Minutes of the Finance Committee on 5 June 2024

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF CHOPPINGTON PARISH COUNCIL FINANCE COMMITTEE HELD ON WEDNESDAY 5 JUNE 2024 IN THE PARISH COUNCIL OFFICES

THOSE ATTENDING:

Cllr H Allsopp

Cllr K Burn

Cllr A Iley

Cllr J Rowell (Chair)

Cllr P S Vaughan

Cllr L Watson

 

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mrs A Brindley Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer, Mr D L Nicholson Deputy Parish Clerk, Mr D Iley Finance Officer

 

AGENDA PART 1

F001/24         1.         APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE.

No apologies received

F002/24         2.         MEMBERS DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY AND OTHER REGISTERABLE INTEREST(S).

No declarations were made.

F003/24        3.         Public Questions.

There were no questions from the public

F004/24         4.         ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN TO SERVE FOR THE COUNCIL YEAR 2024/2.

Cllr J Rowell was duly moved, seconded and elected to serve as Chairman of the Finance Committee for the ensuing year.

F005/24         5.         ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIRMAN TO SERVE FOR THE COUNCIL YEAR 2023/4.

Cllr H Allsopp was duly moved, seconded and elected to serve as Vice-Chairman of the Finance Committee for the ensuing year.

F006/24         6.         MINUTES OF THE FINANCE MEETING OF 27 MARCH 2024.

                                    Members agreed them as a true record

F007/24         7.         MATTERS ARISING

 F025/23.5. The Parish Clerk confirmed that the Council was awaiting the credit card.

F008/24         8.         TERMS OF REFERENCE

 The Parish Council highlighted that items 5.9, 5.10 and 6 have been inserted into the Terms of Reference.

Members approved the changes and accepted the Terms of Reference.

F009/24         9.         INTERNAL AUDIT.

The Parish Clerk presented a report addressing the comments from the internal audit report (Appendix 1).  Members were satisfied that the audit had been completed thoroughly and welcomed the comments in the auditor report which had provided a new perspective which had prompted the re-examination.

RESOLVED:

1.Members were reassured that the process that the Council uses to determine the level of insurance/self-insurance was adequate for the demands required to replace and repair existing fixed assets for 2024/25.

2.Members were mindful that the transfer of the assets at Cleaswell Park from NCC later in the year would require additional insurance cover.

3. That the Parish Clerk investigate costs of insurance with increased level of cover for assets as part of the Parish Council’s management of risk at the appropriate time.

 

AGENDA – PART 2.

Members considered under Standing Order 3, that in view of the special and confidential nature of the business to be transacted, it was advisable in the public interest that the press and public be excluded and asked to withdraw.

 

There were no items for agenda part 2

 

There being no further business the meeting closed at 10.10 am

 

 

 

Signed by the Chairman: …………………………………………….               Date:  …………………..

 

 

 

 

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF CHOPPINGTON PARISH COUNCIL FINANCE COMMITTEE HELD ON WEDNESDAY 27 MARCH 2024 IN THE PARISH COUNCIL OFFICES

 

THOSE ATTENDING:

 

Cllr H Allsopp

Cllr K Burn

Cllr J Foster

Cllr G Huntley

Cllr A Iley

Cllr J Rowell (Chair)

Cllr P S Vaughan

Cllr L Watson

 

IN ATTENDANCE:

 

Mrs A Brindley Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer, Mr D Iley Finance Officer

 

AGENDA PART 1

 

F021/23         1.         APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE.

 

All committee members present

 

F022/23         2.         MEMBERS DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY AND

OTHER REGISTERABLE INTEREST(S).

 

No declarations were made.

 

F023/23        3.         PUBLIC QUESTIONS.

 

                                    There were no questions from the public

 

 

F024/23         4.         TO RECEIVE AND AGREE AS A TRUE RECORD THE MINUTES

 OF THE MEETING HELD ON 11 OCTOBER 2023

 

The minutes were agreed, and the Chairman was approved to sign them as correct

 

F025/23         5.         MATTERS ARISING

 

The Clerk advised that the credit card is yet to arrive.

