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Finance and Audit

Financial Management

A local council is a corporate body, a separate legal entity from its members, and a local authority. Therefore its decisions are the responsibility of the whole council and all councillors share collectiveresponsibility for the financial management of the
council.

Financial rules and procedures set by government through various statutes and regulations are designed to protect the council and ensure that it takes no unacceptable risks with public money. The rules protect community assets and aim to make best use of public money.

The Responsible Financial Officer, who is also the Proper Officer and Parish Clerk, ensures that the records and accounts of the council are prepared in accordance with specified “proper practices” and kept up to date.

The Parish Council can only spend money if it has a statutory power to do so and there are a wide range of powers under different acts of Parliament which can be used.

A link to the Financial Regulations can be found below.

Precept

Each year Newton and Noss Council calculates how much money it requires to provide its services or achieve any planned projects. This sum, called the precept, is collected by South Hams District Council as part of a household’s council tax. Newton and Noss Parish Council does not receive any money from central government or Devon County Council, nor does it receive any financial support from local business rates which are collected by South Hams District Council.

For 2022/23 the precept for Band D Properties is £62.59 and for 2021/22 the precept was £57.88 which represents an increase of £4.71 or 8.14%.

As a local resident you have legal rights to inspect, ask questions about and challenge items in your council’s accounts. For more information, the National Audit Office has published a guide Council Accounts – a guide to your rights.

Accounts and Audit Regulations

In order to comply with the Accounts and Audit Regulations and associated documents, the Parish Council is required to publish certain information.

The Local Audit & Accountability Act 2014 and the Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015 set out the responsibilities of all local councils in respect of their accounting and auditing procedures.

Each year, the Council’s financial accounts and statements must be examined by an independent internal auditor appointed by the Council.  For the year 2021/22 this is Peter Vassallo, Accountant.

The Council is also required to complete an Annual Governance & Accountability Return (AGAR) which includes the findings of the Internal Auditor, together with Governance Statements and Financial Statements. The AGAR is then submitted to the independent external auditor appointed by the Audit Commission for examination.

As a local resident you have legal rights to inspect, ask questions about and challenge items in your council’s accounts. For more information, the National Audit Office has published a guide Council Accounts – a guide to your rights.

Annual Governance & Accountability Return (AGAR)

The Council is also required to complete an Annual Governance & Accountability Return (AGAR) which includes the findings of the Internal Auditor, together with Governance Statements and Financial Statements. The AGAR is then submitted to the independent external auditor appointed by the Audit Commission for examination.