This guide is designed specifically to help parish and town councillors support their communities and local council in understanding their obligations and commitments with public money – both generally and under Transparency Code
requirements – as well as sharing good practice in these areas.
In the light of the recent move towards greater transparency for public bodies the National Association of Local Councils has recently published a guide for finance and transparency.
Recent changes in Government legislation apply to all local councils regardless of size and in particular they have produced transparency codes related to local council finances, assets and meetings. For example councils with an annual turnover of less than £25,000 are now required to publish various financial and other information on a freely accessible website*.
The guide includes details of the various aspects of local council finance written with the new councillor in mind, however it is also a valuable tool for experienced members. Local council funds are primarily raised via a precept or tax on local electors, therefore it is the responsibility of all councillors to understand and be pro-active custodians of public funds, ensuring their council complies with the various legislation and government codes and that money is spent with the needs and aspirations of the local community in mind.
*To assist councils with this duty the Government has set up a Transparency Fund, administered by NALC to make grants to eligible councils. The fund will close on 31st March 2018. Grant applications should be made via the County Association whether or not the council is a member. Grants are available within limits to purchase a computer, to purchase a scanner, to set up a website, to cover the cost of training the clerk/RFO and to cover the cost of extra time required by the clerk/RFO to upload the necesary documents.
Further information and how to apply can be found at http://www.nalc.gov.uk/our-work/the-transparency-fund.