Gittisham Parish Council publication scheme

Approved: 3rd March 2021

Information to be published How the information can be obtained Cost

Class 1 – Who we are and what we do

(Organisational information, structures, locations and contacts)

This will be current information only.                     

   
Who’s who on the Council and its Committees (Website / hard copy / email) Free / 10p per page / free

Contact details for Parish Clerk and Council members 

(Website / hard copy / email) Free / 10p per page / free
Location of main Council office and accessibility details (Website / hard copy / email for details of accessibility) Free / 10p per page / free
Staffing structure (Website / hard copy / email) Free / 10p per page / free

Class 2 – What we spend and how we spend it

(Financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, procurement, contracts and financial audit)

Current and previous financial year as a minimum

   

Annual return form and report by auditor

(Website / hard copy / email)

Free / 10p per page / free

Finalised budget

Email

 

Precept

(Website / hard copy / email)

Free / 10p per page / free

Borrowing Approval letter

Not applicable

n/a

Financial Standing Orders and Regulations

Website / hard copy / email

Free / 10p per page / free

Grants given and received

hard copy / email (contact clerk)

10p per page / free

List of current contracts awarded and value of contract

hard copy / email (contact clerk)

10p per page / free

Members’ allowances and expenses

hard copy / email (contact clerk)

10p per page / free

Class 3 – What our priorities are and how we are doing

(Strategies and plans, performance indicators, audits, inspections and reviews)

 Current and previous year as a minimum

 

 

 

Parish Plan (from 2010)

Website / hard copy / email

Free

Annual Report to Parish or Community Meeting (current and previous year as a minimum)

Website / hard copy / email

10p per page / free

Quality status

n/a

n/a

Local charters drawn up in accordance with DCLG guidelines

n/a

n/a

Class 4 – How we make decisions

(Decision making processes and records of decisions)

Current and previous council year as a minimum

 

 

Timetable of meetings (Council and any committee/sub-committee meetings and parish meetings)

Website / hard copy / email

Free / 10p per page / free

Agendas of meetings (as above)

Website / hard copy / email

Free / 10p per page / free

Minutes of meetings (as above) – n.b. this will exclude information that is properly regarded as private to the meeting.

Website / hard copy / email

Free / 10p per page / free

Reports presented to council meetings – n.b. this will exclude information that is properly regarded as private to the meeting.

Website / hard copy / email

10p per page / free

Responses to consultation papers

Hard copy / email (contact clerk)

10p per page / free

Responses to planning applications

Website / hard copy / email

Free / 10p per page / free

Byelaws

n/a

n/a

Class 5 – Our policies and procedures

(Current written protocols, policies and procedures for delivering our services and responsibilities)

Current information only

 

 

Policies and procedures for the conduct of council business:

Procedural standing orders

Committee and sub-committee terms of reference

Delegated authority in respect of officers

Code of Conduct

Policy statements

For all policies and procedures:

Website/hard copy/email

Free / 10p per page / free

Policies and procedures for the provision of services and about the employment of staff:

Internal instructions to staff and policies relating to the delivery of services

Equality and diversity policy

Health and safety policy

Recruitment policies (including current vacancies)

Policies and procedures for handling requests for information

Complaints procedures (including those covering requests for information and operating the publication scheme)

For all policies and procedures:

Website/hard copy/email

Free / 10p per page / free

Information security policy

hard copy/email (contact clerk)

10p per page / free

Records management policies (records retention, destruction and archive)

hard copy/email (contact clerk)

10p per page / free

Data protection policies

hard copy/email (contact clerk)

10p per page / free

Schedule of charges (for the publication of information)

See below

 

Class 6 – Lists and Registers

Currently maintained lists and registers only

 

 

Any publicly available register or list (if any are held this should be publicised; in most circumstances existing access provisions will suffice)

Hard copy (contact clerk)

10p per page

Assets register

Website/hard copy/email

Free / 10p per page / free

Disclosure log (indicating the information that has been provided in response to requests; recommended as good practice, but may not be held by parish councils)

Not applicable (available from Monitoring Officer at the District Council)

POA to EDDC

Register of members’ interests

Website

Free

Register of gifts and hospitality

Original documents maintained by District Council.

POA to EDDC

Class 7 – The services we offer

(Information about the services we offer, including leaflets, guidance and newsletters produced for the public and businesses)

Current information only

 

 

Allotments

n/a

 

Burial grounds and closed churchyards

n/a

 

Community centres and village halls

n/a

 

Parks, playing fields and recreational facilities

Hard copy / email (contact clerk)

10p per page / free

Seating, litter bins, clocks, memorials and lighting

Hard copy / email (contact clerk)

10p per page / free

Bus shelters

Hard copy / email (contact clerk)

10p per page / free

Markets

n/a

 

Public conveniences

n/a

 

Agency agreements

n/a

 

Services for which the council is entitled to recover a fee, together with those fees (e.g. burial fees)

n/a

 

 

 

 

Contact details

The Clerk to Gittisham Parish Council

(or The Chair of Gittisham Parish Council, c/o)

Garlands

Gittisham

Honiton

Devon

EX14 3AJ

Tel: 01404 851442

Email: mailto:gittishamparishcouncil@gmail.com

Website: www.gittisham.org.uk

Information Commissioner

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Information Line: 01625 545745 or 08456 30 60 60

Switchboard: 01625 545745

Website: www.ico.gov.uk

Schedule of Charges

This describes how the charges have been arrived at and should be published as part of the guide.

  • Photocopying @ 10p per sheet (black & white, actual cost incurred by the authority)
  • Photocopying @ 10p per sheet (colour, actual cost incurred by the authority)
  • Postage (actual cost of Royal Mail standard 2nd class)
  • Major enquiries (£15 per hour, in accordance with current legislation Local Government Act 2003, section 93.)

Gittisham Parish Council Fixed Asset Register

To be approved: 2nd June 2021

Purchase date Purchase price £ (ex VAT) Purchased from Details Situated
12.05.2011 4,663 Broxap Bird’s nest swing & double cradle nest swing Play area
12.05.2011 337 Broxap Cow springer Play area
05.12.2012 1,740 Safe & Sound Playgrounds Stand-on seesaw Play area
05.12.2012 755 Safe & Sound Playgrounds Roundabout / spinner Play area
18.07.2018 2,000 Safe & Sound Playgrounds Swings Play area
04.09.2019 1,131 RhinoPlay Rolling log trail item Play area
04.09.2019 8,869 RhinoPlay Castle tower unit & slide Play area
03.07.2019 10 Homebase Nest boxes x 2 Play area
06.10.2019 63.28 Otter Nurseries Bug & bee house kits x 7 Play area
02.10.2017 1,775 Community Heartbeat Trust Defibrillator Telephone box, Gittisham village
07.11.2018 1,920 Community Heartbeat Trust Defibrillator On wall adjoining 1, Honeysuckle Drive, Gittisham Vale
12.06.2019 375.25 VP Recycled Plastic

1 standard picnic table 780 x 440 c 1500 x 1460-

BLACK LEGS/UNDERCARRIAGE –MULTI-COLOURED
Play area
12.06.2019 375.25 VP Recycled Plastic

1 standard picnic table 780 x 440 c 1500 x 1460-

BLACK LEGS/UNDERCARRIAGE –MULTI-COLOURED

Play area
Damaged and replaced by tables above 1 Unknown

1 picnic table

Play area
05.02.2020 706.67 East Devon District Council

Bench with plaque

Behind Rowan Close, Gittisham Vale
12.06.2019 265 VP Recycled Plastic

CAPTAIN’S SEAT – 1671MM – GREEN

Rookery, Gittisham village
Damaged 2019 and replaced by bench above 1 Unknown

1 bench

Rookery, Gittisham village
18.07.2018 183.32 Currys

Canon printer & scanner G3500

At home of clerk to the council
05.02.2021 524.17 Currys

LENOVO – IdeaPad 5 14″ Laptop

At home of clerk to the council
Historic 1 Unknown

1 x Wooden Bus Shelter

Gittisham village
Historic 1 Unknown

1 x Wooden Bus Shelter

Old Elm Road, Gittisham Vale
06.12.2005 288.58 Fast Displays

Wooden noticeboard

Outside Gittisham Village Hall
13.02.2018 504.73 Creative Solutions

Stainless steel noticeboard

On wall adjoining 1, Honeysuckle Drive, Gittisham Vale

Damaged 2018 and replaced by above

01.03.2006

345 Creative Solutions

Stainless steel noticeboard

On wall adjoining 1, Honeysuckle Drive, Gittisham Vale

Historic

1 Unknown

Roller for petanque court

Play area

06.07.2016

283.33 MNR Mowers

Strimmer

At home of parish lengthsman

14.08.2014

1 BT

Telephone box

Gittisham village

Gittisham Parish Council complaints procedure

Approved: 3rd March 2021

1. Gittisham Parish Council is committed to providing a quality service and is keen to hear people’s comments and committed to using the information to improve its services. If you are dissatisfied with the service you have received from this Council we hope that you will let us know and we will seek to respond promptly to your concerns.

2. Gittisham Parish Council meets every month on the first Wednesday of the month. The agenda for the meeting is put up on the noticeboards and on the website three full working days in advance of the meeting. If you have a view about a matter that is before the Council you are invited to contact the Clerk to express your views. Members of the public are invited to attend all Parish Council Meetings and this also provides an opportunity for parishioners to raise questions and concerns. You can also contact Councillors or the Clerk at any time. Contact details are set out on the Parish Council Noticeboard and on the website: www.gittisham.org.uk

3. This complaints procedure sets out how to complain to Gittisham Parish Council about the Council.

4. A Complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction about the standard of service, action or lack of action by Gittisham Parish Council, its elected members or staff which affects an individual or group.

5. Complaints about the Clerk will be dealt with under the Council’s Code of Conduct. If you do not wish to make the initial complaint to the Clerk you can contact the Chair, Cllr Carol Hall Tel: 01404  850793.

6. All Councillors are required to observe a Code of Conduct. This Code can be accessed on the Parish Council website or by contacting the Clerk. If you wish to complain that a councillor has breached the Code of Conduct, you can contact the Monitoring Officer at East Devon District Council for the relevant complaints form or you can download it from their website.

7. A complaint about the standards of service or action or lack of action by Gittisham Parish Council should be made to the Clerk by ‘phone (tel 01404 851442), in writing (Garlands, Gittisham EX14 3AJ) or by email gittishamparishcouncil@gmail.com . A complaints form is attached at Appendix 1

8. A complaint about the Council may be dealt with informally by the Clerk providing information, instigating appropriate action or explaining a decision.

9. If the complainant is unhappy with the response they will be requested to put their complaint in writing and the Clerk is required to acknowledge the complaint within 5 working days explaining how the complaint will be investigated.

10. The Chair will decide how the complaint will be investigated and by whom and will aim to ensure that the investigation will conclude within 10 working days. The investigation may be undertaken by the Clerk on his/her own or in conjunction with named Councillors depending on the subject of the complaint. If it does not prove possible to meet the timescales the Clerk will write to the complainant explaining the reasons for the delay and providing new timescales for action. The investigation will include offering the complainant an opportunity to comment further.

