- These financial regulations shall govern the conduct of the financial transactions of the Council and may only be amended or varied by resolution of the Council.
- The Responsible Financial officer (RFO) shall be responsible for the proper administration of the Council's financial affairs. In Sedlescombe, the RFO is also the Clerk.
- The RFO shall be responsible for the production of financial management information.
2 ANNUAL ESTIMATES
- In preparation for the Estimates, an annual inspection of the Council's responsibilities within the Village shall be carried out by the Chairman of the Council and the Clerk each autumn.
- The RFO shall submit an annual report to the Council for approval/amendment of recommendations for action on the inspection.
- The RFO shall prepare detailed estimates of income and expenditure in line with recommendations and submit them to the Finance Committee for review.
- The estimates shall be submitted to the Council for final approval not later than the February Council Meeting in each year together with the recommended precept to be levied for the ensuing financial year. The RFO shall supply each member with a copy of the approved estimates.
- The annual capital and revenue budgets shall form the basis of financial control for the ensuing year.
3 BUDGETARY CONTROL
- Normal expenditure in line with the recommendations in the annual report to be approved by the Finance Committee.
- If sufficient funds are available, additional expenditure may be approved by the Council.
- The RFO shall provide the Finance Committee with a quarterly statement of income and expenditure under each head of the approved annual revenue and capital budgets.
- The RFO, in consultation with the Chairman of the Finance Committee, may incur expenditure on behalf of the Council which is necessary to carry out any repair, replacement or other work which is of such extreme urgency that it must be done at once, whether or not there is any budgetary provision for the expenditure, subject to a limit of £1000.
- The RFO shall report the action to the Council as soon as practicable thereafter.
- All capital works shall be administered in accordance with the Council's standing orders and financial regulations relating to contracts.
4 ACCOUNTING AND AUDIT
- All accounting procedures and financial records of the Council shall be determined by the RFO as required by the Accounts and Audit Regulations 1996 amended by the Audit Commission Act 1998 and the Code of Audit Practice 2000 and 2002.
- The RFO shall be responsible for completing the annual accounts of the Council as soon as practicable after the end of the financial year and shall submit them to and report thereon to the Council.
- The RFO shall be responsible for maintaining an adequate and effective system of internal audit of the Council's accounting, financial and other operations in accordance with regulation 5 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 1996 amended by the Audit Commission Act 1998 and the Code of Audit Practice 2000 and 2002.
- The RFO shall be responsible for preparation of the Annual Return and submission of the report signed by the RFO and Chairman of the Council to the external auditor.
5 BANKING ARRANGEMENTS AND CHEQUES
- The Council's banking arrangements shall be made by the RFO and approved by the Finance Committee.
- A monthly schedule of cheques for payment shall be prepared by the RFO and, together with the relevant invoices, presented to the Chairman of the Finance Committee prior to each Council meeting. If the schedule is in order, payments shall be authorised by resolution of the Council and the schedule included in the Council Minutes of that meeting. A further copy of the schedule shall be maintained showing in addition:
- accounting transaction numbers for invoices received and payments made
- the authorising Minute number.
- Cheques drawn on the bank account in accordance with the schedule referred to in the previous paragraph shall be signed by two councillors (usually Chairman of Finance and Council Chairman).
6 PAYMENT OF ACCOUNTS
- Apart from petty cash payments, all payments shall be effected by cheques drawn on the Council's bankers.
- Invoices received shall be examined by the RFO in relation to arithmetical accuracy and coded to the appropriate expenditure head. They shall then be included in the schedule referred to above.
- All invoices submitted, which are in order, should be settled within 30 days of receipt.
- The RFO shall maintain a petty cash float to a limit of £20 for the purpose of defraying minor expenses. Vouchers for payments made from petty cash shall be kept to substantiate the payments.
- Payments to maintain the petty cash float shall be shown separately on the schedule referred to above.
- The RFO may approve minor grounds maintenance expenses up to £75/month. (Approved F08/09.47)
- The RFO may approve purchase of stationery, including copier toner, up to the annual budget figure. (Approved F08/09.47, extended F09/10.44)
- The RFO may book training for councillors and the Clerk/RFO, up to the annual budget figure. (Approved F08/09.47, extended F09/10.44)
7 LOANS AND INVESTMENTS
- All loans and investments shall be negotiated by the RFO in the name of the Council, and shall be for a set period of time in accordance with Council policy. Changes to loans and investments shall be reported to the Finance Committee at the earliest opportunity.
