Clerk’s Report on Finance to Town Meeting 18 May 2022

Town Meetings Uploaded on May 25, 2022

My report is mostly concerned with providing an overview of the Council and Charity finances,

  1. In our Council, the Clerk is also the Responsible Financial Officer and works with Councillors to keep your cash and assets secure to minimise the risk of loss through fraud or theft. Bank statements, a summary of income and expenditure and a bank reconciliation statement for the previous month are prepared by me for review at each Council meeting.
  2. Following the recent year end, Councillors have started a review of internal controls, including spot-checks on individual items of income and expenditure to ensure that each has been properly ordered, received and paid for.   This will also include reconciling payroll deductions and payments to HMRC and pension schemes, ensuring VAT is properly recorded and claimed back.
  3. At the year end the Council’s minute books, bank statements, cashbook and invoice files are sent to our internal auditor, who conducts a review before signing a statement in the annual return.
  4. Council has recently agreed to engage an external bookkeeper. Up until now, this was carried out by me using spreadsheets.   Council considered that it was appropriate to keep the books on a proprietary accounting software package to minimise the risk of error.  By separating this function out to a professional bookkeeper, Council also feels this will enhance internal controls and, at a very reasonable cost, save time for the Clerk to focus on other matters as the workload has expanded over recent years, including construction and opening of the burial ground.
  5. This meeting is required by Local Government Law to be held before the end of May; unfortunately this is before the annual accounts for the year just ended have been prepared. Accordingly, the final accounts that you see on display are those for 2020-21.   During the year to March 2021, and as in several previous years, Council qualified as a ‘smaller authority’ so there was no requirement for the annual return to be sent to the external auditor, instead publishing additional information on its website as neither its income or expenditure exceeded £25,000.  For the year recently ended however, there as some exceptional items; Council received over £30k for construction of the new play area equipment so an external audit by the government-appointed auditor will be required.  Draft accounts for 2021-22 will be available for inspection for a period of approximately 4 weeks in July when you may inspect the draft accounts and are welcome to ask me any questions.
  6. In 2021, Council’s income was £14,669 and its expenditure £11,210. This left a surplus of £3,459
  7. In 2021, the Charity’s income as £32,470 and expenditure of£25,710 giving a surplus of £6,760.
  8. Identical procedures and checks are carried out on the Council and Charity accounts.
  9. The charity’s income is derived from the gallop fees paid by trainers and other income from land such as the tables placed on the town wastes by pubs and tea shops. Income from the gallop fees has remained stable (excuse the pun!).  After a period when it waived  charges to businesses in the market square for pavement furniture,  charges were restored from 1 August and increased from March this year.
  10. The Council seeks to reduce expenditure and increase income where possible. Now that I am mostly working from home and MKC has installed superfast broadband Council has cancelled its on telephone and broadband contracts saving around £400 per year.
  11. Notwithstanding that the official accounts have not yet been finalised, at the recent year end, both Council and Charity remained in surplus and in line with their budgets.
  12. Council’s total cash deposits on 31 March 2022 were £122,639 (previous year end £120,909 – an increase of £1,730 over the year)
  13. Charity’s total cash deposits at the recent year-end were £60,621 (previous year end £67,011 a decrease of £6,390 over the year). Both these sets of figures are subject to internal transfers for overhead costs.

That concludes my report.  I’d be happy to take any questions.


David Keep

Clerk, Proper Officer and Responsible Financial Officer