East Farleigh Parish Council
NOTICE OF PUBLIC RIGHTS AND PUBLICATION OF UNAUDITED ANNUAL GOVERNANCE &ACCOUNTABILITY RETURN
ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2020
Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 Sections 26 and 27 The Accounts and Audit Reaulations 2015 (SI 2015/234)
1. Date of announcement 9th July 2020 (a)
2. Each year the smaller authority’s Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) needs to be reviewed by an external auditor appointed by Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd. The unaudited AGAR has been published with this notice. As it has yet to be reviewedby the appointed auditor, it is subject to change as a result of that review.
Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2020, these documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to:
(b) Desiree Home Clerk/RFO
commencing on (c) _ Monday13th July 2020 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
andendingon(d)_Friday21stAugust2020_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 3. Local government electors and their representatives also have:
(a) Insert date of placing of the notice which must be not less than 1 day before the date in (c) below
(b) Insert name, position and address/telephone number/ email address, as appropriate, of the Clerk or other person to which any person may apply to inspect the accounts
(c) Insert date, which must be at least 1 day after the date of announcement in (a) above and at least 30 working days before the date appointed in (d) below
(d) The inspection period between (c) and (d) must be 30 working days inclusive and must include the first 10 working days of July.
(e) Insert name and position of person placing the notice – this person must be the responsible financial officer for the smaller authoritv
LOCAL AUTHORITY ACCOUNTS: A SUMMARY OF YOUR RIGHTS
Please note that this summary applies to all relevant smaller authorities, including local councils, internal drainage boards and ‘other’ smaller authorities.
The basic position
The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (the Act) governs the work of auditors appointed to smaller authorities. This summary explains the provisions contained in Sections 26 and 27 of the Act. The Act and the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 also cover the duties, responsibilities and rights of smaller authorities, other organisations and the public concerning the accounts being audited.
As a local elector, or an interested person, you have certain legal rights in respect of the accounting records of smaller authorities. As an interested person you can inspect accounting records and related documents. If you are a local government elector for the area to which the accounts relate you can also ask questions about the accounts and object to them. You do not have to pay directly for exercising your rights. However, any resulting costs incurred by the smaller authority form part of its running costs. Therefore, indirectly, local residents pay for the cost of you exercising your rights through their council tax.
The right to inspect the accounting records
Any interested person can inspect the accounting records, which includes but is not limited to local electors. You can inspect the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records. You can copy all, or part, of these records or documents. Your inspection must be about the accounts, or relate to an item in the accounts. You cannot, for example, inspect or copy documents unrelated to the accounts, or that include personal information (Section 26 (6) – (10) of the Act explains what is meant by personal information). You cannot inspect information which is protected by commercial confidentiality. This is information which would prejudice commercial confidentiality if it was released to the public and there is not, set against this, a very strong reason in the public interest why it should nevertheless be disclosed.
When smaller authorities have finished preparing accounts for the financial year and approved them, they must publish them (including on a website). There must be a 30 working day period, called the ‘period for the exercise of public rights’, during which you can exercise your statutory right to inspect the accounting records. Smaller authorities must tell the public, including advertising this on their website, that the accounting records and related documents are available to inspect. By arrangement you will then have 30 working days to inspect and make copies of the accounting records. You may have to pay a copying charge. The 30 working day period must include a common period of inspection during which all smaller authorities’ accounting records are available to inspect. This will be 1-12 July 2019 for 2018/19 accounts. The advertisement must set out the dates of the period for the exercise of public rights, how you can communicate to the smaller authority that you wish to inspect the accounting records and related documents, the name and address of the auditor, and the relevant legislation that governs the inspection of accounts and objections.
The right to ask the auditor questions about the accounting records
You should first ask your smaller authority about the accounting records, since they hold all the details. If you are a local elector, your right to ask questions of the external auditor is enshrined in law. However, while the auditor will answer your questions where possible, they are not always obliged to do so. For example, the question might be better answered by another organisation, require investigation beyond the auditor’s remit, or involve disproportionate cost (which is borne by the local taxpayer). Give your smaller authority the opportunity first to explain anything in the accounting records that you are unsure about. If you are not satisfied with their explanation, you can question the external auditor about the accounting records.
