opened by the Council will be specifically restricted to use by the Clerk, and shall be subject to automatic payment in full at each month-end.
6.18. The Clerk may use their personal credit card only with the prior approval of the Chair and shall be reimbursed in accordance with this section.
6.19. The RFO may provide petty cash for the purpose of defraying operational and other expenses. Vouchers for payments made shall be forwarded to the RFO with a claim for reimbursement. Vouchers for payments made from petty cash shall be kept to substantiate the payment. Income received must not be paid into the petty cash float but must be separately banked, as provided elsewhere in these regulations. Payments to maintain the petty cash float shall be shown separately on the schedule of payments presented to the Council under 5.3 above.
7. PAYMENT OF SALARIES
7.1. As an employer, the Council shall make arrangements to meet fully the statutory requirements placed on all employers by PAYE and National Insurance legislation. The payment of all salaries shall be made in accordance with payroll records and the rules of PAYE and National Insurance currently operating, and salary rates shall be as agreed by the Council.
7.2. Payment of salaries and payment of deductions from salary such as may be required to be made for tax, national insurance and pension contributions, or similar statutory or discretionary deductions, must be made in accordance with the payroll records and on the appropriate dates stipulated in employment contracts, provided that each payment is reported to the next available Council meeting, as set out in these regulations above.
7.3. No changes shall be made to any employee’s pay, emoluments, or terms and conditions of employment without the prior consent of the Council.
7.4. Each and every payment to employees of net salary and to the appropriate creditor of the statutory and discretionary deductions shall be recorded in a separate confidential record (confidential cash book). This confidential record is not open to inspection or review (under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or otherwise) other than:
a) by any Councillor who can demonstrate a need to know;
b) by the Internal Auditor;
c) by the External Auditor; or
d) by any person authorised under the Audit Commission Act 1998 or any superseding legislation.
7.5. The total of such payments in each calendar month shall be reported with all other payments as made as may be required under these financial regulations, to ensure that only payments due for the period have actually been paid.
7.6. Any termination payments shall be supported by a clear business case and reported to the Council. Termination payments shall only be authorised by the Council.
7.7. Before employing interim staff, the Council must consider a full business case.
8. LOANS AND INVESTMENTS
8.1. All borrowings shall be effected in the name of the Council, after obtaining any necessary borrowing approval. Any application for borrowing approval shall be approved by the Council as to terms and purpose. The application for borrowing approval, and subsequent arrangements for the loan, shall only be approved by the full Council.
8.2. Any financial arrangement which does not require formal borrowing approval from the Secretary of State (such as hire purchase or leasing of tangible assets) shall be subject to approval by the full Council. In each case a report in writing shall be provided to the Council in respect of value for money for the proposed transaction.
8.3. The Council will arrange with the Council’s banks and investment providers for the sending of a copy of each statement of account to the Chairman of the Council at the same time as one is issued to the Clerk/RFO.
8.4. All loans and investments shall be negotiated in the name of the Council and shall be for a set period in accordance with Council policy.
8.5. The Council shall consider the need for an investment strategy and policy which, if drawn up, shall be in accordance with relevant regulations, proper practices and guidance. Any Strategy and Policy shall be reviewed by the Council at least annually.
8.6. All investments of money under the control of the Council shall be in the name of the Council.
8.7. All investment certificates and other documents relating thereto shall be retained in the custody of the RFO.
8.8. Payments in respect of short term or long term investments, including transfers between bank accounts held in the same bank, or branch, shall be made in accordance with regulation 5 (Authorisation of payments) and regulation 6 (Instructions for payments).
9.1. The collection of all sums due to the Council shall be the responsibility of the RFO.
9.2. Particulars of all charges to be made for work done, services rendered or goods supplied shall be agreed annually by the Council, and the RFO shall be responsible for the collection of all accounts due to the Council.
9.3. The Council will review all fees and charges at least annually, following a report of the Clerk/RFO.
9.4. Any sums found to be irrecoverable, and any bad debts, shall be reported to the Council and shall be written off in the year.
9.5. All sums received on behalf of the Council shall be banked intact as directed by the RFO. In all cases, all receipts shall be deposited with the Council’s bankers with such frequency as the RFO considers necessary.
9.6. The origin of each receipt shall be entered on the paying-in slip.
9.7. Personal cheques shall not be cashed out of money held on behalf of the Council.
9.8. The RFO shall promptly complete any VAT Return that is required. Any repayment claim due in accordance with VAT Act 1994 section 33 shall be made at least annually.
