The Processes, Documents and Regulations That Ensure Confidence in Your Council
As a parishioner you need confidence in the integrity of your Council. It is Public Money that Councils spend; specifically the Precept that is collected by East Staffordshire Borough Council on behalf of the Parish Council. What reassurance can we give you that everything is being done correcetly?
There are various documents that set out how Council will operate. These Policies, Orders, Regulations etc are adopted by the Council. Some will have been drafted after a period of consultation with the parishioners. Most are tailored to a specifc Council; some may be unique to a council; some are required in Law. Some of the rules & regulations are dependant on the size of the Council. But we all know that having a set of “rules” does not ensure that they are stuck to.
Every year councils are required to have an “Audit” – not just of the recording of the financial transactions but ensuring that they are legal transactions, permitted by statute or Council’s own governing documents. Council financial years close on 31st March. Currently the “Annual Governance & Accountability Return” (AGAR) is completed and agreed by Council in the Spring. Part of this process involves an “Internal Audit” which looks closely at the sytems and processes underlying Council’s work. The return is then submitted to an “External Audit”. Different organisations perform these two audits. The internal audit is required to be done by an independant person but who is Council’s choice. The external audit can be similalrly handled but the majority of Councils have adopted to use the firm of auditors appointed to their County by a national body, For Staffordshire the external auditor is Mazars LLP.