11. At the end of the investigation the Chair will agree a response to the complainant. The complainant will be advised that having received a full response to the complaint they have the right to request within 20 working days that the matter should be referred to the full Council. A decision made by the full Council should be considered final and the complaint will be considered closed. If the complainant does not respond within 20 working days the complaint will be considered closed.

12. If the complaint is referred to the full Council the procedure at Appendix 2 will be followed.

13. All complaints against the Council and the responses to them will be reported to the full meeting of the Council.

14. If the Council considers it is receiving unreasonable or vexatious complaints from a member of the public it will consider taking legal advice before responding to the complainant.

15. If the Council receives anonymous complaints these will be referred to the Clerk and may be acted upon at his/her discretion. The Clerk will report any anonymous complaints to the full meeting of the Council.

Gittisham Parish Council grants & donation policy

Approved: 3rd March 2021

1. Definitions

A grant is awarded for a particular defined purpose.

A donation is awarded for general purposes.

Both are awarded for local Parish activities only.

 

2. Power

The Council occasionally receives requests for grants and donations from a variety of organisations and the aim of the Policy is to encourage and support activities and projects which will benefit the Parish of Gittisham.

Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 places restrictions on Parish Councils when it comes to making grants to other organisations or bodies.

One of those restrictions (paragraph 1of Section 137) requires that such expenditure “…..is in the interests of, and will bring direct benefit to, their area or any part of it or all or some of its inhabitants….”

The normal use to which this power is applied by local Councils is to provide funding to local organisations, e.g. Pre-School Groups, Scout Groups, Senior Citizens Groups etc. but clearly, one of the most important restrictions (as underlined above) is that a grant cannot be made to an individual for their own use, no matter what use and how good a cause that use may be (e.g. sponsorship for studying exchanges).

However, there may indeed be occasions where the grant can be paid to an individual where that individual is carrying out a service which benefits the local population. E.g. A Community First Responder (a NHS trained volunteer) whose role is to be the first on the scene as the result of an emergency call within a designated area (the Parish) to provide immediate life-saving support and who is required to raise funding to contribute towards the cost of the necessary equipment. It is clear that any grant made by the local Council will directly benefit recipients of the service and it is, therefore, our opinion that the grant can legally be given and the cheque made payable to the individual.

Section 137(4)(a) of the Local Government Act 1972 (the 1972 Act) for Parish Councils in England for 2019-20 is £8.12 per electorate.

3. Background

a) Any grants made available for such purposes are funded directly from the Parish Precept.

b) The Parish Council receives no other significant monies from any source (with the exception of grant monies received for particular projects and ring fenced for that purpose).

4. Policy

a) Any grant made by the Parish Council must directly benefit the Parish of Gittisham and its Parishioners. The Parish Council cannot make donations to individuals unless the Community directly benefit. (Thus the Parish Council cannot, for example, make a grant to a disaster appeal unless the disaster in some way affected the Parish or a substantial number of Parishioners.)

b) Grants and Donations cannot be made to fund political activities.

c) All proposed expenditure must be detailed in the Parish Council’s annual budget meeting, to enable calculation of the Council’s precept.

d) The organisation making a grant request should be a non-profit making voluntary organisation where membership is open (i.e. no discrimination of membership on grounds of sex, race, religion etc.)

e) The Parish Council will not fund events or activities which can be funded by the relevant participants or which can or will be self-supporting by means of donations, or grants from other organisations etc.

f) The Parish Council will consider applications for funds in situations:

  • where there is no other way of obtaining the relevant funds;
  • The funds will enable the relevant group or organisation to access or “unlock” funds or assistance from third parties; and
  • Monies have been donated or raised but these are insufficient and funds are needed to bridge the resulting gap.

g) The Parish Council will endeavour to provide assistance and support where appropriate to groups and organisations in the Parish wishing to access grants and other funds from third parties and local authorities.

5. Applications

a) All applications for grants or donations shall be made in writing to the Clerk to the Council who shall arrange for those applications which meet the Council’s criteria to be considered at the next meeting of the Council.

b) The grant available is limited to a maximum of £500 per application.

c) Only one grant will be given to any group or organisation, or for any particular purpose, in any financial year (1st April to 31st March).

d) If the Council considers that there are exceptional circumstances then it can decide to exceed these limits in b and c.

e) Grants cannot be awarded after the relevant event or project has been completed.

f) Applications must complete the Council’s application form.

g) Applicants whose application meets the criteria will be considered at the next meeting and submitted to Full Council for ratification, or directly to Full Council; applications will be notified in due course. Successful applicants shall provide details of to whom payment should be made and acknowledge receipt of the payment.

6. Conditions

a) The Parish Council will assess applications with particular reference to the number of Parishioners likely to benefit, or whether any particular category of Parishioners would receive specific benefit (e.g. children, older people, persons with any form of disability etc.)

b) Where a request for a grant/donation is agreed, the Council shall determine the amount, using the figure stated by the applicant as a guide only.

c) The grant or donations shall be used only for the stated purpose otherwise the monies shall be returned to the Council, except where the Council’s prior written consent has been given for the funds to be used for another purpose.

d) The Council may request that applicants provide written feedback explaining how the grant/donation has benefited their group/organisation. If feedback is required, this will be communicated in the decision letter.

e) The Council reserves the right to request repayment of any grant/donation where an applicant does not comply with these conditions.

7. Notes

a) The Council’s decision on any application is final and there is no right of appeal.

b) The Council reserves the right to decline any application without giving reasons for its decision.

c) The Council will not commit to any continuing expenditure.

d) Nothing in this Policy prevents the Council from providing a grant for donation to a group, organisation or project without application where the Council considers that the giving of such a grant or donation will bring benefits to residents of the Parish.

e) Where a Member of the Council is a member of a group/organisation applying for funding, that Member must declare, in accordance with its Code of Conduct, an interest in the matter and refrain from voting. Advice may be sought from the Monitoring Officer.

Please contact the clerk by email mailto:gittishamparishcouncil@gmail.com if you would like to request a copy of the application form. 

Gittisham Parish Council Risk Management

Approved: 1st July 2020

AreaRisk(s) identifiedRisk Level (H/M/L)Potential Impact (H/M/L)Management / Control of RiskReview / Action required
Assets
2 bus shelters
2 notice boards
Cow springer
Bird’s nest spring
Double cradle swing
Verso roundabout
Navis stand-on seesaw
Castle tower & slide
Roll-on log
2 x Defibrillators
2 x benches
2 x picnic tables
Office equipment
Lengthsman equipment
Protection of physical assetsLMInsurance; defibrillator is lockedAnnual insurance and regular monitoring of property
Security of above assetsWeather, fire and / or vandalismLMMaintenance when necessary
Maintenance of above assetsInadequate maintenance of buildings etcLLContingency funding; Community Heartbeat Trust provides serviceability checks for defibrillator; defib manufacturer supports the service for 7-8 yearsRegular inspection; review when defib manufacturer support expires (Sept 2024)
InsuranceInadequate cover or over-insurance increasing costs unnecessarilyLMAnnual review of insurance with brokers; annual review of asset valuesMaintain existing procedures
Finance
PreceptOverspend of operational budget and/or
inaccurate setting of Precept level realising demand on Reserves.
LMBudget and Precept considered by Council each year.
Sound budgetary control.
Expenditure considered at every meeting
Maintain existing procedures
Bank & bankingBank errors and/or inadequate checks leading to financial irregularities.LMRegular bank reconciliationMaintain existing procedures
Financial controls & recordsInadequate records leading to financial irregularitiesLMInternal audit (and external where applicable) presented to Council; finance considered at every meetingMaintain existing procedures
Computer recordsLoss of data through system error, theft, flooding or fireLHBack-up on completion of all entriesMonthly back-up to finance software kept on ‘cloud’
CashLoss of income or unforeseen major expenditure leading to cash flow problemsLLEnsure adequate reserves; ensure adequate insurance coverMaintain existing procedures
CashLoss through theft or dishonestyLLVery little / no cash heldMaintain insurance
BudgetInadequate budget preparation leading to inability to fulfill obligationsLMFew obligations; income and expenditure considered at every council meetingMaintain oversight
TendersBest value not achievedLLBest practice procedures followedMaintain existing procedures
PaymentsGoods not supplied but invoiced.
Invoices incorrect.
Invoices unpaid.
LMAll invoices recorded and filed on receipt.
Invoices checked for accuracy and for receipt of goods and services.
Two signatories on cheques and initialling of cheque stubs.
List of cheques presented to full Council monthly.
Maintain existing procedures
Cheque booksLoss of cheques; fraudulent useLHCheque books kept in safe place; cheques signed without delayWherever possible, write out cheques before meeting
ReceiptsServices provided by Council but not paid forLLNo services suppliedN/A
GrantsMismanagement of grant aid powersLLFormal applications only considered by full council.
Budgets adhered to.
Maintain existing procedures
SalariesIncorrect payments to staff (rates, NI, tax)LMAll expenditure agreed at each meeting.
Payments audited annually.
Maintain existing procedures
SalariesPayments not made to HMRCLMReal-time payment facility at HMRC ensures records kept.Maintain existing procedures
Election costsInability to meet costsLLProvision made in budget annuallyMaintain existing procedures
VATErrors in calculation; payments not made to HMRCLLComply with HMRC regulations.
Annual returns to be made.
Internal audit.
Maintain existing procedures
Annual ReturnInability to conduct year end on time; not submitted on timeLLBook annual return earlyMaintain existing procedures
Liability
Third partiesRisks to third party, property or individualsLMPublic & Products liability insurance in place (limit of indemnity £6m); Council in 3-year LTA with insurerInsurance cover to be reviewed annually
StaffCompliance with employment lawLMEmployer Liability insurance in place (limit of indemnity £10m)Insurance cover to be reviewed annually
All personnelHealth & safety mattersMMHealth & safety policy in placeMaintain existing procedures
Parish lengthsmanRisks to third party, property or individualsMMCouncil covered by separate public liability insurance if lengthsman found to be negligent; protective clothing to be worn at all times; warning signs to be erected in advance of work; training certificate required for powered equipment; carry mobile phone or advise clerk on location and contact on return; general training on work within the highway; lengthsman is Chapter 8 trainedParish council elects to provide public liability indemnity to provide cover for claims up to a value of £5m.
DefibrillatorRisks to individuals through incorrect useHHTraining provided to users.  Calling 999 and taking instructions from the ambulance service will automatically cover you under their insurances, according to Community Heartbeat TrustLegal advice to be sought where required
LegalConduct of council business is ultra viresMLClerk to verify legal position for any new proposalLegal advice to be sought where required
FloodingRisk of flooding to properties if maintenance work is not carried out effectively or unable to be carried outLLLengthsperson trained by DCCRegular monitoring by councillors in consultation with the lengthsperson
Administration
Councillor proprietyIncomplete register of interestsMLRegular reminder to membersMaintain existing procedures
Councillor proprietyFailure to declare interestsMLRegular reminder to members; declarations of interest presented at each council meetingMaintain existing procedures
Councillor / staff proprietyBreach of confidentialityMLRegular reminder to members / staffMaintain existing procedures
Reports & recordsImproper and untimely reporting of meetings via minutesLLCouncil to meet monthly to receive and approve minutes of meetings
Minutes to be made available on website and on notice boards within 5 working days of a meeting where possible.
Maintain existing procedures

Gittisham Parish Council Anti-Fraud & Corruption Policy

1. Statement of Intent

1.1 In carrying out its functions and responsibilities the Parish Council will promote a culture of honesty, openness and fairness and requires elected members and employees at all levels to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles contained in The Relevant Authorities (General Principles) Order 2001 throughout their term of office and employment with the Parish Council. The principles contained in the Order are detailed in Appendix ‘A’.

