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SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL

Internal Financial Controls Report

2011-12

(PLEASE READ IN CONJUNCTION WITH FINANCIAL REGULATIONS)

1. REPORT

This report has been produced for Sedlescombe parish councillors and for the internal auditor of the 2011/12 accounts to show what steps have been taken by the Council during the year to meet the requirements of Sedlescombe Parish Council's financial regulations. The financial regulations were prepared in accordance with The Accounts and Audit Regulations 1996 as amended by The Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2011.

2. INTERNAL FINANCIAL CONTROLS

  1. The Finance Committee approved the effectiveness of its Internal Financial Controls during 2010-11 at its meeting on 06/09/2011 (F11/12.21.2). This is in accordance with The Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2011. It is no longer required for the effectiveness of the internal audit to be reviewed annually.
  2. Meetings of the Finance Committee of the Parish Council were held on 28/06/11 (pages 352-380 of Minute Book), 18/10/11 (pages 381-390 of Minute Book), 13/12/11 (pages 391-393 of Minute Book), 27/03/12.

3. AUDIT

  1. Mrs Angela Alexander was appointed Internal Auditor of the 2011-12 Sedlescombe Parish Council accounts at the Finance Committee meeting on 06/09/2011 (F11/12.21.3). The internal audit of the accounts has been arranged for 27/04/12.
  2. The Council noted Mrs Alexander's Internal Audit Report 2010-11 at its meeting on 17/05/11 (C11/12.13.1).
  3. Mazars 2011-12 External Audit Return will be signed by the Chairman of the Council after the Internal Audit and approval by the Council has been completed. The Return will then be forwarded to Mazars for the External Audit.
  4. The external audit fees have been announced for the 2011-12 accounts as £25,001-£50,000 income or expenditure - £285; £50,001-£100,000 - £550.
  5. Details of "The Future of Local Council Audit" as mentioned in paragraph 1.7 of the 2010-11 Internal Financial Controls Report are still awaited.
  6. Councillors confirmed that Mazars does not provide personal accountancy or tax advice to any of them. A further check will be made in May 2012.

4. 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). In order to take account of the changes in the Code of Conduct requirements, Sedlescombe Parish Council Standing Orders will be reviewed in 2012.
  2. A review of the financial regulations for Sedlescombe Parish Council was undertaken in 2010-11 and approved at the Council meeting on 16/11/10 (C10/11.77.2).

5. INSPECTIONS

  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/RFO accompanied by new councillor Roy Chapman on 15/08/11 and 12/09/11. The working group was joined by Ashley Davey and Derek Wright of Sedlescombe Sports Association during inspection of the Sportsfield.
  2. The Finance Committee considered the proposed work at its meetings during the year.
  3. This year, a new inspection of the pavilion by the Council was introduced. The inspection was carried out by Cllr Chapman and Cllr Heap on 18/12/11 and reported to the Parish Council on 10/01/12 (C11/12.97.3.4).

6. BUDGETS AND PRECEPT

  1. The 2011-12 Budget and income and expenditure were monitored at the Finance Committee meetings on 06/09/11 (F11/12.19.1), 18/10/11 (F11/12.37), 13/12.11 (F11/12.53).
  2. A "Final Accounts 2011/12" report will be approved at the meeting of the Council on 08/05/12. It will show Audited Figures 2010-11, the 2011-12 Budget, Actual income and expenditure 2011-12 and the 2012-13 Budget.
  3. The Annual Governance Statement for 2010-11 was approved at the Annual Council Meeting on 17/05/11 (C2011-12.13.3) and the 2011-12 Statement is expected to be approved at the Council Meeting on 08/05/12.
  4. The 2012-13 Budget was first considered at the Finance Committee meeting on 18/10/11 (F11/12.42) and continued at the meeting on 13/12/11 (F11/12.54). Apart from agreeing that the precept should be increased to cover expenses and to build up reserves, no decision on the amount was made. The precept amount of £33,500 was finally agreed by the full Council at its meeting on 13/01/12 (C11/12.100). This was an increase of 6.35% on last year.

7. JOBS

  1. During the year, the Clerk maintained the Jobs List and reported to the meetings of the Finance Committee.

8. BANK ARRANGEMENTS AND CHEQUES

  1. The Chairman of the Finance Committee (Cllr Glew) and the RFO met most months during 2011/12 to allow Cllr Glew to monitor the bank accounts, to check and initial every invoice for payment and to sign the cheques. One of the other two signatories (Cllr Wright or Cllr Vine-Hall) added their signature to the cheques before payment.
  2. The Finance Committee at its meeting on 19/10/10, agreed that cheques should be signed by the Chairman of the Parish Council, the Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council and the Chairman of the Finance Committee (F10/11.38). Consequently, for the 2011-12 financial year, arrangements were made for the signatories to be Cllrs Wright, Vine-Hall and Glew.
  3. A bank statement was received every month for the Barclays Community Account.
  4. The balance with the West Bromwich Building Society was confirmed after each deposit or withdrawal from the account.
  5. A new £21,000 6-month Corporate Guaranteed Investment Account with The Co-operative Bank was opened on 6/09/2011 and matured on 06/03/12. Interest was added to the account and a new £21,166.90 6-month Corporate Guaranteed Investment Account was opened the same day which will mature on 05/09/2012. Interest rate 1.625%. Confirmation of the amount held in the account was received from The Co-operative Bank on 07/03/12.
  6. Further attempts were made in 2011/12 to find a current account with dual or triple authority with The Unity Trust Bank being particularly favoured. However, on further investigation, it was found that The Unity Trust Bank had had financial problems and the matter was not progressed any further.
  7. The Parish Council received bank reconciliations every other month during 2011-12 as follows:
    C11/12.13.5
    April 2011
    C11/12.31.1
    May & June 2011
    C11/12.45.1
    July & August 2011
    C11/12.67.1
    September & October2011
    C11/12.100.2
    November & December 2011
    C11/12.114
    January & February 2012
    May 2012
    March 2012
  8. Payment of cheques was either ratified if already paid or approved at the same time.