- All investments of money under the control of the Council shall be in the name of the Council. All borrowings shall be effected in the name of the Council.
- All investment certificates and other documents relating thereto shall be retained in the custody of the RFO.
- The collection of all sums due to the Council shall be the responsibility of the RFO.
- Income received must not be paid into the petty cash float but must be separately banked.
- The Finance Committee shall review fees and charges as appropriate following a report of the RFO.
- Any bad debts shall be reported to the Finance Committee.
- All sums received on behalf of the Council shall be paid to the RFO for banking. Cheque receipts shall be deposited with the Council's bankers as received. Cash receipts shall be deposited with the Council's bankers monthly.
- A reference to the related debt, or otherwise, indicating the origin of each cheque, shall be entered on the paying-in slip.
- Personal cheques shall not be cashed out of money held on behalf of the Council.
9 ORDERS FOR WORK, GOODS AND SERVICES
- An official order or letter shall be issued for all work, goods and services unless a formal contract is to be prepared or an official order would be inappropriate eg petty cash purchases. Copies of orders issued shall be maintained.
- The RFO is responsible for obtaining value for money at all times. The RFO when issuing an official order is to ensure as far as reasonable and practicable that the best available terms are obtained in respect of each transaction.
- Where it is intended to enter into a contract: exceeding £1,000 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 below, the RFO shall invite tenders from, wherever practicable, at least three firms, such firms to be taken from the SPC-approved list.
- Such invitation to tender shall state the general nature of the intended contract and the RFO 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 RFO and the last date by which such tenders should reach the RFO in the ordinary course of post. Each tendering firm shall be supplied with a specially marked envelope in which the tender is to be sealed and remain sealed until the prescribed date for opening tenders for that contract.
- For expenditures of £1,000 or less in value the chairman of the Finance Committee and the RFO, or their duly authorised deputies, shall have executive power.
- For expenditures of £1,000 or less in value, where a parish councillor could be employed, the RFO shall obtain a quotation from at least one other SPC-approved contractor and shall, on receipt of the quotations and with approval of the Chairman of the Finance Committee, accept the lowest quotation.
- The Council is not obliged to invite tenders for the following:
- for the supply of gas, electricity, water, sewerage and telephone services
- for specialist services such as are provided by solicitors, accountants, surveyors and planning consultants
- for 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
- for work to be executed or goods or materials to be supplied which constitute an extension of an existing contract by the Council
- for goods or materials proposed to be purchased which are proprietary articles and, or which are sold only at a fixed price.
- Every exception made by a Committee to which the power of making contracts has been delegated shall be reported to the Council and the report shall specify the emergency by which the exception shall have been justified
- All sealed tenders shall be opened at the same time on the prescribed date by the Chairman of the Finance Committee or the RFO in the presence of the Finance Committee. Record of tenders to be signed and retained by the RFO.
- If less than three tenders are received for contracts valued above £1,000 or if all the tenders are identical the Finance Committee may make such arrangements as it thinks fit for procuring the goods or materials or executing the works.
- The Finance Committee/Council shall not be obliged to accept the lowest or any tender.
- Any invitation to tender issued shall contain a statement of the effect of Standing Order No.33.1.
11 PAYMENTS UNDER CONTRACTS FOR BUILDING OR OTHER CONSTRUCTION WORKS
- 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.
- Any variation to a contract or addition to or omission from a contract must be approved by the RFO in writing, the appropriate Committee being informed where the final cost is likely to exceed the financial provision.
12 PROPERTIES AND ESTATES
- The RFO shall make appropriate arrangements for the custody of all title deeds of properties owned by the Council.
- The RFO shall ensure a record is maintained of all properties owned 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 regulation 4(3)(b) of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 1996.
- No property shall be sold, leased or otherwise disposed of without the authority of the Council, save where the estimated value of any one item does not exceed £50.
13 INSURANCE AND RISK MANAGEMENT
- The RFO shall effect all insurances and negotiate all claims on the Council's insurers.
- The RFO shall keep a record of the Council's risks together with methods for managing the risks and arrange for its annual review by the Finance Committee.
14 REVISION OF FINANCIAL REGULATIONS
- It shall be the duty of the Finance Committee to review the financial regulations of the Council from time to time and to make such recommendations to the Council as the Committee considers are required.