Consequently the Parish Council recognises and accepts the need for an Anti- Fraud and Corruption Policy.

The Parish Council will not tolerate fraud and corruption in the administration of its responsibilities and will deal equally with offenders whether from inside or outside the Parish Council.

1.2 Fraud and corruption are defined by the Audit Commission as follows:-

  • Fraud is the intentional distortion of financial statements, accounts or other records by persons internal or external to the authority which is carried out to conceal the misappropriation of assets or otherwise for gain or to mislead or misrepresent
  • Corruption is the offering, giving, soliciting or acceptance of an inducement or reward which may influence the action of any person to act against the interests of an organisation.

In addition, corruption is hereby defined to also include the deliberate failure to disclose an interest in order to obtain a financial or other pecuniary gain for oneself or another.

This policy identifies a series of measures designed to frustrate any attempted fraudulent or corrupt acts and the steps to be taken if such action occurs.

The policy is presented in six areas as follows:-

Section 2 – Culture

Section 3 – Prevention

Section 4 – Deterrence

Section 5 – Detection and Investigation

Section 6 – Awareness and Training

2. Culture

2.1 The Parish Council promotes a culture of honesty, openness and fairness which supports its opposition to fraud and corruption. The prevention and detection of fraud and corruption and the protection of the public purse are the responsibility of everyone. The elected members and employees play an important role in creating and maintaining this culture. All are positively encouraged to raise concerns regarding fraud and corruption in the knowledge that such concerns will wherever possible be treated in confidence.

2.2 The Parish Council will ensure that any allegations received will be taken seriously and investigated in an appropriate manner. Those who defraud the Parish Council or who are corrupt or who instigate financial malpractice will be dealt with firmly. There is however a need to ensure that any investigation process is not misused and, therefore, any abuse may, where appropriate, be dealt with as a disciplinary matter.

2.3 Where fraud and corruption has occurred due to a breakdown in systems or procedures, arrangements will be made to ensure that the appropriate improvements in systems of control are implemented to prevent a re- occurrence.

3. Prevention

3.1 Role of Elected Members

As elected representatives all Members of the Council have a duty on behalf of their electorate to protect the Council from all forms of fraud and corruption. This is reflected through the adoption of this Policy and compliance with the Code of Conduct for elected Members, the Councils Standing Orders and Financial Regulations and other relevant legislation.

When they take office elected Members are required to sign to the effect that they have read and understood the Code of Conduct. The Code requires elected Members, inter alia, to declare and register interests and to register receipt of gifts and hospitality. In addition elected members are given the opportunity to attend periodic update sessions on matters of conduct and standards provided by the District Council’s Monitoring Officer.

3.2 Role of Managers and Employees

3.2.1. Managers

Managers are responsible for the communication and implementation of this Policy in their respective work areas. They are also responsible for ensuring that their employees are aware of the Council’s Financial Regulations and Standing Orders and that the relevant requirements of each are being met in the day to day conduct of Council business.

Managers are expected to strive to create an environment in which employees feel able to approach them with any concerns they may have regarding suspected irregularities. All such concerns must be communicated by managers to the Parish Clerk.

Special arrangements will apply where employees are responsible for cash handling or are responsible for financial systems and systems that generate payments. Checks are carried out on a regular basis to ensure that proper procedures are being followed.

The Council recognises that a key preventative measure in dealing with fraud and corruption is ensuring that effective steps are taken at the recruitment stage to establish, as far as possible, the honesty and integrity of potential employees whether for permanent, temporary or casual posts. The Council has a recruitment procedure which contains appropriate safeguards on matters such as written references and verification of qualifications held. In addition where appropriate the relevant Criminal Records Bureau checks will be undertaken for employees who will be required to work with children or vulnerable people.

3.2.2. Employees

The work of employees is governed by the Council’s Standing Orders and Financial Regulations and other relevant policies i.e. Health and Safety etc.

In addition to the above employees are responsible for ensuring that they follow the instructions given to them by their manager particularly with regard to the safekeeping of the Council’s assets. Employees are expected to be aware of the possibility that fraud, corruption and theft may occur in the workplace and consequently must feel able to share their concerns with management. Concerns must be raised in the first instance directly with their immediate or if necessary through use of the Council’s Whistleblowing policy.

3.3 Conflicts of Interest

Elected Members and employees must ensure that they avoid situations where there is a potential for a conflict of interest. Effective role separation will ensure that decisions made are seen to be based on impartial advice and therefore avoid questions regarding improper disclosure of confidential information. The Council will produce a Protocol on Member/Officers Relations which provides advice on this and related issues.

3.4 Role of Internal Audit

The Parish Clerk is responsible for ensuring that there is an adequate and effective system of internal audit of the Council’s accounting, financial and other systems in accordance with the provisions of the relevant Accounts and Audit Regulations. Internal audit plays a significant preventative role in ensuring that the relevant systems deter fraud and corruption and will work with management to identify the procedural changes necessary to prevent the Council from exposure to losses. Internal audit will also investigate cases of suspected irregularity or fraud.

3.5 Role of External Audit

The external auditor has a responsibility to review the Council’s arrangements for preventing and detecting fraud and irregularities and arrangements designed to limit the opportunity for corrupt practices. This responsibility is satisfied by undertaking a number of specific reviews and tests of the adequacy of the relevant financial systems and other arrangements for the prevention and detection of fraud. The outcome of these reviews and tests are reported each year in the Annual audit letter which is presented to elected Members by the external auditor.

4. Deterrence

4.1 Fraud, corruption and theft are considered to be serious offences against the Council and employees will face a disciplinary investigation if there is an allegation that they have been involved in any of these activities. Where necessary, disciplinary action will be taken in addition to, or instead of, criminal proceedings depending on the circumstances of each individual case in a consistent manner.

4.2 Similarly any elected Member will face appropriate action under this policy if it is shown that they have been involved in fraud, corruption or theft against the Council or have otherwise acted illegally.

4.3 The Council will not seek to cover up cases of fraud and corruption but conversely will try to ensure that the results of any action taken, including prosecutions, are notified to the media.

4.4 In all proven cases where financial loss has occurred and it is in the public’s interest to do so the Council will seek to recover such loss and will give consideration to publicising the fact.

4.5 All anti-fraud and corruption activities, including the adoption of this policy, will be publicised to make employees and the public aware of the Council’s commitment to taking appropriate action on fraud and corruption when it occurs.

5. Detection and Investigation

5.1 Systems of internal control have been established together with Financial Regulations and Standing Orders to deter fraud and corruption. These are complemented by the work undertaken by Internal Audit in the review of systems and financial controls.

5.2 In addition it is often the vigilance of employees and members of the public that aids detection. Employees are to be encouraged to raise their concerns without the fear of recrimination and the Council’s Whistleblowing procedure has been designed specifically to address this matter.

5.3 Frauds are, in some cases, discovered by chance or ‘tip-off’ and arrangements are in place to enable such information to be properly dealt with.

5.4 All suspected irregularities should be reported directly, or via an intermediary, to the Parish Clerk. This is essential to ensure the consistent treatment of information regarding fraud and corruption and will facilitate a proper and thorough investigation.

5.5 Investigations will normally be conducted by the Council’s internal audit and reported to the Parish Clerk who will determine whether or not referral to the Police is appropriate. The outcome of all investigations where loss has been suffered will be reported to the Council’s external auditor.

5.6 Following the completion of an investigation, the circumstances will be assessed to determine the need for procedural and system changes to ensure that future risks are eliminated.

5.7 Where necessary, following the investigation, the Council’s disciplinary procedures will be applied to any employee found to be guilty of improper behaviour.

6. Awareness and Training

6.3 The Council recognises that the sustained success of this policy and its general credibility will depend upon the effectiveness of its training programmes and awareness on the part of elected members and employees throughout the organisation.

6.4 Employees will be made aware of their responsibilities and the procedures to be followed for the safekeeping of Council’s assets and will be advised that failure to adhere to the specified procedures may lead to disciplinary action being taken.

7. Conclusion

The Council has in place a network of systems and procedures to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud and corruption. The Council is determined to ensure that these arrangements will keep pace with future developments in prevention and detection techniques regarding fraudulent or corrupt activity that may affect its operations.

The Parish Clerk has day to day responsibility for the successful operation of the relevant systems supported by internal and external audit and will ensure that this policy is reviewed annually in order to be satisfied that the Council’s exposure to potential fraud and corruption is minimised.

Gittisham Parish Council Statement of Internal Control

Approved: 1st July 2020

Introduction

Gittisham Parish Council (the Council) is a local authority funded largely by public money and is responsible for ensuring its financial business is conducted in accordance with the law and proper standards, and that public money is safeguarded, properly accounted for, and used economically, efficiently and effectively.

In discharging this overall responsibility the Council is also responsible for ensuring that there is a sound system of internal control which facilitates the effective exercise of the Council’s functions and which includes arrangements for the management of risk. 

The Council is required to review at least annually the effectiveness of its system of financial control.  This is informed by the work of the internal auditor and the whole Council, who have responsibility for the development and maintenance of the internal audit environment, and also any comments made by the external auditors in their annual report. 

The Purpose of the System of Internal Control

The Council’s system of internal control is designed to manage risk to a reasonable level rather than to eliminate all risk of failure.  It cannot provide an absolute assurance of effectiveness. The system of internal control is based on an ongoing process designed to identify and prioritise the risks to policies, aims and objectives, to evaluate the likelihood of those risks being realised, and the impact should they be realised, and to manage them effectively and economically.

The system of internal control accords with the practices set out in the Governance and Accountability in Local Councils: A Practitioners’ Guide (2010 edition).

The Internal Control Environment

The Council has adopted Financial Regulations which set parameters for the Council’s financial operations.   The Council has appointed a Responsible Finance Officer who implements financial systems and controls.

The Council uses Excel to monitor performance against budget.  Payroll services are provided by HMRC.  Banking services are provided by Nat West.  An independent internal audit service is provided by an experienced appointed auditor. 

Any issues raised by the Internal Auditor are reported in writing to the Council and agreed actions are monitored to ensure that they have been carried out and actioned within agreed timescales.  Additionally, the Council seeks and receives appropriate property, legal, insurance, and health & safety advice as appropriate to manage risk.

The Council is responsible for:

  • Establishing and monitoring the achievements of the authority’s objectives
  • The facilitation of policy and decision making
  • Ensuring compliance with established policies, procedures, laws and regulations
  • Identification and management of risk
  • Ensuring that best value and value for money are achieved in all purchases
  • Ensuring all committees receive regular and up to date reports on financial activities under their direction
  • Ensuring performance is regularly monitored against financial and operational budgets
  • Control and reports on the financial management of the Council

Review of Effectiveness

The Council through the Responsible Finance Officer has responsibility for conducting a review of the effectiveness of the system of internal control and the internal audit process.

