1. Overall Principles
1.1 The Council, its members and employees shall at all times conduct its business according to the following principles:
1.2 The Council shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that decisions taken are lawful.
1.3 All business of the Council shall be conducted in accordance with these Financial Regulations.
1.4 The Council shall ensure that its decisions and activities are such that they would be perceived by a reasonable member of the public to be in good faith and in the wider interests of the communities of Wicken and Upware.
2. Role of Clerk
2.1 The Clerk shall act as the Council’s “Responsible Financial Officer” (RFO) and be responsible for ensuring compliance with these Financial Regulations.
3. Risk Management
3.1 The Council shall undertake an annual risk assessment, to include the following:
• Ensuring that the Council’s property (including new acquisitions) is covered by insurance; and that security arrangements are appropriate;
• Renewal of public liability and fidelity guarantee insurance, ensuring that limits remain appropriate;
• Ensuring that the Council’s reserves and annual precept are sufficient to maintain service delivery and to provide for unforeseen events;
• Ensuring that issues detailed in internal audit and external audit reports have been addressed.
4. Audit and Accountability
4.1 The Council shall ensure that the Annual Return to the Audit Commission is submitted by the given deadline.
4.2 The Council shall ensure that statutory procedures are followed in respect of the rights of electors to inspect accounting records.
4.3 The Council shall maintain an adequate and independent internal audit sufficient to fulfil the requirements of the Audit Commission Annual Return.
4.4 The Council shall implement agreed recommendations made by the internal auditor and external auditor.
5. Budgetary Control
5.1 The Council shall agree a budget for each financial year that allocates resources to achieve the Council’s objectives for the year.
5.2 In setting the budget, the Council shall ensure that adequate balances are maintained to provide for short and long term commitments and to provide a contingency for unforeseen events.
5.3 The Council shall receive a regular report from the RFO setting out actual expenditure and income compared with the agreed budget. As a minimum, this will be twice per annum: after the first six months of the financial year, and after the end of the financial year.
5.4 Amendments to the original budget can be made by agreement of the Council.
6. Record keeping
6.1 The RFO shall maintain an up to date cashbook that facilitates the monitoring of income and expenditure, reconciliations between accounts and the production of the annual Statement of Accounts.
6.2 As a minimum, reconciliations shall be completed as at 30 September and 31 March in each financial year.
6.3 The RFO shall retain invoices and receipts to demonstrate that all expenditure has been properly incurred.
6.4 The RFO shall maintain records that demonstrate that all income due to the Council has been collected, banked, and accounted for.
6.5 The RFO shall retain accounting records for a minimum of the current financial year and the previous six completed financial years.
7.1 The Council shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that it has legal powers to incur all expenditure.
7.2 The Council shall ensure that there is sufficient budgetary provision before committing to incur expenditure.
7.3 For purchases of goods or services exceeding £1,500 in a financial year, whenever practical the Council shall obtain a minimum of three alternative quotations. If the lowest quotation is not accepted, the reasons should be minuted. Purchases exceeding £5,000 shall be subject to a formal tendering process.
7.4 Where the purchase is of a specialist nature such that alternative quotations are not practical, the reasons for selecting the chosen supplier should be minuted.
7.5 The Clerk shall be authorised to commit funds up to a maximum of £100 between meetings for minor village maintenance tasks. Such expenditure is to be ratified at the subsequent Council meeting.
8.1 The Council shall review the levels of all fees and charges annually.
8.2 All income received shall be stored securely before banking and will be banked intact at least monthly.
9. Banking Arrangements
9.1 The Council shall ensure that all funds are placed in bank accounts with a reputable bank or building society, with the security of its funds as the prime consideration.
9.2 The Council shall maintain an agreement with their banker that requires cheques and direct debit agreements to be signed by a minimum of two authorised persons.
9.3 The Council shall seek to secure a competitive interest payable on bank balances subject to guaranteeing the security of funds as noted above.
9.4 The Council shall not enter into any borrowing arrangements, including bank overdrafts, and shall not overdraw its bank accounts.