 

Cllrs Allsopp, Foster, Huntley and Vaughan declared an interest and left the meeting

 

F026/23         6.         REVISION OF OFFICE ACCOMMODATION 

Members received the report of the independent rent valuation increasing the rent of the office accommodation provided by Stakeford and Bomarsund Welfare, above the level anticipated in the 2024/25 budget.

Members considered options of

  1. cost of renting elsewhere including an example of rent for office and storage accommodation available out of area.
  2. purchasing accommodation in the area including re-modelling costs and monthly expenses
  • balancing the increase costs of rent with the benefits of the current arrangements that are particular to renting accommodation on this site.

 

Members agreed that in their current building the Council received far more than office accommodation for the cost of the rent.  In addition to the shared office accommodation on the first floor, the Council has shared access to the ground floor which comprises a larger meeting room and hall for public meetings and is supported by additional kitchen facilities; the external area includes car parking with 24-hour access and on-site storage facilities.  The building has full security cover including out of hours call out and included in the rent is full services to the first-floor accommodation, the cleaning and waste removal and all utilities; The situation of the offices is easily accessible on a main road and bus route and is in walking distance to the Stakeford Depot from which the NCC local services work.  Members were also mindful that this rental provides a regular income to a community organisation which supports the Council’s strategic objectives of providing community facilities, and opportunities for both older and younger persons.

 

RESOLVED:  Members agreed:

  1. To accept the recommendations of the independent rental valuation
  2. To increase the office budget 2024/25 to £15,000 fixed for 4 years.
  3. Authorised the Parish Clerk to sign a fixed period rental agreement with the Trustees of Stakeford and Bomarsund Welfare.

 

On conclusion Cllrs Allsopp, Foster, Huntley and Vaughan returned to the meeting.

 

F027/23         7.         FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE TO THE END OF FINAL QUARTER

The Parish Clerk/RFO presented the budget report to the end of February 2024 and anticipated out-turn for the end of the year.  Members were advised that included in cash received this year were  ringfenced payments against expenditure next year.

£20K grant towards Cleaswell Park and

£10,436 received from Cllr Foster towards interactive signage

 

Members noted that due to the pay award, the final payment to NCC will be 5% over budget.  The allotment costs over budget are related to the clearance of empty allotments and the removal of asbestos from the site.

 

Members received the list of payments made from the repair and replacement earmarked balance.  The Parish Clerk advised that still to pay from this fund is festive lighting of £4576 and installation of litter bins along Riverside Park of £5,000, branding for bus shelters (£1,000), spares for bus shelters (£4,000)

 

RESOLVED:  Members approved the expenditure and noted that the anticipated out-turn will be within budget, with any underspend moving into earmarked balances for Cleaswell Park.

 

There being no further business the meeting closed at 11 am

 

 

 

Signed by the Chairman: …………………………………………….               Date:  …………………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terms of reference

 

Terms of reference

 

Finance Committee

 

  1. Committee:  The Finance Committee is constituted as a committee of the Council.

 

  1. Membership:  All Councillors can be members with a minimum of 5 Councillors and will include the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Council.

 

The quorum shall be 3 members of the Committee.

 

  1. The Chairman (and Vice Chairman) will be elected at the first meeting of the Finance Committee following the Annual Meeting of Choppington Parish Council.

 

  1. The Committee will meet as the workload requires, with a minimum of 3 working days’ notice given unless an extraordinary meeting is required subject to legal requirements.

 

  1. Purpose:   To oversee the Council’s financial affairs in accordance with legislative requirements, regulations and guidelines including:

 

  1. Monitoring of income and expenditure during the financial year and where appropriate recommending actions to the Parish Council.

 

  1. Review of the Council’s accounting practices and systems.

 

  • Preparation of annual budget and precept for recommendation to Parish Council.

