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INTERNAL FINANCIAL CONTROLS REPORT
2010-11

(please read in conjunction with Financial Regulations)

1. AUDIT

  1. This report has been produced for Sedlescombe parish councillors and for the internal auditor of the 2010/11 accounts to show what steps have been taken by the Council during 2010/11 to meet the requirements of Sedlescombe Parish Council's financial regulations which were prepared in accordance with The Accounts and Audit Regulations 1996 as amended.

  2. The Finance Committee approved the effectiveness of the 2009/10 internal audit by Valerie Bennett at its meeting on 19/10/10 (F09/10.39.2).

  3. By The Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2011, Sedlescombe must approve its accounts at a full Council Meeting by 30 June in any year (see 4.3 below). The statutory duty to review annually the effectiveness of internal audit of systems was removed in the 2011 regulations. However, the requirement to review the effectiveness of internal controls remains.

  4. Mrs Angela Alexander was appointed Internal Auditor of the 2010/11 Sedlescombe Parish Council accounts at the 19/10/10 Finance Committee Meeting (F10/11.39).

  5. Mazars 2010/11 Audit Return will be signed by the Chairman after the Internal Audit and approval by the Council has been completed and the Return will be forwarded to Mazars for the External Audit.

  6. The external audit fees are being extended to cover the 2011/12 accounts. For Sedlescombe, the following costs are likely to be incurred, depending the annual income or expenditure: £25,001-£50,000 income or expenditure - £285; £50,001-£100,000 income or expenditure - £550.

  7. It is noted that the Government has published a detailed consultation paper on "The Future of Local Council Audit" setting out proposed auditing arrangements which will apply after the abolition of the Audit Commission after 2012. In common with charities, it is suggested that the External Auditor be replaced by an Independent Examiner. One suggestion is that this Examiner will be selected and appointed by the County Council for all local councils in its area.

2. POLICIES

  1. A review of Standing Orders was undertaken in 2010/11 and approved at the Council meeting on 16/11/10 (C10/11.77.1).

  2. A review of the financial regulations was undertaken in 2010/11 and approved at the Council meeting on 16/11/10 (C10/11.77.2).

3. ANNUAL ESTIMATES

  1. In preparation for the estimates, the annual inspection of the Village was undertaken by Cllr Glew, Chairman of the Finance Committee and the Clerk (also part by new Councillor Jonathan Vine-hall) on 24/08/10 and 09/09/10. The report of the inspection was approved by the Council at its meeting on 14/09/10 (C10/11.54.3).

  2. The Inspection Report was considered in more detail by the Finance Committee on 19/10/10 (F10/11.21) and was made into a "Jobs List".

  3. A first draft of the 2011/12 budget was accepted by the Finance Committee on 19/10/10 (F10/11.37). The second draft budget and 2011/12 precept recommendation was accepted by the Finance Committee on 14/12/10 (F10/11.54).

  4. The budget and precept recommendation were considered by the full council on 18/01/11 (C10/11.90.3) and a resolution passed on the precept. The precept was held at the previous year's level of £31,500.

4. BUDGETARY CONTROL

  1. The 2010/11 income and expenditure figures were monitored by the Finance Committee at meetings on 29/06/10, 19/10/10, 14/12/10 and 29/03/11.

  2. The "Jobs List" was maintained by the RFO throughout the year and reviewed by the Chairman of the Finance Committee on an ongoing basis and at each Finance Committee meeting. The List allocated the "jobs" to councillors, contractors, the Clerk or volunteers.

  3. A "Final Accounts 2010/11" report has been prepared for approval of the meeting of the Council on 17/05/11. It shows Audited figures 2009/10, the 2010/11 Budget, Actual income and expenditure 2010/11 and the Budget 2011/12.

  4. The Annual Governance Statement for 2010/11 is expected to be approved at the Council Meeting on 17/05/11.

5. BANK ARRANGEMENTS AND CHEQUES

  1. The Chairman of the Finance Committee (Cllr Glew) and the RFO met each month during 2010/11 when Cllr Glew monitored the bank accounts, checked and initialled every invoice for payment and signed the cheques. One of the other two signatories (Cllr Wright or Cllr Irwin) added their signature to the cheques before payment. NB Cllr Irwin resigned from the Council in December 2010. New arrangements for cheque signing will be agreed by the Council at the 17/05/11 Annual Meeting of the Council.

  2. A bank statement was received every month for the Barclays Community Account and every quarter for the Barclays Business Bonus/Saver Account. The balance with the West Bromwich Building Society was confirmed after each deposit or withdrawal from the account.

