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The locum Town Clerk Karen Forster, is the Responsible Financial Officer, in other words, she is responsible to the Council for controlling expenditure during the course of the financial year, which runs from 1st April to the 31st of March.
The RFO is charged with maintaining the financial records and preparing annual accounts in accordance with the statutory provisions.
When expenditure is considered by the Council, she gives advice about the budget and current financial position of the Council.
Where payment is made other than by direct bank payment, cheques are signed by authorised Councillors following approval at Full Council or one of the Committees. Direct Bank Payments are limited to salary; utilities and similar recurring payments authorised by the Council.
Bank balances are reported monthly and are recorded in the minutes.
Following the end of the financial year, the Annual Management Accounts are prepared and a summary of these is reported to the Annual Town Meeting in April.
Once approved, they are published in the Annual Report, and the July Council Newsletter.
WHO CHECKS THE ACCOUNTS, AND APPROVES THEM?
Once they are prepared, the Council Accounts, by law, must be checked twice for accuracy.
Following completion of the Annual Accounts, financial records and procedures are reviewed by the Independent Auditor in accordance with the Audit Commission requirements, and a report is then made to the Council.
The Council then considers the report, approves the accounts, and a report is made to the External Auditor, BDP Stoy Hayward LLP, who are appointed by the Audit Commission directly. They finalise the approval process by issuing an external auditor's certificate and opinion. The Council has to pay for this service.
The Council derives its funds from the following sources:
Income from properties or lands
Grants and loans, if applicable
Other sources such as bequests etc
The majority of the Council's income arises from the Annual Precept.