 

  1. Review of earmarked balances including repair and replacement programme.

 

  1. Review insurance cover

 

  1. Review financial regulations and make recommendations to Parish Council.

 

  • Receive internal and external audit reports and arrange implementation of recommendations.

 

  • To oversee all legal matters regarding leases, insurance claims, insurance cover, loans, insurance cover, damage to property, debt recovery and make recommendations to Parish Council.

 

  1. Reviews fees and charges

 

  1. Oversees the procurement process

 

  1. To consider matters referred by the Parish Council, and to make recommendations for consideration by the Parish Council.

 

  1. Oversees the work of the Finance Budget working group

 

  1. Minutes: The business of the meeting is recorded as minutes and approved at next meeting.  Due to the cycle of meetings, the minutes are noted at the following Parish Council meeting including recommendations for action.

 

  1. The terms of reference to be reviewed annually by the Committee.

 

 

  1. This Committee has delegated powers to act within these terms of reference.  This means that on all matters not reserved for consideration by another committee, or by the full Council, this committee can make resolutions, and identify actions normally to be taken by the Parish Clerk.

Notwithstanding the powers delegated to this committee, the Council retains the right to exercise such powers when required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 2

Report to Finance Committee 5 June 20024

 

Re Internal Audit Report

 

The Parish meeting of the 29 May 2024 received the year end audit report

 

The auditor expressed the opinion that the accounts present fairly the income and expenditure of Choppington Parish Council for the year ended 31 March 2024.

 

Members noted two comments raised by the internal auditor requiring further consideration by the Parish Council.

  • To request from the Council’s payroll provider a PAYE year-end report and
  • To consider whether the calculation for the repair and replacement fund is adequate for 2024/25.

 

This report addresses the issues:

  1. The P35 report identified by the Auditor no longer exists since real time deductions in 2019. Our payroll provider Northumberland County Council has provided their March 2024 FPS and EPS to the council which identifies the deductions over the year.  This report matches our figures reported in our final accounts.  When discrepancies arise between the payroll deduction and the amount expected by HRMC, the Council receives a letter from HRMC advising of the discrepancy which we forward to the payroll department.

 

  1. The Council’s earmarked balance is reported as £136,353 to cover the repair and replacement of our fixed assets of £764,662. In addition, the Council separately holds insurance to the value of £54,623.

 

  • Each year, as part of the budget process the calculation for the sum required for repair and replacement of identified assets requires a recalculation of the replacement value of each asset, which when combined with estimates for the sum required for required maintenance. Examination of the replacement profile produces the requirement for the annual contribution from the precept.

 

  • Not every asset will necessarily be replaced on exhaustion and some assets will be insured in respect of accidental damage whilst others will be self-insured. When deciding which form of insurance is to be adopted for a particular asset (or category) value-for-money is a significant consideration.

 

  • The profiling that is undertaken annually as part of the budget setting process has provided a fund that has replaced those assets inherited from NCC of bus shelters, play areas and litter bins in the short period of 10 years. The replacement cycle of these assets will not be required for a number of years and the earmarked balance fund will increase over these years to cover the replacement.

 

  • Comparison of budget estimates produced for members in January 2023 against the actual spend for the financial year April 2023 to March 2024 show a variance of 1.1%. This is within acceptable margins.

 

  • Cleaswell Park is a significant asset that may come into the prevue of the Parish Council during 2024-5, it has a high insurance value and will be subject to separate consideration by members during this financial year.

 

  • Our insurance agreement is for a 3-year period ending in 2025. Consequently, the Council will be undertaking a full review of insurance during financial year 2025/26 as part of the Parish Council’s management of risk and this will inform the determination of earmarked balances and precept requirement for 2026/27.

 

Decision Required

Members are requested to consider the internal audit request that Members consider whether the Council’s current mix of insurance and self-insurance provides adequate cover for the Council’s current level of fixed assets