9.9. Where any significant sums of cash are regularly received by the Council, the RFO shall take such steps as are agreed by the Council to ensure that more than one person is present when the cash is counted in the first instance, that there is a reconciliation to some form of control such as ticket issues, and that appropriate care is taken in the security and safety of individuals banking such cash.
9.10. Any income arising which is the property of a charitable trust shall be paid into a charitable bank account. Instructions for the payment of funds due from the charitable trust to the Council (to meet expenditure already incurred by the authority) will be given by the Managing Trustees of the charity, meeting separately from any Council meeting (see also regulation 16 below).
10. ORDERS FOR WORK, GOODS AND SERVICES
10.1. An official order, email or letter shall be issued for all work, goods and services unless a formal contract for services is to be prepared or an official order would be inappropriate. Copies of orders shall be retained. Order books shall be controlled by the RFO.
10.2. All members and officers are responsible for obtaining value for money at all times. An officer issuing an official order shall ensure as far as reasonable and practicable that the best available terms are obtained in respect of each transaction. Where such an order is reasonably believed to exceed £500, the RFO shall endeavour to secure three quotes.
10.3. A member may not issue an official order or make any contract on behalf of the Council.
10.4. The RFO shall verify the lawful nature of any proposed purchase before the issue of any order, and, in the case of new or infrequent purchases or payments, the RFO shall ensure that the statutory authority shall be reported to the meeting at which the order is approved so that the Minutes can record the power being used.
11. CONTRACTS FOR SERVICES
11.1. A Contract For Services is a formal specification drawn up by the Council that describes the detail of a proposed contract in respect of the supply of goods, materials or services. Every such contract shall comply with these financial regulations, and no exceptions shall be made otherwise than in an emergency, provided that this regulation need not apply to contracts which relate to items (i) to (vi) below:
(i) the supply of gas, electricity, water, sewerage and telephone services;
(ii) specialist services such as are provided by solicitors, accountants, surveyors and planning consultants;
(iii) work to be executed or goods or materials to be supplied which consist of repairs to or parts for existing machinery or equipment or plant;
(iv) work to be executed or goods or materials to be supplied which constitute an extension of an existing contract by the Council;
(v) additional audit work of the External Auditor up to an estimated value of £500 (in excess of this sum the Clerk/RFO shall act after consultation with the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Council); and
(vi) goods or materials proposed to be purchased which are proprietary articles and/or are only sold at a fixed price.
11.2 Where it is intended to enter into such a contract that is reasonably believed will exceed £5,000 in value for the supply of goods or materials or for the execution of works or specialist services other than such goods, materials, works or specialist services as are excepted as set out in 11.1, the Clerk shall invite tenders from at least three firms.
11.3 Such invitation to tender shall state the general nature of the intended contract and the Clerk shall obtain the necessary technical assistance to prepare a specification in appropriate cases. The invitation shall in addition state that tenders must be addressed to the Clerk in the ordinary course of post. Each tendering firm shall deliver the tender in a specifically marked envelope in which the tender is to be sealed and remain sealed until the prescribed date for opening tenders for that contract.
11.4 All sealed tenders shall be opened at the same time on the prescribed date by the Clerk in the presence of at least one member of the Council.
11.5 If less than three tenders are received for contracts above £5,000, or if all the tenders are identical, the Council may make such arrangements as it thinks fit for procuring the goods or materials or executing the works.
11.6 Any invitation to tender issued under this regulation shall be subject to Standing Order 18 and shall refer to the terms of the Bribery Act 2010.
11.7 When it is to enter into such a contract which is reasonably believed to be up to £5,000 in value for the supply of goods or materials or for the execution of works or specialist services other than such goods, materials, works or specialist services as are excepted as set out in 11.1, the Clerk/RFO shall endeavour to obtain three quotations (priced descriptions of the proposed supply as opposed to the formal tender process outlined above).
11.8 The Council shall not be obliged to accept the lowest of any tender, quote or estimate.
11.9 When applications are made to waive financial regulations relating to contracts to enable a price to be negotiated without competition, the reason shall be embodied in a recommendation to the Council.
11.10 Should it occur that the Council does not accept any tender, quote or estimate, the work is not allocated and the Council requires further pricing, provided that the specification does not change, no person shall be permitted to submit a later tender, estimate or quote who was present when the original decision-making process was being undertaken.