9. 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 when the Chairman of Finance broke her wrist while the Chairman of the Council was abroad. Payment was inevitably delayed until the Chairman returned).
  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 will be extended to 2012-13 at the Finance Committee meeting on 27/03/12 (F11/12.62).

10. LOANS AND INVESTMENTS

  1. See 8.5 above for details of the new Investment Account with The Co-operative Bank.
  2. The Council continues to repay the Public Works Loan Board loan twice a year (end January and end July) by direct debit.
  3. The taking out of additional loans may also be considered in the 2012-13 financial year.

11. INCOME

  1. All income received has been paid into the Council's Barclays Community Account.

12. VAT AND TAX/NATIONAL INSURANCE

  1. VAT returns were submitted online to HMRC for the June, September, December 201l. The March 2011 quarter return will be submitted at the end of March 2012.
  2. Tax and National Insurance 2011-12 end-of-year forms will be submitted online to HMRC in April 2012.

13. ORDERS FOR WORK, GOODS AND SERVICES

  1. Invitations have been issued for work during the year.
  2. An official order has been issued for all work approved by the Council during the year.
  3. The following annual contracts have been let:
    1. Grounds Maintenance and litter collection 2011-12 and 2012-13 - Roger's Gardening Services.
    2. Weed killing and hogweed removal 2011-12 and 2012-13 - Languard Ltd.
    3. Annual Playground Inspection 2011-12 ROSPA and 2012-13 Digley Associates.
    4. Parish Council Insurance 2011-12 and 2012-13 Arriva through Came & Company.
    5. Dog Bin emptying 2011-12 and probably 2012-13 - Rother District Council.
  4. The following contracts have been let during 2011-12:
    1. Replacement of playground fencing - D&B Fencing.
    2. Replacement of front sportsfield fencing - D&B Fencing.
    3. Clearance of sportsfield ditch - Mayell Groundworks Ltd.
    4. Bus Shelter repairs including new roof - BEM Buildings & Decorators Ltd.
    5. "Welcome to Sedlescombe" panel - Angel Design (not completed).
    6. Village Green planters - sponsored by Blackbrooks Garden Centre (not completed).

      Contractors have supplied copies of their public liability insurance cover and a start has been made on obtaining details of contractors' waste carrier licences.

14. REGISTRATION OF WASTE CARRIERS

The Council is aware of the need for some contractors to register for carrying waste currently and that after December 2013 this will be extended to other types of contractor.

15. PROPERTIES AND ESTATES

  1. Title Deeds of properties owned by the Council are retained at the County Record Office in the Parish Council's records. Copies are held by the RFO. Registered land no longer needs deeds but is registered at the Land Registry.
  2. The Clerk/RFO has maintained the "Land and Property" file of all Parish Council property.
  3. The 2011 Asset Summary was approved by the Finance Committee on 29/03/11 (F10/11.64). The 2012 Asset Summary will be approved at the meeting of the Finance Committee on 27/03/12.
  4. The Parish Council and the Public Playing Field & Recreation Ground Charity made an Agreement in 2012 for the Parish Council to take over maintenance of the Charity's property using its own powers and finance.

16. INSURANCE AND RISK MANAGEMENT

  1. A three-year insurance contract with Aviva through Came & Company was negotiated from 01/06/09.
  2. On 13/12/11, the Finance Committee included a budget figure of £1,080 for a 3-year Long-term Agreement with a 5% No Claims Bonus with Came & Company which they had provided as an indicative cost.
  3. The Council's amended Risk Management Report 2011 was approved by the Finance Committee at its meeting on 29/03/11 (F10/11.63).

17. DATA TRANSPARENCY

  1. The Government is not currently requiring smaller parish councils to publish details of all items of expenditure over £500 as well as salaries.
  2. A brief budget was included in the Parish Council's Annual Report 2012 distributed to each home in the parish.

18. POWER OF WELL-BEING & GENERAL POWER OF COMPETENCE

The Parish Council obtained the Power of Well-Being on 08/11/11 (C11/12.65). The power allows the Council to promote the economic, social or environmental well-being of the area and can be used for the benefit of the whole or part of the Council's area and/or all or any persons resident or present in the Council's area. No use has been made of the Power.

As part of the Localism Act the Power of Well-being is being abolished to be replaced by a General Power of Competence. This will require Competent Clerks to pass an additional module.

19. DEVOLUTION OF SERVICES FROM ROTHER DISTRICT COUNCIL

Rother District Council is considering devolving some services to parish councils. In Sedlescombe, this is the Brede Lane Car Park and public conveniences in the car park. The Council resolved (C11/12.100.1) That, because of the unacceptable additional burden that the devolvement of maintaining the car park and public conveniences in Brede Lane would bring to the Parish Council, Sedlescombe Parish Council should write to Rother DC refusing its offer of devolving these facilities to the Parish Council.

 

Mrs P J Raymond
Clerk/RFO, Sedlescombe Parish Council
19/03/12

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