Financial Regulations 2021

General

1.1. These financial regulations govern the conduct of financial management by the council and may only be amended or varied by resolution of the council. Financial regulations are one of the council’s three governing policy documents providing procedural guidance for members and officers. Financial regulations must be observed in conjunction with the council’s standing orders[1] and any individual financial regulations relating to contracts.

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 the council’s 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
  • identifying the duties of officers.

1.4. These financial regulations demonstrate how the council meets these responsibilities and requirements.

1.5. 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.

1.6. Deliberate or wilful breach of these Regulations by an employee may give rise to disciplinary proceedings.

1.7. Members of council are expected to follow the instructions within these Regulations and not to entice employees to breach them. Failure to follow instructions within these Regulations brings the office of councillor into disrepute.

1.8. 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.

1.9. 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.

1.10. 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.

1.11. 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.

1.12. 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.

1.13. The council is not empowered by these Regulations or otherwise to delegate certain specified decisions. In particular any decision regarding:

  • setting the final budget or the precept (council tax requirement);
  • approving accounting statements;
  • approving an annual governance statement;
  • borrowing;
  • writing off bad debts;
  • declaring eligibility for the General Power of Competence; and
  • addressing recommendations in any report from the internal or external auditors, shall be a matter for the full council only.

1.14. In addition, the council must:

  • determine and keep under regular review the bank mandate for all council bank accounts;
  • approve any grant or a single commitment in excess of £50; and
  • in respect of the annual salary for any employee have regard to recommendations about annual salaries of employees made by the relevant committee in accordance with its terms of reference.

1.15. 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.

In these financial regulations 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), available from the websites of NALC and the Society for Local Council Clerks (SLCC).

 

[1] Model Standing Orders for Councils (2018 Edition) is available from NALC (©NALC 2018)