The review of the effectiveness of the system of internal control is monitored by:

  • The work of officers within the Council reporting to the Responsible Finance Officer.
  • The Parish Clerk is the Council’s Responsible Finance Officer who acts as the Council’s legal advisor and administrator.  The Clerk is responsible for administering the Council’s finances, for advising on compliance with laws and regulations which the Council is subject to, and for managing risks.  The Clerk also provides advice to help the Council ensure that its procedures, control systems and policies are adhered to. 
  • The work of the Internal Auditor.  The Internal Auditor, an independent person specialising in local council matters, reports to the Council on the adequacy of its records, procedures, systems, internal control and risk management. 
  • The External Auditors in their annual report.

Any concerns about the effectiveness of the system of internal control are investigated and action taken as appropriate.

Gittisham Parish Council Financial Regulations

Approved 1st July 2020

1. General

1.1 These Financial Regulations shall govern the conduct of the financial transactions of the council and may only be amended or varied by resolution of the council.

1.2 The Responsible Financial Officer (herein after referred to as the RFO) shall be responsible for the proper administration of the council’s affairs.

1.3 The RFO shall be responsible for the production of financial management information.

2. Annual Estimates

2.1 Detailed estimates of income and expenditure on revenue services and receipts and payments on capital account, shall be prepared each year by the RFO.

2.2 The RFO shall review the estimates and submit them to the council not later than the end of January in each year and shall recommend the precept to be levied for the ensuing financial year.  The RFO shall supply each member with a copy of the approved estimates.

2.3 The annual capital and revenue budgets shall form the basis of the financial control for the ensuing year.

3.          Budgetary Control

3.1 No expenditure may be incurred which cannot be met from the amount provided in the appropriate revenue budget unless a virement has been approved by the council.

3.2 The RFO shall periodically provide the council with a statement of income and expenditure to date under each head of the approved annual revenue and capital budgets.

3.3 The Clerk may incur expenditure on behalf of the council which is necessary to carry out any repair, replacement or other work which is of such extreme urgency that it must be done at once, whether or not there is any budgetary provision for the expenditure, subject to a limit of £500.  The Clerk shall report the action to the appropriate committee as soon as is practicable thereafter.

3.4 Where expenditure is incurred in accordance with regulation 3.3 above and the sum required cannot be met from savings made elsewhere within the approved budget, it shall be subject to the provisions of a supplementary estimate approved by the council.

3.5 Unspent provision in the revenue budget shall not be carried forward to a subsequent year.

3.6 No expenditure shall be incurred in relation to any capital project and no contract entered in to or tender accepted involving expenditure on capital account unless the committee concerned are satisfied that it is contained in the rolling capital programme and that the necessary capital funds are available, or the requisite borrowing approval can be obtained.

3.7 All capital works shall be administered in accordance with the council’s Standing Orders and final regulations relating to contracts.

4. Accounting and Auditing

4.1 All accounting procedures and final records of the council shall be determined by the RFO as required by the Accounts and Audit Regulations 1996.

4.2 The RFO shall be responsible for completing the annual accounts of the council as soon as practicable after the end of the financial year and shall submit then to and report thereon to the council.

4.3 The following principles shall be observed in connection with the accounting duties:

  1. The duty of providing information, calculating, checking and recording sums due to, or from, the council, should be separated as completely as possible from the duty of collecting or dispersing them.
  2. Officers charged with the duty of examining and checking the accounts of cash transactions should not be engaged in any of those transactions.

4.4 The RFO shall be responsible for maintaining an adequate and effective system of internal audit of the council’s accounting, financial and other operations in accordance with regulation 5 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations Act 1996.  Any officer or member of the council shall, if the RFO requires, make available such documents of the council which relate to their accounting and other records as appear to the RFO to be necessary for the purpose of the audit and shall supply the RFO with such information and explanation as the RFO considers necessary for that purpose.

5. Banking Arrangements and Cheques

5.1 The council’s banking arrangements shall be made by the RFO and approved by the Parish Council, one current account and one savings account shall be maintained at the Bank.

5.2 A schedule of the payment of money shall be prepared by the RFO and together with the relevant invoices presented to the Chair.  If the schedule is in order it shall be authorised by a resolution and signed by the Chair or Vice Chair.

5.3 Cheques drawn on the two bank accounts in accordance with the schedule referred to in the previous paragraph shall be signed by two members of the council (one often being the Chair).

6. Payment of Accounts

6.1 Apart from petty cash payments, all payments shall be effected by cheque or other order (e.g. direct debit, standing order) drawn on the council’s bankers.

6.2 All invoices for payment shall be examined, verified and certified by the Clerk.  Before certifying the payment the council shall satisfy themselves that the work, goods or services to which the invoice relates have been received, carried out, examined and approved.

6.3 All duly examined invoices will then be entered on the schedule referred to in 5.2 above.

6.4 The RFO may provide petty cash to officers for the purpose of defraying operational and other expenses.  Vouchers for payment made shall be forwarded to the RFO with a claim for reimbursement.

  1. Any personal money the RFO uses for defraying operational and other expenses shall be reimbursed in full.  Vouchers for payment made from petty cash shall be kept to substantiate the payment.
  2. Income received must not be paid into the petty cash float but must be shown separately on the schedule of payments.

7. Payment of Salaries and Wages

7.1 The payment of all salaries and wages shall be made by the RFO from the current account in accordance with the payroll records.

7.2 The salaries and wages shall be revised yearly and minuted thereon.

8. Loans and Investments

8.1 It is not the policy of this council at present to enter into any loans or investments.

9. Income

9.1 The collection of all sums due to the council shall be the responsibility of and under the supervision of the RFO.

9.2 Particulars of all charges to be made for work done, services rendered or goods supplied shall be notified to the RFO and the RFO shall be ultimately responsible for the collection of all accounts due to the council.

9.3 The council will review all fees and charges annually, following a report from the Clerk.

9.4 Any bad debts shall be reported to the council.

9.5 All sums received on behalf of the council shall be paid to the RFO for banking and be deposited with the council’s bankers with such frequency as the RFO considers necessary.

9.6 A reference to the related debt, or otherwise, indicating the origin of each cheque shall be entered on the paying in slip.

10. Orders for Work, Goods, and Services

10.1 An official order or letter shall be issued for all work, goods and services unless a formal contract is to be prepared or an official order would be inappropriate e.g. petty cash purchases.  Copies of orders issued shall be maintained.

10.2 Order books shall be controlled by the RFO

10.3 All officers are responsible for obtaining value for money at all times.  An officer issuing an official order is to ensure as far as reasonable and practicable that the best available terms are obtained in respect of each transaction.

11. Contracts

11.1 Procedures for contracts are laid down in the council’s Standing Orders as follows:

a) Every contract whether made by the council or by a committee to which the power of making contracts has been delegated shall comply with these Standing Orders and no exception from any of the following provisions of these Standing Orders shall be made otherwise than by direction of the council or in an emergency by such a committee as aforesaid provided that these Standing Orders shall not apply to contracts which relate to items (i) to (v) below.

i) for the supply of gas, electricity, water, sewerage and telephone services

ii) for specialist services such as are provided by solicitors, accountants, surveyors and planning consultants

iii) for work to be executed or goods or material to be supplied which constitute an extension of an existing contract by the council

iv) for goods or materials proposed to be purchased which are proprietary articles and/or which are sold only at a fixed price

b)         Where it is intended to enter into a contract:

i) exceeding £5000 in value for the supply of goods or materials or for the execution of works or specialist services other than such goods, materials, works or specialist services as are excepted as set out in paragraph (a) the Clerk shall invite tenders from at least three firms.

ii) for expenditures of £5000 or less in value the Chair of the council or his appointed Vice Chair together with 2 councillors shall have executive power

12. Properties and Estates

12.1 The Clerk shall make appropriate arrangements for the custody of all title Deeds of properties owned by the council.  The RFO shall ensure an record is maintained of all properties owned by the council, recording the location, extent, plan, reference, purchase details, nature of the interest, tenancies granted, rents payable and purpose for which held in accordance with Regulation 4(3)(b) of the Accounts and Audit Regulations Act 1996.

12.2 No property shall be sold, leased or otherwise disposed of without the Authority of the Council, save where the estimated value of any one item does not exceed £500.

13. Insurance

13.1 The RFO shall effect all insurances and negotiate all claims on the council’s insurers in consultation with the Clerk/Chair.

13.2 The Clerk shall give prompt notification of all new risks, properties or vehicles which require to be insured and of any alterations affecting existing insurance.

13.3 The RFO shall keep a record of all insurances effected by the council and the property and risks covered thereby and annually review it.

13.4 The RFO shall be notified of any loss, liability or damage or of any event likely to lead to a claim.

13.5 All appropriate employees of the council shall be included in a suitable fidelity guarantee insurance.

Gittisham Parish Council Code of Conduct

Approved: 3rd March 2021

Part 1 General Provisions

Public Duty and Private Interests: An introduction

1          This Code applies to you as a Member or a Co-opted Member of Gittisham Parish Council (from this point known as the Council).

1.2       You should have regard to the Principles of Public Life namely, Selflessness, Honesty/Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Personal judgment, Respect for others, Duty to uphold the law, Stewardship and Leadership.

1.3       When acting in your capacity as a Member or Co-opted Member of the Council –

(a)  you must act solely in the public interest and should never improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person or act to gain financial or other material benefits for yourself, your family, a friend or close associate;

(b)  you must not place yourself under a financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence you in the performance of your official duties;

(c)  when carrying out your public duties you must make all choices, such as making public appointments, awarding contracts or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits, on merit;

(d)  you are accountable for your decisions to the public and you must co-operate fully with whatever scrutiny is appropriate to your office;

(e)  you must be as open as possible about your decisions and actions and the decisions and actions of the Council and should be prepared to give reasons for those decisions and actions in accordance with any statutory requirements and any reasonable additional requirements imposed by the Council or contained in its Constitution,

(f)  you must declare any private interests, whether disclosable or personal, , that relate to your public duties and must take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest, including registering and declaring interests in a manner conforming with the procedures set out at Part 2 of this Code;

(g)  you must, when using or authorising the use by others of the resources of the Council, ensure that such resources are not used improperly for political purposes (including party political purposes) and that any use is in accordance with the Council’s  reasonable requirements;

(h)  you must have regard to any applicable Local Authority Code of Publicity made under the Local Government Act 1986 or any similar Communications Protocol or Code produced by the Council;

(i)  you must promote and support high standards of conduct when serving in your public post, in particular as characterised by the above requirements, by leadership and example.

1.4       Whilst you may be strongly influenced by the views of others, it is your responsibility alone to decide what view to take on any question which Members have to decide.

1.5       Do nothing as a Member which you could not justify to the public.

1.6       The reputation of the Council depends on your conduct and what the public believes about your conduct.

1.7       It is not enough to avoid actual impropriety, you should at all times avoid any occasion for suspicion or appearance of improper conduct.

1.8       It is your responsibility to comply with the provisions of this Code.

Definitions

2.         In this Code –

“interest or interests” have the meanings set out in Part 2 of this Code

“meeting” means any meeting of –

  • the Council;
  • any of the Council’s Committees, Sub-Committees, Working Groups or Project Groups
  • one or more Members, formal or informal and with or without officers, relating to the discharge of the Council’s functions where a formal record is made by a Council officer

 “member” includes a co-opted member

            “Relevant person” means:

  • you or
  •  your spouse or civil partner; or
  • a person with whom you are living as husband and wife or as if they were civil partners and you are aware that that other person has an interest

“relevant period” means a period of 12 months ending with the date on which you notified the Clerk of an interest.

