In our Parish, as with all small parishes, the Clerk doubles as the Responsible Financial Officer, in charge of all things financial. A Cash Book is kept recording receipts and payments which is checked against monthly bank statements. At every meeting spending is monitored by councillors – that is against the Budget and as cheques signed. These balances and amounts are recorded in the minutes. The Allotments accounts from part of the Parish Council accounts at the present time but are recorded independently.
The work of the Parish Council is funded primarily by the parish precept which is collected annually alongside council tax. The precept is supplemented from reserves. Once per year the precept is set – that is the local tax payable by households which is added to the Milton Keynes Council Tax Bill (rates).
The precept is usually decided when the budget is decided, for obvious reasons. However both these items have to be approved in a public meeting. This is usually our January meeting, as Milton Keynes Council requires parishes to submit their precept request in early February every year.
Precept 2021-22: £9,104 = £21.83 per Band D property
A new Transparency Code has come into play, whilst not legally binding we follow the guidelines set out for smaller Parish Councils – under £25,000 total receipts or total expenditure.
This means we make available the following information on this website:
Bank reconciliation from the reporting year
A list of expenditure items for the current year with a value of over £100
Our land holdings (the Allotment site) – shown on the Fixed Assets Register
Internal – Once per year the books are audited by an outsider who matches up spending with decisions made in Council and generally assesses not only financial administration but also general effectiveness and involvement. This is done by randomly cross-checking invoices and cheques, seeing the Fixed Asset Register is up-to-date, risk is being assessed effectively, and that VAT and expenses are being awarded correctly (random checks).
External – Once per year the books are audited by an accredited outside national agency – currently PKF Littlejohn – where figures are scrutinised according to a prescribed format. They also check that the Internal Auditor has fulfilled his or her role through a tick-box form. This happens during the summer at the beginning of the financial year following the year just ended that is being audited.