The law limits the time available for you formally to ask questions. This must be done in the period for the exercise of public rights, so let the external auditor know your concern as soon as possible. The
advertisement or notice that tells you the accounting records are available to inspect will also give the period for the exercise of public rights during which you may ask the auditor questions, which h re means formally asking questions under the Act. You can ask someone to represent you when asking the external auditor questions.
Before you ask the external auditor any questions, inspect the accounting records fully, so you know what they contain. Please remember that you cannot formally ask questions, under the Act, after the end of the period for the exercise of public rights. You may ask your smaller authority other questions about their accounts for any year, at any time. But these are not questions under the Act.
You can ask the external auditor questions about an item in the accounting records for the financial year being audited. However, your right to ask the external auditor questions is limited. The external auditor can only answer ‘what’ questions, not ‘why’ questions. The external auditor cannot answer questions about policies, finances, procedures or anything else unless it is directly relevant to an item in the accounting records. Remember that your questions must always be about facts, not opinions. To avoid misunderstanding, we recommend that you always put your questions in writing.
The right to make objections at audit
You have inspected the accounting records and asked your questions of the smaller authority. Now you may wish to object to the accounts on the basis that an item in them is in your view unlawful or there are matters of wider concern arising from the smaller authority’s finances. A local government elector can ask the external auditor to apply to the High Court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, or to issue a report on matters which are in the public interest. You must tell the external auditor which specific item in the accounts you object to and why you think the item is unlawful, or why you think that a public interest report should be made about it. You must provide the external auditor with the evidence you have to support your objection. Disagreeing with income or spending does not make it unlawful. To object to the accounts you must write to the external auditor stating you want to make an objection, including the information and evidence below and you must send a copy to the smaller authority. The notice must include:
- confirmation that you are an elector in the smaller authority’s area;
- why you are objecting to the accounts and the facts on which you rely;
- details of any item in the accounts that you think is unlawful and
- details of any matter about which you think the external auditor should make a public interest
Other than it must be in writing, there is no set format for objecting. You can only ask the external auditor
to act within the powers available under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.
A final word
You may not use this ‘right to object’ to make a personal complaint or claim against your smaller authority. YoushouldtakesuchcomplaintstoyourlocalCitizens’AdviceBureau,localLawCentreor to your solicitor. Smaller authorities, and so local taxpayers, meet the costs of dealing with questions and objections. In deciding whether to take your objection forward, one of a series of factors the auditor must take into account is the cost that will be involved, they will only continue with the objection if it is in the public interest to do so. They may also decide not to consider an objection if they think that it is frivolous or vexatious, or if it repeats an objection already considered. If you appeal to the courts against an auditor’s decision not to apply to the courts for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, you will have to pay for the action yourself.
For more detailed guidance on public rights and the special powers of auditors, copies of the publication Local authority accounts: A guide to your rights are available from the NAO website.
Section1 – Annual GovernanceStatemeni 2019/20 We acknowledge as the members of:
East Farleigh Parish Council
our responsibility for ensuring that there is a sound system of internal control, including arrangements for the preparation of the Accounting Statements. We confirm, to the best of our knowledge and belief, with respect to the Accounting Statements for the year ended 31 March 2020,that:
1. We have put In place arrangements for effective financial management during the year, and for the preparation of the accountingstatements.
2.Wemaintainedanadequatesystemofinternalcontrol includingmeasuresdesignedtopreventanddetectfraud and corruption and reviewed its effectiveness.
3. We took all reasonable steps to assure ourselves that there are no matters of actual or potential non-compliancewithlaws,regulationsandProper Practices that could have a significant financial effect on the ability of this authority to conduct its business or manage its finances.
4.Weprovidedproperopportunityduringtheyearfor the exercise of electors’ rights in accordance with the requirementsoftheAccountsandAuditRegulations.
5. We carried out an assessment of the risks facing this authorityandtookappropriatestepstomanagethose risks, including the Introduction of internal controls and/or external insurance cover where required.
6. Wemaintained throughout the year an adequate and effectivesystemofinternalauditoftheaccounting recordsandcontrolsystems.