Scope

3. You must comply with this Code whenever you are acting in your official capacity, when:

            (a)  you are engaged on the business of the Council; or

            (b)  you behave so as to give a reasonable person the impression that you are acting as a representative of the Council.

General obligations

4.         You  must

(a)  treat others with courtesy and respect,

(b)  when reaching decisions on any matter, do so on the merits of the circumstances and in the public interest and have reasonable regard to any relevant advice provided to you by an officer of the Council.

(c)  Before making any written allegation to the East Devon Monitoring Officer about the conduct of another Member of this Council or a member of the District or one of the parish councils within East Devon you shall first consult with East Devon District Council’s Monitoring Officer

5. You must not

(a)  attempt to use your position as a Member improperly to confer on or secure for yourself or any other person, an advantage or disadvantage;

(b)  do anything which may cause the Council to breach a statutory duty or any of the equality enactments (as defined in section 33 of the Equality Act 2010);

(c)  bully any person (bullying may be characterised as any single act or pattern of offensive, intimidating, malicious, insulting or humiliating behaviour; an abuse or misuse of power or authority which attempts to undermine or coerce or has the effect of undermining or coercing an individual or group of individuals by gradually eroding  their confidence or capability which may cause them to suffer stress or fear);

(d)  intimidate or attempt to intimidate any person who is or is likely to be –

(i) a complainant,

(ii) a witness, or

(iii) involved in the administration of any investigation or proceedings,

in relation to an allegation that any  Member has failed to comply  with the Council’s Code of Conduct; or

(e)  do anything which compromises or is likely to compromise the impartiality of those who work for, or on behalf of, the Council;

(f)  disclose information given to you in confidence by anyone, or information acquired by you which you believe, or ought reasonably to be aware, is of a confidential nature, except where –

       (i)  you have the consent of a person authorised to give it;

       (ii)  you are required by law to do so;

       (iii) the disclosure is made to a third party for the purpose of obtaining professional advice provided that the third party agrees not to disclose the information to any other person; or

(iv) the disclosure is –

     (A) in the public interest; and

(B) made in good faith and

(C) in compliance with the reasonable requirements of the Council;

(g)  prevent another person from gaining access to information to which that person is entitled by law;

(h)  conduct yourself in a manner or behave in such a  way so as to give a reasonable person the impression that you have brought your office or the Council into disrepute.

Part 2 Interests

6. Registration of Interests

You must, within 28 days of—

  •  this Code being adopted by, or applied to, the Council; or
  •  your taking office as a Member or Co-opted Member of the Council,

          whichever is the later, and annually thereafter, provide  written notification to the Clerk of:

(i) any disclosable pecuniary interest as defined by Regulations made by the Secretary of State , where the pecuniary interest is yours, your spouse’s or civil partner’s, or is the pecuniary interest of somebody with whom you are living with as a husband or wife or as if you were civil partners); and

(ii) any other personal; interest laid down by the Council, as set out at paragraph 7 below  

which will be recorded in the Council’s  Register of Members’ Interests  and made available for public  inspection including on the Council’s website at www.gittisham.org.uk or at www.eastdevon.gov.uk

6.1    Within 28 days of becoming aware of any new interest or change to any interest already registered, you must register details of that new interest or change by providing written notification to the Clerk.

6.2    Whether or not an interest within paragraphs 7.1 to 7.6 below has been entered onto the Council’s register,  you must disclose  any interest to any meeting at which you are present in any matter being considered in line with para 8 below,  where the matter is not a ‘sensitive interest’

6.3    Following any disclosure of an interest not on the Council’s register or the subject of pending notification, you must notify the Clerk of the interest within 28 days beginning with the date of disclosure.

6.4    In relation to disclosable pecuniary interests, in this Part of the Code the expressions in the left hand column below have the meanings attributed to them in the right hand column:

“body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest”means a firm in which the relevant person is a partner or a body corporate of which the relevant person is a director or in the securities of which the relevant person has a beneficial interest
“director”includes a member of the committee of management of an industrial and provident society
“land”excludes an easement, servitude, interest, or right over land which does not carry with it a right for the relevant person (alone or jointly with another) to occupy the land or to receive income
“ member”Includes a co-opted member
“relevant authority”means the council of which you are a member
“relevant person”means you, your spouse or civil partner, a person with whom you are living with as husband and wife or a person with whom you are living with as if you are civil partners
“securities”means shares, debentures, debenture stock, loan stock, bonds, units of a collective investment scheme within the meaning of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and other securities of any description, other than money deposited with a building society

7. The interests you must register are:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

7.1    those disclosable pecuniary interests defined by The Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/ 1464) as set out below, namely:

(a)  any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain by you or a relevant person;

(b)  any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the Council) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred in carrying out duties as a Member, or towards your election expenses, including any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992;

  •   any contract which is made between you, or so far as you are aware a relevant person (as defined at Para 2 above) (or a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest) and the Council:

(1)    under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and

(2)    which has not been fully discharged

  •  any beneficial interest in land held by you or so far as you are aware a relevant person which is within the administrative area of the  Council;
  •  any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the administrative area of the Council for a month or longer

(f)  any tenancy where (to your knowledge):

(1)  the landlord is Gittisham Parish Council; and

(2) the tenant is a body in which you or so far as you are aware a relevant person has a beneficial interest.

(g)  any beneficial interest that you, or so far as you are aware a relevant person has in securities of a body where:

(1)  that body (to your knowledge) has a place of business or land in the administrative area of the Council and

(2)  either:

(A) the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or

(B)  if the share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

Personal interests

7.2    Those other personal interests laid down by the Council, namely your membership of any body to which you have been appointed by the Council or exercising functions of a public nature, directed to charitable purposes or whose principal purposes include influence of public opinion or policy, including your membership of any other local Authority, any political party or trade union

7.3    Any land where the landlord is Gittisham Parish Council and the member is, or a firm in which the member is a partner or a company of which the member is a remunerated director is the tenant

7.4   Any easement, servitude, interest or right in or over land which does not carry with it a right for you (alone or jointly with another) to occupy the land or to receive income.

7.5    Any gifts or hospitality worth more than an estimated value of £25 which you have received by virtue of your office

7.6    In addition to those interests listed at 7.1 to 7.5 above which you are required to register, you may wish also to declare membership of any body which, in your view, might create a conflict of interest in carrying out your duties as a Councillor, such as membership of the Freemasons or any similar body. 

7.7    Where the Council’s Clerk agrees that any information relating to your interests is “sensitive information” namely information whose availability for inspection by the public is likely to create a serious risk that any person may be subjected to violence or intimidation, you need not include that information when registering that interest, or, as the case may be, any change to that interest.

7.8    You must, within 28 days of becoming aware of any change of circumstances which means that information excluded is no longer sensitive information, notify the Council’s Clerk asking that the information be included in the Council’s Register of Members’ Interests.

Declaration of Interests and participation at meetings

8. 1   Unless a dispensation has been granted, you may not participate in any discussion of, vote on, or discharge any function related to any matter in which you have a disclosable pecuniary interest as defined by Regulations referred to at para 6(b)(i) and you must also observe the restrictions the Council may also place on your involvement in matters where you have a personal interest as defined by the Council and shown at paras 7.2 to 7.7 above.

8.2    You also have a personal interest in any business of your Council where a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would regard the interest as greater than would affect the majority of residents or inhabitants in the affected area such that it is likely to prejudice your judgment of the public interest

8.3    Where you have any interest in any business of the Council and you attend any meeting at which that business is to be considered, you must:

(a) disclose to that meeting the existence and nature of that interest but where your interest is sensitive you are not required to disclose the interest but merely the fact there is an interest in the matter concerned.

(b)  disclose any interest in accordance with the Council’s reasonable requirements, no later than the commencement of the consideration of the business in which you have that interest, or (if later) the time at which the interest becomes apparent to you;

(c )  where you have a disclosable pecuniary interest, withdraw from the room or chamber where a meeting considering the business is being held at the commencement of the consideration of that business in which you have that interest, or (if later) the time at which the interest becomes apparent to you unless you have obtained a dispensation from the Council’s Clerk;

(d)  not seek to influence improperly any decision about that business.

Gittisham Parish Council standing orders 2021

Adopted 5th May 2021

National Association of Local Councils (NALC)
109 Great Russell Street
London
WC1B 3LD

020 7637 1865 | nalc@nalc.gov.uk | www.nalc.gov.uk

© NALC 2018. All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used for commercial purposes without the written permission of NALC save that councils in membership of NALC have permission to edit and use  the model standing orders in this publication for their governance purposes.

Permission is given to use NALC’s logo in the presented format only.

Contents

    INTRODUCTION

    HOW TO USE STANDING ORDERS

    Standing orders are the written rules of a local council. Standing orders are essential to regulate the proceedings of a meeting. A council may also use standing orders to confirm or refer to various internal organisational and administrative arrangements. The standing orders of a council are not the same as the policies of a council but standing orders may refer to them.

    Local councils operate within a wide statutory framework. NALC standing orders incorporate and reference many statutory requirements to which councils are subject. It is not possible for the standing orders to contain or reference all the statutory or legal requirements which apply to local councils. For example, it is not practical for standing orders to document all obligations under data protection legislation. The statutory requirements to which a council is subject apply whether or not they are incorporated in a council’s standing orders.

    The standing orders do not include financial regulations. Financial regulations are standing orders to regulate and control the financial affairs and accounting procedures of a local council. The financial regulations, as opposed to the standing orders of a council, include most of the requirements relevant to the council’s Responsible Financial Officer. Model financial regulations are available to councils in membership of NALC.

    DRAFTING NOTES

    Standing orders that are in bold type contain legal and statutory requirements. It is recommended that councils adopt them without changing them or their meaning. Standing orders not in bold are designed to help councils operate effectively but they do not contain statutory requirements so they may be adopted as drafted or amended to suit a council’s needs. It is NALC’s view that all model standing orders will generally be suitable for councils.

    For convenience, the word “councillor” is used in standing orders and, unless the context suggests otherwise, includes a non-councillor with or without voting rights.

