Minutes of Choppington Parish Council on Monday 25 May 2022.(draft)

THOSE ATTENDING:

Cllr H Allsopp

Cllr J Foster

Cllr K Grimes

Cllr G Huntley

Cllr A Hart

Cllr A Iley

Cllr J Rowell

Cllr Vaughan (Chair)

Cllr L Watson

IN ATTENDANCE:

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

AGENDA PART 1

 

C012/22         1.         APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 

All members in attendance

 

C013/22         2.         DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY AND OTHER REGISTERABLE INTEREST(s)

 

No declarations were submitted.

 

C014/22         3.         PUBLIC QUESTIONS.

 

The Parish Clerk explained arrangements made for members of the public to submit questions or attend the meeting.  No questions had been received.

 

C015/22         4.         PLANNING MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION.

 

The Parish Clerk advised that the Parish Council is required to submit priorities for the Local Transport Plan and will schedule a meeting of the Planning Committee for next month

 

C016/22        5.         TO RECEIVE AND NOTE THE MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON 11 MAY 2022.

 

The meeting agreed the minutes represented a true record of the meeting.

 

 

C017/22        6.         TO RECEIVE AND ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING ON 13 APRIL 2022.

 

The meeting agreed the minutes represented a true record of the meeting and agreed they should be signed as such by the Chairman and placed in the public domain.

 

C018/22        7.         MATTERS ARISING.

 

There were no matters arising from the minutes.

 

C019/22         8.         TO RECEIVE AND NOTE THE MINUTES OF THE ALLOTMENT COMMITTEE ON 25 APRIL 2022

 

Members received and noted the minutes

 

C020/22         9.         TO RECEIVE AND APPROVE THE ADDITIONS TO THE FIXED  ASSETS REGISTER FOR 2021/22

 

 The Parish Clerk advised that:

  1. A gateway sign had been replaced due to a collision by a car.
  2. Two of the new containers will be replaced and upgraded in the near future

 

RESOLVED: Members received and approved the additions to the assets register

 

 

CO21/22        10        TO RECEIVE THE END OF YEAR REPORT FROM THE INTERNAL AUDITOR.

 

Members received and considered the report from the internal auditor (appendix 2) and the Parish Clerk reported that the internal auditor had also completed the Annual Internal Auditor Report, indicating there were no matters to draw to the attention of the Parish Council.

 

RESOLVED: Members welcomed the report and noted that there were no matters requiring further consideration.

 

C022/22         11.       TO REAPPOINT THE INTERNAL AUDITOR.

 

Parish Clerk advised that Ms G Turner had indicated that 2022/23 would be her final year as our internal auditor.

 

RESOLVED: 

  1. Members reappointed Ms G Turner as their internal auditor
  2. The Parish Clerk was instructed to take steps to identify a replacement auditor with knowledge of the legal and financial environment in which the authority operates.

 

C023/22         12.       TO RECEIVE AND APPROVE THE YEAR END STATEMENTS AND ACCOUNTS FOR PRESENTATION TO THE EXTERNAL AUDIT.

 

  • The Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer reported that as a smaller authority with a gross income exceeding £25,000 the Parish Council must complete part 3 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return at the end of each financial year.

 

  • The Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) comprises 4 sections.
  1. Annual Governance Statement,
  2. Accounting Statements,
  3. Annual Internal Audit Report, and

4    External Auditor Report and Certificate.

The Parish Council completes 1 and 2 at this meeting.  Our internal auditor completes no.3 (see agenda item 10) and the external auditor no.4

 

12.3 The annual governance statement is a public report affirming that the Council is being conducted in accordance with the law, regulations and proper practices and that public money is safeguarded and properly accounted for. The Council responds to statements known as assertions.  Guidance is issued by the Joint Panel on Accountability and Governance (JPAG).  The Parish Clerk asked members to consider each assertion by turn.

 

Assertion 1 – Financial management and preparation of accounting statements

 

‘We have put in place arrangements for effective financial management during the year, and for the preparation of the accounting statements.’

 

Members agreed that the Parish Council has taken all required steps to satisfy the assertion; a RFO has been appointed; financial procedures are in place to record financial transactions; bank reconciliations are completed on a monthly basis and reviewed by members; a budget has been prepared and approved; arrangements are in place to manage investments and earmarked reserves appropriately; and, annual accounts are prepared in an accurate and timely manner.

 

Assertion 2 – Internal Control

 

‘We maintained an adequate system of internal control, including measures designed to prevent and detect fraud and corruption and reviewed its effectiveness.’

 

Members asserted the Parish Council has in place and follows Standing orders and Financial Regulations. These documents identify how the Council operates to safeguard public money, how the Council makes its financial transactions, how it manages risk, how it pays staff, and how fixed assets are maintained and secured.  Members review these procedures and undertake regular internal examination of finances.

 

Assertion 3 – Compliance with laws regulations and proper practices

 

‘We took all reasonable steps to assure ourselves that there are no matters of actual or potential noncompliance with laws, regulations, and proper practices that could have a significant financial effect on the ability of this smaller authority to conduct its business or on its finances.’

