Wallingford Town Council Standing orders and Financial Regulations
Wallingford Town Council, 8a Castle Street, Wallingford, Oxon OX10 0A
- Rules of debate at meetings
- Disorderly conduct at meetings
- Meetings generally
- Committees and working parties
- Ordinary council meetings
- Extraordinary meetings of the council, committees, and working parties
- Previous Resolutions
- Voting on appointments
- Motions for a meeting that require written notice to be given to the Proper Officer
- Motions at a meeting that do not require written notice
- Management of information
- Draft minutes
- Code of conduct and dispensations
- Code of conduct complaints
- Proper Officer
- Responsible Financial Officer
- Accounts and accounting statements
- Financial controls and procurement
- Handling staff matters
- Responsibilities to provide information
- Responsibilities under data protection legislation
- Relations with the press/media
- Execution and sealing of legal deeds
- Communicating with District, County or Unitary Councillors
- Restrictions on councillor activities
- Standing orders generally
27 – 44.
Terms of Reference
Full Council and Policy
- Finance & Properties
- Parks, Gardens, Allotments & Open Spaces
- Tourism & Economic Development
These Standing Orders and Financial Regulations are based on the National Association of Local Councils, (NALC), model standing orders and financial regulations adapted, where allowed, for the way that Wallingford Town Council works day to day and now includes new legislation introduced after 2013.
Approved at the Meeting of the Full Council and Policy on 20th May 2019.
Rules of debate at meetings
- Motions on the agenda shall be considered in the order that they appear unless the order is changed at the discretion of the chairman of the meeting.
- A motion (including an amendment) shall not be progressed unless it has been moved and seconded.
- A motion on the agenda that is not moved by its proposer may be treated by the chairman of the meeting as withdrawn.
- If a motion (including an amendment) has been seconded, it may be withdrawn by the proposer only with the consent of the seconder and the meeting.
- An amendment is a proposal to remove or add words to a motion. It shall not negate the motion.
- If an amendment to the original motion is carried, the original motion becomes the substantive motion upon which further amendment(s) may be moved.
- An amendment shall not be considered unless early verbal notice of it is given at the meeting and, if requested by the chairman of the meeting, is expressed in writing to the chairman.
- A councillor may move an amendment to his 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.
- If there is more than one amendment to an original or substantive motion, the amendments shall be moved in the order directed by the chairman.
- Subject to standing order 1(k) below, only one amendment shall be moved and debated at a time, the order of which shall be directed by the chairman of the meeting.
- One or more amendments may be discussed together if the chairman of the meeting considers this expedient but each amendment shall be voted upon separately.
- A councillor may not move more than one amendment to an original or substantive motion.
- The mover of an amendment has no right of reply at the end of debate on it.
- 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 of the first amendment or at the very end of debate on the final substantive motion immediately before it is put to the vote.
- Unless permitted by the chairman of the meeting, a councillor may speak once in the debate on a motion except:
- to speak on an amendment moved by another councillor;
- to move or speak on another amendment if the motion has been amended since he last spoke;
- to make a point of order;
- to give a personal explanation; or
- in exercise of a right of reply.
- During the debate of 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.
- A point of order shall be decided by the chairman of the meeting and his decision shall be final.
- When a motion is under debate, no other motion shall be moved except:
- to amend the motion;
- to proceed to the next business;
- to adjourn the debate;
- to put the motion to a vote;
- to ask a person to be no longer heard or to leave the meeting;
- to refer a motion to a committee or sub-committee for consideration;
- to exclude the public and press;
- to adjourn the meeting; or
- to suspend particular standing order(s) excepting those which reflect mandatory statutory requirements.
- Before an original or substantive motion is put to the vote, the chairman 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 right of reply.
- Excluding motions moved understanding order 1(r) above, the contributions or speeches by a councillor shall relate only to the motion under discussion and shall not exceed 3 minutes without the consent of the chairman of the meeting
Disorderly conduct at meetings
- No person shall obstruct the transaction of business at a meeting or behave offensively or improperly. If this standing order is ignored, the chairman of the meeting shall request such person(s) to moderate or improve their conduct.