    1. RULES OF DEBATE AT MEETINGS

    1. Motions on the agenda shall be considered in the order that they appear unless the order is changed at the discretion of the Chair of the meeting.
    2. A motion (including an amendment) shall not be progressed unless it has been moved and seconded.
    3. A motion on the agenda that is not moved by its proposer may be treated by the Chair of the meeting as withdrawn.
    4. If a motion (including an amendment) has been seconded, it may be withdrawn by the proposer only with the consent of the seconder and the meeting.
    5. An amendment is a proposal to remove or add words to a motion. It shall not negate the motion.
    6. If an amendment to the original motion is carried, the original motion (as amended) becomes the substantive motion upon which further amendment(s) may be moved.
    7. An amendment shall not be considered unless early verbal notice of it is given at the meeting and, if requested by the Chair of the meeting, is expressed in writing to the Chair.
    8. A councillor may move an amendment to his / her own motion if agreed by the meeting. If a motion has already been seconded, the amendment shall be with the consent of the seconder and the meeting.
    9. If there is more than one amendment to an original or substantive motion, the amendments shall be moved in the order directed by the Chair of the meeting.
    10. Subject to standing order 1(k), only one amendment shall be moved and debated at a time, the order of which shall be directed by the Chair of the meeting.
    11. One or more amendments may be discussed together if the Chair of the meeting considers this expedient but each amendment shall be voted upon separately.
    12. A councillor may not move more than one amendment to an original or substantive motion.
    13. The mover of an amendment has no right of reply at the end of debate on it.
    14. Where a series of amendments to an original motion are carried, the mover of the original motion shall have a right of reply either at the end of debate on the first amendment or at the very end of debate on the final substantive motion immediately before it is put to the vote.
    15. Unless permitted by the Chair of the meeting, a councillor may speak once in the debate on a motion except:
      1. to speak on an amendment moved by another councillor;
      2. to move or speak on another amendment if the motion has been amended since he last spoke;
      3. to make a point of order;
      4. to give a personal explanation; or
      5. to exercise a right of reply.
    16. During the debate on a motion, a councillor may interrupt only on a point of order or a personal explanation and the councillor who was interrupted shall stop speaking. A councillor raising a point of order shall identify the standing order which he considers has been breached or specify the other irregularity in the proceedings of the meeting he is concerned by.
    17. A point of order shall be decided by the Chair of the meeting and his / her decision shall be final.
    18. When a motion is under debate, no other motion shall be moved except:
      1. to amend the motion;
      2. to proceed to the next business;
      3. to adjourn the debate;
      4. to put the motion to a vote;
      5. to ask a person to be no longer heard or to leave the meeting;
      6. to refer a motion to a committee or sub-committee for consideration;
      7. to exclude the public and press;
      8. to adjourn the meeting; or
      9. to suspend particular standing order(s) excepting those which reflect mandatory statutory or legal requirements.
    19. Before an original or substantive motion is put to the vote, the Chair of the meeting shall be satisfied that the motion has been sufficiently debated and that the mover of the motion under debate has exercised or waived his / her right of reply.
    20. Excluding motions moved under standing order 1(r), the contributions or speeches by a councillor shall relate only to the motion under discussion and shall not exceed 5 minutes without the consent of the Chair of the meeting.

    2. DISORDERLY CONDUCT AT MEETINGS

    1. No person shall obstruct the transaction of business at a meeting or behave offensively or improperly. If this standing order is ignored, the Chair of the meeting shall request such person(s) to moderate or improve their conduct.
    2. If person(s) disregard the request of the Chair of the meeting to moderate or improve their conduct, any councillor or the Chair of the meeting may move that the person be no longer heard or be excluded from the meeting. The motion, if seconded, shall be put to the vote without discussion.
    3. If a resolution made under standing order 2(b) is ignored, the Chair of the meeting may take further reasonable steps to restore order or to progress the meeting. This may include temporarily suspending or closing the meeting.

    3. MEETINGS GENERALLY

    Full Council meetings                 

    Committee meetings                 

    Sub-committee meetings          

    a          Meetings shall not take place in premises which at the time of the meeting are used for the supply of alcohol, unless no other premises are available free of charge or at a reasonable cost.

     

    b          The minimum three clear days for notice of a meeting does not include the day on which notice was issued, the day of the meeting, a Sunday, a day of the Christmas break, a day of the Easter break or of a bank holiday or a day appointed for public thanksgiving or mourning.

    c          The minimum three clear days’ public notice for a meeting does not include the day on which the notice was issued or the day of the meeting unless the meeting is convened at shorter notice OR [The minimum three clear days’ public notice of a meeting does not include the day on which the notice was issued or the day of the meeting].

    d          Meetings shall be open to the public unless their presence is prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted or for other special reasons. The public’s exclusion from part or all of a meeting shall be by a resolution which shall give reasons for the public’s exclusion.

     

    e          Members of the public may make representations, answer questions and give evidence at a meeting which they are entitled to attend in respect of the business on the agenda.

     

    f           The period of time designated for public participation at a meeting in accordance with standing order 3(e) shall not exceed ( 3  ) minutes unless directed by the Chair of the meeting.

     

    g          Subject to standing order 3(f), a member of the public shall not speak for more than (  3 ) minutes.

     

    h          In accordance with standing order 3(e), a question shall not require a response at the meeting nor start a debate on the question. The Chair of the meeting may direct that a written or oral response be given.

     

    i            [A person shall raise his / her hand when requesting to speak and stand when speaking (except when a person has a disability or is likely to suffer discomfort). The Chair of the meeting may at any time permit a person to be seated when speaking.

     

    j            A person who speaks at a meeting shall direct his / her comments to the Chair of the meeting.

     

    k          Only one person is permitted to speak at a time. If more than one person wants to speak, the Chair of the meeting shall direct the order of speaking.

    l            Subject to standing order 3(m), a person who attends a meeting is permitted to report on the meeting whilst the meeting is open to the public. To “report” means to film, photograph, make an audio recording of meeting proceedings, use any other means for enabling persons not present to see or hear the meeting as it takes place or later or to report or to provide oral or written commentary about the meeting so that the report or commentary is available as the meeting takes place or later to persons not present.

    m         A person present at a meeting may not provide an oral report or oral commentary about a meeting as it takes place without permission.   

    n          The press shall be provided with reasonable facilities for the taking of their report of all or part of a meeting at which they are entitled to be present.

    o          Subject to standing orders which indicate otherwise, anything authorised or required to be done by, to or before the Chair of the Council may in his / her absence be done by, to or before the Vice-Chair of the Council (if there is one).

    p          The Chair of the Council, if present, shall preside at a meeting. If the Chair is absent from a meeting, the Vice-Chair of the Council (if there is one) if present, shall preside. If both the Chair and the Vice-Chair are absent from a meeting, a councillor as chosen by the councillors present at the meeting shall preside at the meeting.

    q          Subject to a meeting being quorate, all questions at a meeting shall be decided by a majority of the councillors and non-councillors with voting rights present and voting.     

    r           The Chair of a meeting may give an original vote on any matter put to the vote, and in the case of an equality of votes may exercise his / her casting vote whether or not he / she gave an original vote.

    See standing orders 5(h) and (i) for the different rules that apply in the election of the Chair of the Council at the annual meeting of the Council.

    s           Unless standing orders provide otherwise, voting on a question shall be by a show of hands or secret ballot (the latter in the case of co-option). At the request of a councillor, the voting on any question shall be recorded so as to show whether each councillor present and voting gave his / her vote for or against that question. Such a request shall be made before moving on to the next item of business on the agenda.

     

    t            The minutes of a meeting shall include an accurate record of the following:

    i.           the time and place of the meeting;

    ii.          the names of councillors who are present and the names of councillors who are absent;

    iii.         interests that have been declared by councillors and non-councillors with voting rights;

    iv.        the grant of dispensations (if any) to councillors and non-councillors with voting rights;

    v.         whether a councillor or non-councillor with voting rights left the meeting when matters that they held interests in were being considered;

    vi.        if there was a public participation session; and

    vii.       the resolutions made.

     

     

    u          A councillor or a non-councillor with voting rights who has a disclosable pecuniary interest or another interest as set out in the Council’s code of conduct in a matter being considered at a meeting is subject to statutory limitations or restrictions under the code on his / her right to participate and vote on that matter.

     

     

    v          No business may be transacted at a meeting unless at least one-third of the whole number of members of the Council are present and in no case shall the quorum of a meeting be less than three.

    See standing order 4d(viii)  for the quorum of a committee or sub-committee meeting.

    w         If a meeting is or becomes inquorate no business shall be transacted and the meeting shall be closed. The business on the agenda for the meeting shall be adjourned to another meeting.

     

    x          A meeting shall not exceed a period of 2 hours.

    4. COMMITTEES AND SUB-COMMITTEES

    1. Unless the Council determines otherwise, a committee may appoint a sub-committee whose terms of reference and members shall be determined by the committee.
    2. The members of a committee may include non-councillors unless it is a committee which regulates and controls the finances of the Council.
    3. Unless the Council determines otherwise, all the members of an advisory committee and a sub-committee of the advisory committee may be non-councillors.
    4. The Council may appoint standing committees or other committees as may be necessary, and:
      1. shall determine their terms of reference;
      2. shall determine the number and time of the ordinary meetings of a standing committee up until the date of the next annual meeting of the Council;
      3. shall permit a committee, other than in respect of the ordinary meetings of a committee, to determine the number and time of its meetings;
      4. shall, subject to standing orders 4(b) and (c), appoint and determine the terms of office of members of such a committee;
      5. may, subject to standing orders 4(b) and (c), appoint and determine the terms of office of the substitute members to a committee whose role is to replace the ordinary members at a meeting of a committee if the ordinary members of the committee confirm to the Proper Officer ( ) days before the meeting that they are unable to attend;
      6. shall, after it has appointed the members of a standing committee, appoint the Chair of the standing committee;
      7. shall permit a committee other than a standing committee, to appoint its own Chair at the first meeting of the committee;
      8. shall determine the place, notice requirements and quorum for a meeting of a committee and a sub-committee which, in both cases, shall be no less than three;
      9. shall determine if the public may participate at a meeting of a committee;
      10. shall determine if the public and press are permitted to attend the meetings of a sub-committee and also the advance public notice requirements, if any, required for the meetings of a sub-committee;
      11. shall determine if the public may participate at a meeting of a sub-committee that they are permitted to attend; and
      12. may dissolve a committee or a sub-committee.

    5. ORDINARY COUNCIL MEETINGS

    1. In an election year, the annual meeting of the Council shall be held on or within 14 days following the day on which the councillors elected take office.
    2. In a year which is not an election year, the annual meeting of the Council shall be held on such day in April / May as the Council decides.
    3. If no other time is fixed, the annual meeting of the Council shall take place at 7.30pm.
    4. In addition to the annual meeting of the Council, at least three other ordinary meetings shall be held in each year on such dates and times as the Council decides.
    5. The first business conducted at the annual meeting of the Council shall be the election of the Chair and Vice-Chair (if there is one) of the Council.
    6. The Chair of the Council, unless he / she has resigned or becomes disqualified, shall continue in office and preside at the annual meeting until his / her successor is elected at the next annual meeting of the Council.
    7. The Vice-Chair of the Council, if there is one, unless he / she resigns or becomes disqualified, shall hold office until immediately after the election of the Chair of the Council at the next annual meeting of the Council.
    8. In an election year, if the current Chair of the Council has not been re-elected as a member of the Council, he / she shall preside at the annual meeting until a successor Chair of the Council has been elected. The current Chair of the Council shall not have an original vote in respect of the election of the new Chair of the Council but shall give a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.
    9. In an election year, if the current Chair of the Council has been re-elected as a member of the Council, he / she shall preside at the annual meeting until a new Chair of the Council has been elected. He / she may exercise an original vote in respect of the election of the new Chair of the Council and shall give a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.
    10. Following the election of the Chair of the Council and Vice-Chair (if there is one) of the Council at the annual meeting, the business shall include:
      1. In an election year, delivery by the Chair of the Council and councillors of their acceptance of office forms unless the Council resolves for this to be done at a later date. In a year which is not an election year, delivery by the Chair of the Council of his / her acceptance of office form unless the Council resolves for this to be done at a later date;
      2. Confirmation of the accuracy of the minutes of the last meeting of the Council;
      3. Receipt of the minutes of the last meeting of a committee;
      4. Consideration of the recommendations made by a committee;
      5. Review of delegation arrangements to committees, sub-committees, staff and other local authorities;
      6. Review of the terms of reference for committees;
      7. Appointment of members to existing committees;
      8. Appointment of any new committees in accordance with standing order 4;
      9. Review and adoption of appropriate standing orders and financial regulations;
      10. Review of arrangements (including legal agreements) with other local authorities, not-for-profit bodies and businesses.
      11. Review of representation on or work with external bodies and arrangements for reporting back;
      12. In an election year, to make arrangements with a view to the Council becoming eligible to exercise the general power of competence in the future;
      13. Review of inventory of land and other assets including buildings and office equipment;
      14. Confirmation of arrangements for insurance cover in respect of all insurable risks;
      15. Review of the Council’s and/or staff subscriptions to other bodies;
      16. Review of the Council’s complaints procedure;
      17. Review of the Council’s policies, procedures and practices in respect of its obligations under freedom of information and data protection legislation (see also standing orders 11, 20 and 21);
      18. Review of the Council’s policy for dealing with the press/media;
      19. Review of the Council’s employment policies and procedures;
      20. Review of the Council’s expenditure incurred under s.137 of the Local Government Act 1972 or the general power of competence.
      21. Determining the time and place of ordinary meetings of the Council up to and including the next annual meeting of the Council.