7. We took appropriate action on all matters raised Inreports from internal and external audit.
prepared its accounting statements In accordance with the Accounts and Audit Regulations.
has only done what it has the legal power to do and has complied with Proper Practices in doing so.
duringtheyeargaveallpersonsinterestedtheopportunityto inspect and ask questions about this authority’s accounts.
considered and documented the financial and other risks ii faces and dealt with them properly.
arranged for a competent person, independent of the financial controlsandprocedures,togiveanobjectiveviewonwhether internalcontrolsmeettheneedsofthissmallerauthority.
responded to matters brought to its attention by internal and external audit.
8. We considered whether any litigation, liabilities or commitments, events or transactions, occurring either during or after the year-end, have a financial impact on this authority and, where appropriat,ehave included them in the accounting statement.s
disclosed everything it should have about its business activity during the year including events taking place after the year end if relevant.
has met all of its responsibilities where, as a body
corporate, it is a sole managing trustee of a local … _.,.._…;……_.J,1.a..:;…. ;. trustor trusts.
9.(Forlocalcouncilsonly)Trustfundsincluding charitable. In our capacity as the sole managing trustee we discharged our accountability responsibilities for the fund(s)/asset,sincluding financial reporting and, if required, independnet examination or audit.
*Please provide explanations to the external auditor on a separate sheet for each ‘No’ response and describe how the authority will address the weaknesses identified. These sheets must be published with the Annual Governance Statement.
This Annual Governance Statement was approved at a meeting of the authority on:
and recorded as minute reference:
Signed by the Chairman and Clerk of the meeting where approval was given:
Other information required by the Transparency Codes (not part of Annual Governance Statement) Authority web address
Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2019/20 Part 3
Local Councils, Internal Drainage Boards and other Smaller Authorities*
Section 2 – Accounting Statements 2019/20 for East Farleigh Parish Council
1. Balances brought forward
2. (+) Precept or Rates and Levies
3. (+) Total other receipts 4. (-) Staff costs
5. (-) Loan interest/capital repayments
8. Total value of cash and shortterminvestments
9. T otal fixed assets plus long term investments and assets
10. Total borrowings
11. (For Local Councils Only) Disclosure note
re Trust funds (including charitable)
I certify that for the year ended 31 March 2020 the Accounting Statements in this Annual Governance and Accountability Return have been prepared on either a receipts and payments or income and expenditure basis following the guidance in Governance and Accountability for Smaller Authorities – a Practitioners’ Guide to Proper Practices and present fairly the financial position of this authority.
Signed by Responsible Financial Officer before being presented tot he –
Total balances and reserves at the beginning of the year 116,695 asrecordedinthefinancialrecords.Valuemustagreeto
Box 7 of previous year.
Total amount of precept (or for IDBs rates and levies) 58,579 receivedorreceivableintheyear.Excludeanygrants
Total income or receipts as recorded in the cashbook less 12,182 the precept or rates/levies received (line 2). Include any
Total expenditure or payments of capital and interest 3,960 madeduringtheyearontheauthority’sborrowings(ifany).
The sum of all current and deposit bank accounts, cash 44,975 holdingsandshortterminvestmentsheldasat31March-
To agree with bank reconciliation.
The value of all the property the authority owns – it is made 194,891 up of all its fixed assets and long term investments as at
102,518 Theoutstandingcapitalbalanceasat31Marchofallloans from third parties (including PWLB).
The Counci,las a body corporate, acts as sole trustee for andisresponsibleformanagingTrustfundsorassets.
N . B . T h e f i g u r e s i n t h e a c c o u n i t n g s t a t e m e nt s a b o v e d o not includeany Tmst transactions.
I confirm that these Accounting Statements were approved by this authority on this date:
as recorded in minute reference:
Signed by Chairman of the meeting where the Accounting Statements were approved
Total expenditure or payments made to and on behalf of all employees. Include gross salaries and wages, employers NI contribution,semployers pension contributions, gratuities and severance payments.
7. (=) Balances carried forward
Totalexpenditureorpaymentsasrecordedinthecash- 114,457 bookJessstaffcosts(line4)andloaninterest/capital
repayments (line 5).
Total balances and reserves at the end of the year. Must 49,021 equal (1+2+3) -(4+5+6).
pt/ W 2o
Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2019/20 Part 3
Local Councils, Internal Drainage Boards and other Smaller Authorities*
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