Parish Council Finance
What is the precept?
The Precept is the money which is given to the Parish Council to run all Council business. A percentage of the council tax which is paid by residents is based upon the amount of precept requested by the Parish Council.
The budget process is started in October and the process continues until early January. After agreeing its budget in December/January, Colney Heath Parish Council can demand this from St Albans District Council as its Precept.
What other income is received by the Parish Council?
Other income received by the Parish Council is from rental charges from the Recreation Ground pavilion lease as well as any grants received for specific projects. We also receive income through VAT reclaims and bank interest. Higher Level Stewardship which is a grant received for grazing cattle on The Warren at Colney Heath Common is received yearly along with a modest income from a recycling clothing bank.
The Parish Council Budget
A well-planned budget is an essential tool for controlling the Council’s finances as it provides the Council with the confidence to ensure that sufficient income is available throughout the year to pay for expenditure for services or the capital for planned projects.
By monitoring our spending against the budget plan, we can control our finances during the course of the financial year.
What does the Council spend its money on?
From all income received, the Parish Council then has to pay for things like managing Colney Heath Common, grass cutting for open spaces and recreation areas, audit fees, salaries for staff and the emptying of the litter and dog waste bins. All these cost items, alongside anticipated expenditure are listed within the Council budget. A well researched budget should result in these costs being adequately covered.
The Council may also decide to accrue some money over several years to pay for a significant project. An amount of money acting as a contingency is also good practice for the Council to use for unexpected costs or in the event of emergencies.
What is the budget timetable for 2021/22?
The Environment Committee approved their budget 8th October 2020
The Finance & Governance Committee will review a first draft of the Council budget for 2021/22 at their meeting on 5th November 2020 and recommend a Precept amount. CHPC Budget Proposal 2021/22 Version 1
Full Council will review the recommended second version of the budget CHPC Recommended Budget Proposal 2021/22 Version 2 and if possible agree the Precept. Should this not be the case it will be re-reviewed at the Finance Committee on 3rd December 2020.
Full Council will have the final decision on the budget if required on 17 December 2020
Approval of Direct Debits and Standing Orders for 2021/22 – Proposed schedule (for approval Council 25 March 2021)
Reviews of current expenditure 2020/21
The General Power of Competence
The General Power of Competence was provided for in the Localism Act 2011 s1 – 8 and gives local councils ‘the power to do anything that individuals generally may do’ as long as they don’t break other laws.
There are two criteria for councils to qualify:
- the Clerk must be qualified with a recognised sector-specific qualification such as CiLCA or Level 4 qualification of the Foundation Degree in Community Governance;
- two thirds of the council members must have been elected at the last ordinary meeting. In the case of Colney Heath Parish Council this equals 6 councillors.
The council may confirm its eligibility once the criteria are met and thereafter must confirm its eligibility at the first appropriate annual meeting after an election.
Restrictions would be:
- if there are other statutory duties with compliance to other legislation;
- financial duties;
- statutory permissions from other authorities;
- health and safety and employment law.
Risks would include:
- inadequate community support;
- damage to other shops / businesses;
- if the project went wrong.
This Council operates under General Power of Competence since adopted 16 May 2019 ref: 19/20-11