    6. EXTRAORDINARY MEETINGS OF THE COUNCIL, COMMITTEES AND SUB-COMMITTEES

    1. The Chair of the Council may convene an extraordinary meeting of the Council at any time.
    2. If the Chair of the Council does not call an extraordinary meeting of the Council within seven days of having been requested in writing to do so by two councillors, any two councillors may convene an extraordinary meeting of the Council. The public notice giving the time, place and agenda for such a meeting shall be signed by the two councillors.
    3. The Chair of a committee [or a sub-committee] may convene an extraordinary meeting of the committee [or the sub-committee] at any time.
    4. If the Chair of a committee [or a sub-committee] does not call an extraordinary meeting within ( ) days of having been requested to do so by (   ) members of the committee [or the sub-committee], any (   ) members of the committee [or the sub-committee] may convene an extraordinary meeting of the committee [or a sub-committee].

    7. PREVIOUS RESOLUTIONS

    1. A resolution shall not be reversed within six months except either by a special motion, which requires written notice by at least 2 councillors to be given to the Proper Officer in accordance with standing order 9, or by a motion moved in pursuance of the recommendation of a committee or a sub-committee.
    2. When a motion moved pursuant to standing order 7(a) has been disposed of, no similar motion may be moved for a further six months.

    8. VOTING ON APPOINTMENTS

    1. Where more than two persons have been nominated for a position to be filled by the Council and none of those persons has received an absolute majority of votes in their favour, the name of the person having the least number of votes shall be struck off the list and a fresh vote taken. This process shall continue until a majority of votes is given in favour of one person. A tie in votes may be settled by the casting vote exercisable by the Chair of the meeting.

    9. MOTIONS FOR A MEETING THAT REQUIRE WRITTEN NOTICE TO BE GIVEN TO THE PROPER OFFICER

    1. A motion shall relate to the responsibilities of the meeting for which it is tabled and in any event shall relate to the performance of the Council’s statutory functions, powers and obligations or an issue which specifically affects the Council’s area or its residents.
    2. No motion may be moved at a meeting unless it is on the agenda and the mover has given written notice of its wording to the Proper Officer at least 3 clear days before the meeting. Clear days do not include the day of the notice or the day of the meeting.
    3. The Proper Officer may, before including a motion on the agenda received in accordance with standing order 9(b), correct obvious grammatical or typographical errors in the wording of the motion.
    4. If the Proper Officer considers the wording of a motion received in accordance with standing order 9(b) is not clear in meaning, the motion shall be rejected until the mover of the motion resubmits it, so that it can be understood, in writing, to the Proper Officer at least 3 clear days before the meeting.
    5. If the wording or subject of a proposed motion is considered improper, the Proper Officer shall consult with the Chair of the forthcoming meeting or, as the case may be, the councillors who have convened the meeting, to consider whether the motion shall be included in the agenda or rejected.
    6. The decision of the Proper Officer as to whether or not to include the motion on the agenda shall be final.
    7. Motions received shall be recorded and numbered in the order that they are received.
    8. Motions rejected shall be recorded with an explanation by the Proper Officer of the reason for rejection.

    10. MOTIONS AT A MEETING THAT DO NOT REQUIRE WRITTEN NOTICE

    1. The following motions may be moved at a meeting without written notice to the Proper Officer:
      1. to correct an inaccuracy in the draft minutes of a meeting;
      2. to move to a vote;
      3. to defer consideration of a motion;
      4. to refer a motion to a particular committee or sub-committee;
      5. to appoint a person to preside at a meeting;
      6. to change the order of business on the agenda;
      7. to proceed to the next business on the agenda;
      8. to require a written report;
      9. to appoint a committee or sub-committee and their members;
      10. to extend the time limits for speaking;
      11. to exclude the press and public from a meeting in respect of confidential or other information which is prejudicial to the public interest;
      12. to not hear further from a councillor or a member of the public;
      13. to exclude a councillor or member of the public for disorderly conduct;
      14. to temporarily suspend the meeting;
      15. to suspend a particular standing order (unless it reflects mandatory statutory or legal requirements);
      16. to adjourn the meeting; or
      17. to close the meeting.

    11. MANAGEMENT OF INFORMATION

    See also standing order 20.

    1. The Council shall have in place and keep under review, technical and organisational measures to keep secure information (including personal data) which it holds in paper and electronic form. Such arrangements shall include deciding who has access to personal data and encryption of personal data.
    2. The Council shall have in place, and keep under review, policies for the retention and safe destruction of all information (including personal data) which it holds in paper and electronic form. The Council’s retention policy shall confirm the period for which information (including personal data) shall be retained or if this is not possible the criteria used to determine that period (e.g. the Limitation Act 1980).
    3. The agenda, papers that support the agenda and the minutes of a meeting shall not disclose or otherwise undermine confidential information or personal data without legal justification.
    4. Councillors, staff, the Council’s contractors and agents shall not disclose confidential information or personal data without legal justification.

    12. DRAFT MINUTES

    Full Council meetings                 

    Committee meetings                 

    Sub-committee meetings          

     

    a          If the draft minutes of a preceding meeting have been served on councillors with the agenda to attend the meeting at which they are due to be approved for accuracy, they shall be taken as read.

     

    b          There shall be no discussion about the draft minutes of a preceding meeting except in relation to their accuracy. A motion to correct an inaccuracy in the draft minutes shall be moved in accordance with standing order 10(a)(i).

     

    c          The accuracy of draft minutes, including any amendment(s) made to them, shall be confirmed by resolution and shall be signed by the Chair of the meeting and stand as an accurate record of the meeting to which the minutes relate.

     

    d          If the Chair of the meeting does not consider the minutes to be an accurate record of the meeting to which they relate, he / she shall sign the minutes and include a paragraph in the following terms or to the same effect:

    “The Chair of this meeting does not believe that the minutes of the meeting of the (   ) held on [date] in respect of (   ) were a correct record but his / her view was not upheld by the meeting and the minutes are confirmed as an accurate record of the proceedings.”

    e          If the Council’s gross annual income or expenditure (whichever is higher) does not exceed £25,000, it shall publish draft minutes on a website which is publicly accessible and free of charge not later than one month after the meeting has taken place.

     

    f           Subject to the publication of draft minutes in accordance with standing order 12(e) and standing order 20(a) and following a resolution which confirms the accuracy of the minutes of a meeting, the draft minutes or recordings of the meeting for which approved minutes exist shall be destroyed.

    13. CODE OF CONDUCT AND DISPENSATIONS

    See also standing order 3(u).

     All councillors and non-councillors with voting rights shall observe the code of conduct adopted by the Council.

    1. Unless he has been granted a dispensation, a councillor or non-councillor with voting rights shall withdraw from a meeting when it is considering a matter in which he has a disclosable pecuniary interest. He may return to the meeting after it has considered the matter in which he had the interest.
    2. Unless he has been granted a dispensation, a councillor or non-councillor with voting rights shall withdraw from a meeting when it is considering a matter in which he has another interest if so required by the Council’s code of conduct. He may return to the meeting after it has considered the matter in which he had the interest.
    3. Dispensation requests shall be in writing and submitted to the Proper Officer as soon as possible before the meeting, or failing that, at the start of the meeting for which the dispensation is required.
    4. A decision as to whether to grant a dispensation shall be made by the Proper Officer and that decision is final.
    5. A dispensation request shall confirm:
      1. the description and the nature of the disclosable pecuniary interest or other interest to which the request for the dispensation relates;
      2. whether the dispensation is required to participate at a meeting in a discussion only or a discussion and a vote;
      3. the date of the meeting or the period (not exceeding four years) for which the dispensation is sought; and
      4. an explanation as to why the dispensation is sought.
    6. Subject to standing orders 13(d) and (f), a dispensation request shall be considered [by the Proper Officer before the meeting or, if this is not possible, at the start of the meeting for which the dispensation is required] OR [at the beginning of the meeting of the Council, or committee or sub-committee for which the dispensation is required].
    7. A dispensation may be granted in accordance with standing order 13(e) if having regard to all relevant circumstances any of the following apply:
      1. without the dispensation the number of persons prohibited from participating in the particular business would be so great a proportion of the meeting transacting the business as to impede the transaction of the business;
      2. granting the dispensation is in the interests of persons living in the Council’s area; or
      3. it is otherwise appropriate to grant a dispensation.

    14. CODE OF CONDUCT COMPLAINTS

    1. Upon notification by the District or Unitary Council that it is dealing with a complaint that a councillor or non-councillor with voting rights has breached the Council’s code of conduct, the Proper Officer shall, subject to standing order 11, report this to the Council.
    2. Where the notification in standing order 14(a) relates to a complaint made by the Proper Officer, the Proper Officer shall notify the Chair of Council of this fact, and the Chair shall nominate another staff member to assume the duties of the Proper Officer in relation to the complaint until it has been determined and the Council has agreed what action, if any, to take in accordance with standing order 14(d).
    3. The Council may:
      1. provide information or evidence where such disclosure is necessary to investigate the complaint or is a legal requirement;
      2. seek information relevant to the complaint from the person or body with statutory responsibility for investigation of the matter;
    4. Upon notification by the District or Unitary Council that a councillor or non-councillor with voting rights has breached the Council’s code of conduct, the Council shall consider what, if any, action to take against him / her. Such action excludes disqualification or suspension from office.