- If person(s) disregard the request of the chairman of the meeting to moderate or improve their conduct, any councillor or the chairman of the meeting may move that the person be no longer heard or excluded from the meeting. The motion, if seconded, shall be put to the vote without discussion.
- If a resolution made under standing order 2(b) above is ignored, the chairman 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The period of time designated for public participation at a meeting in accordance with standing order 3(e) above shall not exceed 15 minutes unless directed by the chairman of the meeting.
Subject to standing order 3(f) above, a member of the public shall not speak for more than 10 minutes.
In accordance with standing order 3(e) above, a question shall not require a response at the meeting nor start a debate on the question. The chairman of the meeting may direct that a written or oral response be given.
A person shall raise his hand when requesting to speak and stand when speaking (except when a person has a disability or is likely to suffer discomfort). The chairman of the meeting may at any time permit a person to be seated when speaking. At committee and sub-committee meetings persons may speak whilst seated.
A person who speaks at a meeting shall direct his comments to the chairman of the meeting.
Subject to la, 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. la – A person present at a meeting may not provide an oral report or oral commentary about a meeting as it takes place without permission.
Only one person is permitted to speak at a time. If more than one person wants to speak, the chairman of the meeting shall direct the order of speaking.
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.
Subject to standing orders which indicate otherwise, anything authorised or required to be done by, to or before the Chairman/Mayor of the Council may in his absence be done by, to or before the Vice-Chairman/Deputy Mayor of the Council (if there is one).
The Chairman/Mayor, if present, shall preside at a meeting. If the Chairman is absent from a meeting, the Vice-Chairman/Deputy Mayor, if present, shall preside. If both the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman/Deputy Mayor are absent from a meeting, a councillor as chosen by the councillors present at the meeting shall preside at the meeting.
Subject to a meeting being quorate, all questions at a meeting shall be decided by a majority of the councillors or non-councillors with voting rights present and voting.
The chairman 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 casting vote whether or not he gave an original vote.
See standing orders 5(i) and (j) below for the different rules that apply in the election of the Chairman of the Council at the annual meeting of the council.
Unless standing orders provide otherwise, voting on a question shall be by a show of hands. 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 vote for or against that question. Such a request shall be made before moving on to the next item of business on the agenda.
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 present and 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.
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 present and 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.
(England) 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 right to participate and vote on that matter.
No business may be transacted at a meeting unless at least one-half, (statutory 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) below for the quorum of a committee or sub-committee meeting.
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.
A meeting shall not exceed a period of 3 hours.
The Chairman/Mayor shall attend as ex-officio at meetings of the committees, sub-committees and working parties and is able to vote at such meetings.
Committees and sub-committees
- Unless the council determines otherwise, a committee may appoint a sub-committee or working party whose terms of reference and members shall be determined by the committee.
- The members of a committee may include non-councillors unless it is a committee which regulates and controls the finances of the council. Non-councillors shall not have voting rights. At least one member of a working party must be a councillor.
- Unless the council determines otherwise, all the members of a working party or sub-committee may be non-councillors. Non-councillors shall not have voting rights.
- The council may appoint standing committees or other committees as may be necessary, and:
- shall determine their terms of reference;
- shall determine the number and time of the ordinary meetings of a standing committee up until the date of the next annual meeting of full council;
- shall permit a committee, other than in respect of the ordinary meetings of a committee, to determine the number and time of its meetings;
- shall, subject to standing orders 4(b) and (c) above, appoint and determine the terms of office of members of such a committee;
- may, subject to standing orders 4(b) and (c) above, 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 2 days before the meeting that they are unable to attend;
- shall, after it has appointed the members of a standing committee, appoint the chairman of the standing committee;
- shall permit a committee or working party other than a standing committee, to appoint its own chairman at the first meeting of the committee or working party;
- shall determine the place, notice requirements and quorum for a meeting of a committee and a sub-committee which shall be no less than three;
- shall determine if the public may participate at a meeting of a committee;
- 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;
- shall determine if the public may participate at a meeting of a sub-committee that they are permitted to attend; and
may dissolve a committee.