 

Members asserted the Council has acted lawfully.  When making decisions members receive advice from the proper officer who confirms legal authority and power to act.

 

Assertion 4 – Exercise of Public Rights

 

‘We provided proper opportunity during the year for the exercise of electors rights in accordance with the requirements of the Accounts and Audit Regulations.’

 

Section 25-27 of Local Government Accountability Act 2014 contain provisions giving interested person rights of inspection of accounts and records.  In making this assertion members noted the Council makes its accounts accessible for 30 working days during which time there is a mandatory full 10-day period from beginning of July (although this has been extended for 2019/20 accounts), and throughout the year by arrangement.

 

The accounting statement is published on the website.

 

Assertion 5 – Risk Management

 

‘We carried out an assessment of the risks facing this smaller authority and took appropriate steps to manage those risks, including the introduction of internal controls and/or external insurance cover where required.’

 

Members asserted the Council has compiled and reviewed the assessment of risk, and maintains a risk register which records the identification of risk e.g. financial loss of money/damage to property, and management of risk e.g. through insurance, added security measures, internal controls (see attached Annual Statement of Risk, agenda item 17).

 

Assertion 6 – Internal Audit

 

‘We maintained throughout the year an adequate and effective system of internal audit of the accounting records and control systems.’

 

In making this assertion members noted the appointment of an internal auditor who undertakes an effective audit.  The Responsible Finance Officer gives the internal auditor access to all documents and records, supplying any all required information and explanations.

 

Assertion 7 – Reports from Auditors

 

‘We took appropriate action on all matters raised in reports from internal and external audit.’

 

Members consider all reports from the internal and external auditors and resolve any actions that might be required.

 

Assertion 8 – significant events

 

‘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 smaller authority and, where appropriate have included them in

the accounting statements.’

 

In setting the budget and when authorising year end statements, the council consider any events occurring during the financial year (or after the year-end), that have consequences, or potential consequences, on the authority’s finances.

 

 

Assertion 9 – Trust Funds

 

Not applicable

 

12.4    Members considered the accounting statement for the year ended 31 March 2021

 

RESOLVED:

  1. Having noted the completion of the annual internal report from the internal Auditor, members considered the annual governance statement and accounts.
  2. Members considered annual governance statement and determined that to the best of their knowledge and belief that they have satisfied their responsibilities in relation to assertions 1 to 8 inclusive.
  3. Members noted that section 9 of the statement was not applicable as the council does not act as the sole managing trustee of any local trust or similar body.
  4. Members received and approved the accounting statement and supporting documentation for the year ended 31 March 2022.
  5. The Chairman of the meeting and the Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer were authorised to sign the statements contained in the Parish Council’s annual return for the financial year ended 31 March 2022.

 

 

Agenda – Part 2.  There were no matters referred from part 1 of the agenda for consideration.

 

 

There being no further business the meeting concluded at 19.10.

Chairman                                                                              Dated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix One

 

Agenda Item 9     25/5/22

 

 

Fixed Asset Register

 

Value of assests @ 31 03 2021533828.27
Additions to Asset Register 2021/22
7424 06 21Computer Acer ASPXc15/8415.83
7509 08 21Gateway signs 1 x replacement
Gateway signs  1 x Sheepwash bridge2015.00
Removed from register-977.50
761 11 21Eastgreen play area39012.84
replaced one previously  gifted at £0
7717 03 22Festive Lighting15376.00
7830 3 22Cleveland containers x 39987.00
7931 3 22Liddells Field play area32635.43
replaced one previously gifted at £0
Value of assests @ 31 03 2022632292.87

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix Two

 

Agenda item 10  25/2/22

 

 

 

Gillian Turner – Local Council Audit Services

 

28th April, 2022

Angela Brindley

Parish Clerk

Choppington Parish Council

 

Dear Angela,

Choppington Parish Council –Internal Audit of 2021/22 & Final Accounts

I have completed the internal audit of the Council’s accounts for the 2021/22 financial year.

My audit consisted of a comprehensive examination of the Parish Council’s income and expenditure and financial statements to the end of March including:

  • 100% check of all payments/invoices made and that VAT was correctly accounted for where appropriate. The cheque book was also examined and verified
  • Risk Assessment – Minute C074 confirming members endorsement verified
  • Budget process inspected and Minutes for the request of Precept received
  • Income receipts and supporting vouchers were verified to the end of March
  • Salaries and Wages are paid through Northumberland County Council Payroll system
  • The Asset Register was inspected noting that it had been updated for those assets purchased/disposed of during 2021/22
  • The Insurance Policy was also examined
  • Bank statements to 31st March, 2022 were examined and reconciled, noting regular monthly reconciliations throughout the year
  • The bank reconciliation of both accounts was agreed as at the 31st March and unpresented cheques and outstanding income verified
  • The journals for year end debtors/creditors, prepayments/accruals were verified
  • The AGAR and supporting statements were reviewed and verified
  • The website was inspected (www.choppingtonparishcouncil.org) to ensure regular posting of minutes and accounts
  • The website also confirmed the previous years AGAR and Public Rights were presented correctly

 

The audit included examination of evidence relevant to the amounts and disclosures in the summary accounts and notes, sufficient to give reasonable assurance that the summary accounts and notes are free from material misstatement.  In my opinion the accounts present fairly the income and expenditure of Choppington Parish Council for the year ended 31st March, 2022.  The Annual Internal Audit Report (page 3) has been duly completed.