    15. PROPER OFFICER

    1. The Proper Officer shall be either (i) the clerk or (ii) other staff member(s) nominated by the Council to undertake the work of the Proper Officer when the Proper Officer is absent.
    2. The Proper Officer shall:
      1. at least three clear days before a meeting of the council, a committee or a sub-committee,
      2. serve on councillors by delivery or post at their residences or by email authenticated in such manner as the Proper Officer thinks fit, a signed summons confirming the time, place and the agenda (provided the councillor has consented to service by email), and
      3. Provide, in a conspicuous place, public notice of the time, place and agenda (provided that the public notice with agenda of an extraordinary meeting of the Council convened by councillors is signed by them).
        See standing order 3(b) for the meaning of clear days for a meeting of a full council and standing order 3(c) for the meaning of clear days for a meeting of a committee;
      4. subject to standing order 9, include on the agenda all motions in the order received unless a councillor has given written notice at least ( ) days before the meeting confirming his / her withdrawal of it;
      5. convene a meeting of the Council for the election of a new Chair of the Council, occasioned by a casual vacancy in his / her office;
      6. facilitate inspection of the minute book by local government electors;
      7. receive and retain copies of byelaws made by other local authorities;
      8. hold acceptance of office forms from councillors;
      9. hold a copy of every councillor’s register of interests;
      10. assist with responding to requests made under freedom of information legislation and rights exercisable under data protection legislation, in accordance with the Council’s relevant policies and procedures;
      11. liaise, as appropriate, with the Council’s Data Protection Officer;
      12. receive and send general correspondence and notices on behalf of the Council except where there is a resolution to the contrary;
      13. assist in the organisation of, storage of, access to, security of and destruction of information held by the Council in paper and electronic form subject to the requirements of data protection and freedom of information legislation and other legitimate requirements (e.g. the Limitation Act 1980);
      14. arrange for legal deeds to be executed;
        (see also standing order 23);
      15. arrange or manage the prompt authorisation, approval, and instruction regarding any payments to be made by the Council in accordance with its financial regulations;
      16. record every planning application notified to the Council and the Council’s response to the local planning authority in a book for such purpose;
      17. refer a planning application received by the Council to the Chair or in his / her absence the Vice-Chair (if there is one) of the Council within two working days of receipt to facilitate an extraordinary meeting if the nature of a planning application requires consideration before the next ordinary meeting of the Council;
      18. manage access to information about the Council via the publication scheme; and
      19. retain custody of the seal of the Council (if there is one) which shall not be used without a resolution to that effect.
        (see also standing order 23).

    16. RESPONSIBLE FINANCIAL OFFICER

    1.  The Council shall appoint appropriate staff member(s) to undertake the work of the Responsible Financial Officer when the Responsible Financial Officer is absent.

    17. ACCOUNTS AND ACCOUNTING STATEMENTS

    1. “Proper practices” in standing orders refer to the most recent version of “Governance and Accountability for Local Councils – a Practitioners’ Guide”.
    2. All payments by the Council shall be authorised, approved and paid in accordance with the law, proper practices and the Council’s financial regulations.
    3. The Responsible Financial Officer shall supply to each councillor as soon as practicable after 30 June, 30 September and 31 December in each year a statement to summarise:
      1. the Council’s receipts and payments (or income and expenditure) for each quarter;
      2. the Council’s aggregate receipts and payments (or income and expenditure) for the year to date;
      3. the balances held at the end of the quarter being reported and which includes a comparison with the budget for the financial year and highlights any actual or potential overspends.
    4. As soon as possible after the financial year end at 31 March, the Responsible Financial Officer shall provide:
      1. each councillor with a statement summarising the Council’s receipts and payments (or income and expenditure) for the last quarter and the year to date for information; and
      2. to the Council the accounting statements for the year in the form of Section 1 of the annual governance and accountability return, as required by proper practices, for consideration and approval.
    5. The year-end accounting statements shall be prepared in accordance with proper practices and apply the form of accounts determined by the Council (receipts and payments, or income and expenditure) for the year to 31 March. A completed draft annual governance and accountability return shall be presented to all councillors at least 14 days prior to anticipated approval by the Council. The annual governance and accountability return of the Council, which is subject to external audit, including the annual governance statement, shall be presented to the Council for consideration and formal approval before 30 June.

    18. FINANCIAL CONTROLS AND PROCUREMENT

    1. The Council shall consider and approve financial regulations drawn up by the Responsible Financial Officer, which shall include detailed arrangements in respect of the following:
      1. the keeping of accounting records and systems of internal controls;
      2. the assessment and management of financial risks faced by the Council;
      3. the work of the independent internal auditor in accordance with proper practices and the receipt of regular reports from the internal auditor, which shall be required at least annually;
      4. the inspection and copying by councillors and local electors of the Council’s accounts and/or orders of payments; and
      5. whether contracts with an estimated value below £25,000 due to special circumstances are exempt from a tendering process or procurement exercise.
    2. Financial regulations shall be reviewed regularly and at least annually for fitness of purpose.
    3. A public contract regulated by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 with an estimated value in excess of £25,000 but less than the relevant thresholds in standing order 18(f) is subject to Regulations 109-114 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 which include a requirement on the Council to advertise the contract opportunity on the Contracts Finder website regardless of what other means it uses to advertise the opportunity.
    4. Subject to additional requirements in the financial regulations of the Council, the tender process for contracts for the supply of goods, materials, services or the execution of works shall include, as a minimum, the following steps:
      1. a specification for the goods, materials, services or the execution of works shall be drawn up;
      2. an invitation to tender shall be drawn up to confirm (i) the Council’s specification (ii) the time, date and address for the submission of tenders (iii) the date of the Council’s written response to the tender and (iv) the prohibition on prospective contractors contacting councillors or staff to encourage or support their tender outside the prescribed process;
      3. the invitation to tender shall be advertised in a local newspaper and in any other manner that is appropriate;
      4. tenders are to be submitted in writing in a sealed marked envelope addressed to the Proper Officer;
      5. tenders shall be opened by the Proper Officer in the presence of at least one councillor after the deadline for submission of tenders has passed;
      6. tenders are to be reported to and considered by the appropriate meeting of the Council or a committee or sub-committee with delegated responsibility.
    5. Neither the Council, nor a committee or a sub-committee with delegated responsibility for considering tenders, is bound to accept the lowest value tender.
    6. A public contract regulated by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 with an estimated value in excess of £181,302 for a public service or supply contract or in excess of £4,551,413 for a public works contract (or other thresholds determined by the European Commission every two years and published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU)) shall comply with the relevant procurement procedures and other requirements in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 which include advertising the contract opportunity on the Contracts Finder website and in OJEU.
    7. A public contract in connection with the supply of gas, heat, electricity, drinking water, transport services, or postal services to the public; or the provision of a port or airport; or the exploration for or extraction of gas, oil or solid fuel with an estimated value in excess of £363,424 for a supply, services or design contract; or in excess of £4,551,413 for a works contract; or £820,370 for a social and other specific services contract (or other thresholds determined by the European Commission every two years and published in OJEU) shall comply with the relevant procurement procedures and other requirements in the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016.

     19. HANDLING STAFF MATTERS

    1. A matter personal to a member of staff that is being considered by a meeting of Council is subject to standing order 11.
    2. Subject to the Council’s policy regarding absences from work, the Council’s most senior member of staff shall notify the Chair of the committee of absence occasioned by illness or other reason and that person shall report such absence to the committee at its next meeting.
    3. The Chair of the committee or in his / her absence, the vice-Chair shall upon a resolution conduct a review of the performance and annual appraisal of the work of the clerk] The reviews and appraisal shall be reported in writing and are subject to approval by resolution by the committee.
    4. Subject to the Council’s policy regarding the handling of grievance matters, the Council’s most senior member of staff (or other members of staff) shall contact the Chair of the committee or in his / her absence, the vice-Chair of the committee in respect of an informal or formal grievance matter, and this matter shall be reported back and progressed by resolution of the committee.
    5. Subject to the Council’s policy regarding the handling of grievance matters, if an informal or formal grievance matter raised by the clerk relates to the Chair or vice-Chair of the committee, this shall be communicated to another member of the committee, which shall be reported back and progressed by resolution of the committee.
    6. Any persons responsible for all or part of the management of staff shall treat as confidential the written records of all meetings relating to their performance, capabilities, grievance or disciplinary matters.
    7. In accordance with standing order 11(a), persons with line management responsibilities shall have access to staff records referred to in standing order 19(f).

    20. RESPONSIBILITIES TO PROVIDE INFORMATION

    See also standing order 21.

    1. In accordance with freedom of information legislation, the Council shall publish information in accordance with its publication scheme and respond to requests for information held by the Council.
    2. [If gross annual income or expenditure (whichever is higher) does not exceed £25,000] The Council shall publish information in accordance with the requirements of the Smaller Authorities (Transparency Requirements) (England) Regulations 2015.

    OR

    [If gross annual income or expenditure (whichever is the higher) exceeds £200,000] The Council, shall publish information in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government (Transparency Requirements) (England) Regulations 2015.

    21. RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER DATA PROTECTION LEGISLATION

    (Below is not an exclusive list).

    See also standing order 11.

    1. The Council shall appoint a Data Protection Officer.
    2. The Council shall have policies and procedures in place to respond to an individual exercising statutory rights concerning his / her personal data.
    3. The Council shall have a written policy in place for responding to and managing a personal data breach.
    4. The Council shall keep a record of all personal data breaches comprising the facts relating to the personal data breach, its effects and the remedial action taken.
    5. The Council shall ensure that information communicated in its privacy notice(s) is in an easily accessible and available form and kept up to date.
    6. The Council shall maintain a written record of its processing activities.

    22. RELATIONS WITH THE PRESS/MEDIA

    1. Requests from the press or other media for an oral or written comment or statement from the Council, its councillors or staff shall be handled in accordance with the Council’s policy in respect of dealing with the press and/or other media.

    23. EXECUTION AND SEALING OF LEGAL DEEDS

    See also standing orders 15(b)(xii) and (xvii).

    1. A legal deed shall not be executed on behalf of the Council unless authorised by a resolution.
    2. [Subject to standing order 23(a), the Council’s common seal shall alone be used for sealing a deed required by law. It shall be applied by the Proper Officer in the presence of two councillors who shall sign the deed as witnesses.]

    The above is applicable to a Council with a common seal.

    OR

    [Subject to standing order 23(a), any two councillors may sign, on behalf of the Council, any deed required by law and the Proper Officer shall witness their signatures.]

    The above is applicable to a Council without a common seal.

    24. COMMUNICATING WITH DISTRICT AND COUNTY OR UNITARY COUNCILLORS

    1. An invitation to attend a meeting of the Council shall be sent, together with the agenda, to the ward councillor(s) of the District and County Council OR Unitary Council representing the area of the Council.
    2. Unless the Council determines otherwise, a copy of each letter sent to the District and County Council OR Unitary Council shall be sent to the ward councillor(s) representing the area of the Council.

    25. RESTRICTIONS ON COUNCILLOR ACTIVITIES

    1. Unless duly authorised no councillor shall:
      1. inspect any land and/or premises which the Council has a right or duty to inspect; or
      2. issue orders, instructions or directions.

    26. STANDING ORDERS GENERALLY

    1. All or part of a standing order, except one that incorporates mandatory statutory or legal requirements, may be suspended by resolution in relation to the consideration of an item on the agenda for a meeting.
    2. A motion to add to or vary or revoke one or more of the Council’s standing orders, except one that incorporates mandatory statutory or legal requirements, shall be proposed by a special motion, the written notice by at least 2 councillors to be given to the Proper Officer in accordance with standing order 9.
    3. The Proper Officer shall provide a copy of the Council’s standing orders to a councillor as soon as possible.
    4. The decision of the Chair of a meeting as to the application of standing orders at the meeting shall be final.