Policies and Procedures
A set of policies are principles, rules, and guidelines formulated or adopted by an organization to reach its long-term goals and typically published in a booklet or other form that is widely accessible.
Policies and procedures are designed to influence and determine all major decisions and actions, and all activities take place within the boundaries set by them. Procedures are the specific methods employed to express policies in action in day-to-day operations of the organization. Together, policies and procedures ensure that a point of view held by the governing body of an organization is translated into steps that result in an outcome compatible with that view.
IA 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 collective responsibility for the financial management of the council.
Local councils have been given statutory powers by government including the authority to raise money through taxation (the precept) and a range of powers to spend public money.
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.
Local councils are required to comply with “proper practices”, which have statutory force and are set out in “Governance and Accountability for Smaller Authorities in England”.
Every local council is required to make suitable arrangements for the proper administration of its financial affairs, taking responsibility for ensuring that its financial management is adequate and effective, which makes the financial management and regular financial checks one of the most important tasks for the council and councillors.
Councillors should always ensure that they have an up to date knowledge of the financial position throughout the year, as all councillors generally have the right to question any item of expenditure or FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
payment and the council has to be satisfied with the explanation.
Some larger councils have established a ‘Finance Committee’ which examines and decides on financial matters; however this committee must then report to the full council. Many councils have a finance report as a standing item on the council meeting agenda.
The financial accounting year for a council runs from 1 April to 31 March in line with the government and other public authorities’ financial year. Local councils are not subject to income, corporation or capital gains tax.