Minor queries arising from the audit have been answered to my satisfaction and where, considered necessary, adjustments have been made.  There are no matters to draw to the attention of the members of the Parish Council.

 

My thanks go to Angela and David for their assistance and helpfulness during my audit.

 

Please find attached my invoice for the internal audit and examination of accounts.

Yours sincerely,

Gillian Turner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix Three

Agenda Item 12   25/5/22                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  1. Legal Implications

 

As a smaller authority with a gross income exceeding £25,000 the Parish Council must complete part 3 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return at the end of each financial year.

 

  1. Background

 

The Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) comprises 4 sections.

  1. Annual Governance Statement,
  2. Accounting Statements,
  3. Annual Internal Audit Report, and

4          External Auditor Report and Certificate.

 

The Parish Council completes 1 and 2 at this meeting.  Our internal auditor completes no.3 and the external auditor no.4

 

  1. Annual Governance Statement

 

This is a public report affirming that the Council is being conducted in accordance with the law, regulations and proper practices and that public money is safeguarded and properly accounted for. The Council responds to statements known as assertions.  Guidance is issued by the Joint Panel on Accountability and Governance (JPAG).

 

Assertion 1 – Financial management and preparation of accounting statements

 

‘We have put in place arrangements for effective financial management during

the year, and for the preparation of the accounting statements.’

 

Members need to assure themselves that the Council:  Has appointed an RFO; financial procedures are in place to record financial transactions; bank reconciliations are completed on a monthly basis and reviewed by members; the budget is prepared and approved; arrangements are in place to manage investments appropriately, to manage earmarked reserves, and that annual accounts are prepared in an accurate and timely manner.

 

Assertion 2 – Internal Control

 

‘We maintained an adequate system of internal control, including measures

designed to prevent and detect fraud and corruption and reviewed its

effectiveness.’

 

Members are asserting the Parish Council has in place and follows Standing orders and Financial Regulations. These documents identify how the Council operates to safeguard public money, how the Council makes its financial transactions, how it manages risk, how it pays staff, and how fixed assets are maintained and secured.  Members have the opportunity to review these procedures and undertake your own regular internal examination of finances.

 

Assertion 3 – Compliance with laws regulations and proper practices

 

‘We took all reasonable steps to assure ourselves that there are no matters of

actual or potential noncompliance with laws, regulations, and proper practices

that could have a significant financial effect on the ability of this smaller authority to conduct its business or on its finances.’

 

Members are asserting that the Council has acted lawfully.  When making decisions, Members receive advice from the proper officer under which power the Council is to act.

 

Assertion 4 – Exercise of Public Rights

 

‘We provided proper opportunity during the year for the exercise of electors’

rights in accordance with the requirements of the Accounts and Audit Regulations.’

 

Section 25-27 of Local Government Accountability Act 2014 contain provisions giving interested person rights of inspection of accounts and records.  The Council must make its accounts accessible for 30 working days during which time there is a mandatory full 10-day period from beginning of July.

 

The accounting statement must be published on the website.

 

Our internal auditor also has to assert this on the AIAR (N).

 

Assertion 5 – Risk Management

 

‘We carried out an assessment of the risks facing this authority and took

appropriate steps to manage those risks, including the introduction of internal controls and/or external insurance cover where required.’

 

Members are asserting that the Council has compiled and reviewed the assessment of risk.  The Council has a risk register which records the identification of risk e.g. financial loss of money/damage to property, and management of risk e.g. through insurance, added security measures, internal controls (see attached Annual Statement of Risk, p19  Minutes of meeting Tuesday 20 April 2021).

 

Assertion 6 – Internal Audit

 

‘We maintained throughout the year an adequate and effective system of

internal audit of the accounting records and control systems.’

 

The council needs to have in place an internal auditor who has undertaken an effective audit, allowing access to all documents and records, and supplying any information and explanations required.

 

Assertion 7 – Reports from Auditors

 

‘We took appropriate action on all matters raised in reports from internal and external audit.’

 

Each year Members consider reports from the internal and external auditors and resolve any actions that might be required.

 

Assertion 8 – significant events

 

‘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 smaller authority and, where appropriate have included them in

the accounting statements.’

 

The council needs to have considered if any events that occurred during the financial year (or after the year-end), have consequences, or potential consequences, on the authority’s finances. If any such events are identified, the authority then needs to determine whether the financial circumstances need to be reflected in the statement of accounts.

 

Assertion 9 – Trust Funds

 

Not applicable

                               

  1. Actions required.

 

Members are requested to consider this report and consider each ‘assertion’.

 

 

Agenda item 10  Annual Internal Audit Report 2021/22  pdf attached

Agenda item 12.1 Section 1 Annual Governance Statement 2021/22 pdf attached

Agenda item 12.2 Section 2 Accounting Statements 2021/22 pdf attached

 

Agenda items