  3. The Parish Council received bank reconciliations every other month during 2010/11 as follows:
    • C10/11.14.3 - April 2010
    • C10/11.31.1 - May and June 2010
    • C10/11.54.1 - July and August 2010
    • C10/11.72.1 - September and October 2010
    • C10/11.90.1 - November and December 2010
    • C10/11.106.1 - January and February 2011

  4. It also ratified cheques already paid or approved cheques to be paid at the same time.

6. PAYMENT OF ACCOUNTS

  1. Apart from petty cash payments and repayments of the loan, where a direct debit has been set up, all other payments were effected by cheques drawn on Barclays Bank.

  2. All invoices were settled within 30 days of receipt (apart from February 2011 invoices which were delayed until one of the signatory's return from holiday on 01/03/11).

  3. A petty cash float of £20 was maintained by the RFO and used to defray minor expenses such as postage and stationery. Vouchers for payments of petty cash have been retained.

  4. The RFO's delegated financial powers with regard to petty cash, minor grounds maintenance, purchase of stationery, copier toner etc. and booking training were extended into 2011/12 by the Finance Committee on 14/12/10 (F10/11.52)

7. LOANS AND INVESTMENTS

  1. As reported last year, the deposit of funds in the Barclays Bonus/Saver Account was supposed to be temporary pending approval of the use of the internet for investment accounts where a higher rate of interest could be obtained compared to the 0.05% rate of interest generally being offered to local authorities. However, the money has remained at Barclays because, to date, no satisfactory arrangement has been made to safeguard Council funds.

  2. Further attempts will be made in 2011/12 to find a more lucrative deposit for funds not immediately required, particularly the Clerk's Gratuity Fund.

  3. Further attempts will be made in 2011/12 to find a current account with dual or triple authority, for example the Unity Trust Bank which has a special "Tailored Account" only available to local councils. This would allow the RFO to check balances and statements and to set-up and arrange payment of bills online with dual authority. The disadvantage is that bank charges are payable but a low rate of interest is paid on the current account which the Council does not currently have at Barclays. An ALTO MasterCard prepaid card is available at a cost of £6 per card. This needs money to be loaded onto the card but would obviate the need for the RFO to use her own personal credit card for Council purchases and then reclaim the amount back from the Council. The Bank does not have any branches but cheques and cash can be paid into the account through the Post Office Girobank scheme.

  4. The Council continues to repay the Public Works Loan Board loan twice a year (end January and end July) by direct debit.

8. INCOME

  1. All income received has been paid into the Council's Barclays Community Account. At the end of the 2010/11 financial year, there were no bad debts outstanding.

9. VAT AND TAX/NATIONAL INSURANCE

  1. VAT returns were submitted online to HMRC for the June, September, December 2010 and March 2011 quarters.

  2. Tax and National Insurance end-of-year forms were submitted online to HMRC in April 2011.

10. ORDERS FOR WORK, GOODS AND SERVICES

  1. Invitations to tender have been issued for work during the year, particularly with regard to the Pumphouse Project.

  2. An official order has been issued for all work approved by the Council during the year.

11. PROPERTIES AND ESTATES

  1. Title deeds of properties owned by the Council are retained at the County Record Office with copies held by the RFO. However, registered land no longer needs deeds but is registered at the Land Registry.

  2. The Village Green was registered with the Land Registry in November 2010.

  3. The Clerk/RFO has constructed a new "Land and Property" file of all Parish Council property.

  4. The 2011 Asset Summary was approved by the Finance Committee on 29/03/11 (F10/11.62).

12. INSURANCE AND RISK MANAGEMENT

  1. A three-year insurance contract with Aviva through Came & Company was negotiated from 01/06/09. The Council will renew the policy from 01/06/11 as approved by the Finance Committee on 29/03/11 (F10/11.64).

  2. The Council's amended Risk Management Report 2011 was approved by the Finance Committee at its Meeting of 29/03/11 (F10/11.63).

13. DATA TRANSPARENCY

  1. The Government has consulted on the detailed provisions to be included in its data transparency proposal - this includes not only publication of all items of expenditure over £500 but other underlying information.

  2. A brief budget was included in the Parish Council's Annual Report 2011 distributed to each home in the parish.

  3. A webpage "What we spend and how we spend it" is included in the www.sedlescombe.org.uk website.

    Pauline J Raymond
    Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer
    Sedlescombe Parish Council
    15 April 2011