11.11 The European Union Procurement Directive shall apply and the terms of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 and the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2006 including thresholds shall be followed.
12. PAYMENTS UNDER CONTRACTS FOR BUILDING OR OTHER CONSTRUCTION WORKS
12.1. Payments on account of the contract sum shall be made within the time specified in the contract by the RFO upon authorised certificates of the architect or other consultants engaged to supervise the contract (subject to any percentage withholding as may be agreed in the particular contract).
12.2. Where contracts provide for payment by instalments, the RFO shall maintain a record of all such payments. In any case where it is estimated that the total cost of work carried out under a contract, excluding agreed variations, will exceed the contract sum of 5% or more, a report shall be submitted to the Council.
12.3. Any variation to a contract or addition to or omission from a contract must be approved by the Council and the Clerk to the contractor in writing, the Council being informed where the final cost is likely to exceed the financial provision.
13. STORES AND EQUIPMENT
13.1. Delivery Notes shall be obtained in respect of all goods received into store or otherwise delivered and goods must be checked as to order and quality at the time delivery is made.
13.2. Stocks shall be kept at the minimum levels consistent with operational requirements.
13.3. The RFO shall be responsible for periodic checks of stocks and stores at least annually.
14. ASSETS, PROPERTIES AND ESTATES
14.1. The Clerk shall make appropriate arrangements for the custody of all title deeds and Land Registry Certificates of properties held by the Council. The RFO shall ensure a record is maintained of all properties held by the Council, recording the location, extent, plan, reference, purchase details, nature of the interest, tenancies granted, rents payable and purpose for which held in accordance with Accounts and Audit Regulations.
14.2. No tangible moveable property shall be purchased or otherwise acquired, sold, leased or otherwise disposed of, without the authority of the Council, together with any other consents required by law.
14.3. No real property (interests in land) shall be sold, leased or otherwise disposed of without the authority of the Council, together with any other consents required by law. In each case a report in writing shall be provided to the Council in respect of valuation and surveyed condition of the property (including matters such as planning permissions and covenants) together with a proper business case, including an adequate level of consultation with the electorate.
14.4. No real property (interests in land) shall be purchased or acquired without the authority of the full Council. In each case a report in writing shall be provided to the Council in respect of valuation and surveyed condition of the property (including matters such as planning permissions and covenants), together with a proper business case, including an adequate level of consultation with the electorate.
14.5. The RFO shall ensure that an appropriate and accurate Register of Assets and Investments is kept up to date. The continued existence of tangible assets shown in the Register shall be verified at least annually, possibly in conjunction with a health and safety inspection of assets.
15.1. Following the annual risk assessment (as per Financial Regulation 17), the RFO shall effect and keep a record of all insurances, the property and risks covered thereby and annually review it.
15.2. The RFO shall negotiate all claims on the Council’s insurers and shall be notified of any loss liability or damage or of any event likely to lead to a claim, reporting these to the Council at the next available meeting.
15.3. All appropriate members and employees of the Council shall be included in a suitable form of security or fidelity guarantee insurance which shall cover the maximum risk exposure as determined by the Council.
16. RISK MANAGEMENT
16.1. The Council is responsible for putting in place arrangements for the management of risk. The Clerk/RFO shall prepare, for approval by the Council, risk management policy statements in respect of all activities of the Council. Risk policy statements and consequential risk management arrangements shall be reviewed by the Council at least annually.
16.2. When considering any new activity, the Clerk/RFO shall prepare a draft risk assessment including risk management proposals for consideration and adoption by the Council.
17. SUSPENSION AND REVISION OF FINANCIAL REGULATIONS
17.1. It shall be the duty of the Council to review the financial regulations of the Council from time to time. The Clerk shall make arrangements to monitor changes in legislation or proper practices and shall advise the Council of any requirement for a consequential amendment to these financial regulations.
17.2. The Council may, by resolution of the Council duly notified prior to the relevant meeting of the Council, suspend any part of these financial regulations, provided that the reasons for the suspension are recorded and that an assessment of the risks arising has been drawn up and presented in advance to all members of the Council.
Adoption and Review History
Adopted at Parish Council Meeting on 12/05/14
Reviewed and amended on 07/12/15
Reviewed 15/05/17, 01/04/19, 02/03/20
Amended on 01/06/20, 16/07/20
Next Review Due March 2021