Working parties may determine the number of its members and appoint those members.
Ordinary council meetings
- In an election year, the annual meeting of the council shall be held on or within 14 days following the day on which the new councillors elected take office.
- In a year which is not an election year, the annual meeting of a council shall be held on such day in May as the council may direct.
- If no other time is fixed, the annual meeting of the council shall take place at
- (England) 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 directs.
- The first business conducted at the annual meeting of the council shall be the election of the Chairman/Mayor and Vice-Chairman/Deputy Mayor (if any) of the Council.
- The Chairman/Mayor of the Council, unless s/he has resigned or becomes disqualified, shall continue in office and preside at the annual meeting until his successor is elected at the next annual meeting of the council.
- The Vice-Chairman/Deputy Mayor of the Council, if any, unless s/he resigns or becomes disqualified, shall hold office until immediately after the election of the Chairman/Mayor of the Council at the next annual meeting of the council.
- In an election year, if the current Chairman/Mayor of the Council has not been re-elected as a member of the council, s/he shall preside at the meeting until a successor Chairman/Mayor of the Council has been elected. The current Chairman/Mayor of the Council shall not have an original vote in respect of the election of the new Chairman/Mayor of the Council but must give a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.
- In an election year, if the current Chairman/Mayor of the Council has been re-elected as a member of the council, s/he shall preside at the meeting until a new Chairman/Mayor of the Council has been elected. S/he may exercise an original vote in respect of the election of the new Chairman/Mayor of the Council and must give a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.
- Following the election of the Chairman/Mayor of the Council and Vice-Chairman/Deputy Mayor, (if any), of the Council at the annual meeting of the council, the business of the annual meeting shall include:
- In an election year, delivery by the Chairman/Mayor 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 Chairman/Mayor of the Council of his/her acceptance of office form unless the council resolves for this to be done at a later date;
- Confirmation of the accuracy of the minutes of the last meeting of the council;
- Receipt of the minutes of the last meeting of a committee;
- Consideration of the recommendations made by a committee;
- Review of delegation arrangements to committees, sub-committees, working parties, staff and other local authorities;
- Review of the terms of reference for committees;
- Appointment of members to existing committees;
- Appointment of any new committees in accordance with standing order 4 above;
- Review and adoption of appropriate standing orders and financial regulations;
- Review of arrangements, including legal agreements, with other local authorities, not-for-profit bodies and businesses.
- Review of representation on or work with external bodies and arrangements for reporting back;
- (England) In an election year, and annually, to make arrangements with a view to the council becoming eligible to exercise the general power of competence in the future;
- Review of inventory of land and assets including buildings and office equipment;
- Confirmation of arrangements for insurance cover in respect of all insured risks;
- Review of the council’s and/or staff subscriptions to other bodies;
- Review of the council’s complaints procedure;
- Review of the council’s policies, procedures and practices in respect of its obligations under the freedom of information and data protection legislation (see also standing orders 11, 20 and 21);
- Review of the council’s policy for dealing with the press/media;
- Review of the Council’s employment policies and procedures;
- Review of the council’s expenditure incurred under s.137 of the Local Government Act 1972 or general power of competence;
- Determining the time and place of ordinary meetings of the full council up to and including the next annual meeting of full council.
Extraordinary meetings of the council, committees, sub-committees and working parties
- The Chairman/Mayor of the Council may convene an extraordinary meeting of the council at any time.
- If the Chairman/Mayor of the Council does not or refuses to 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 must be signed by the two councillors.
- The chairman of a committee, sub-committee or working party may convene an extraordinary meeting of the committee or the sub-committee at any time. The Chairman of a working party may decide the frequency of the meetings.
- If the chairman of a committee or a sub-committee does not or refuses to call an extraordinary meeting within 7 days of having been requested by to do so by 2 members of the committee or the sub-committee, any 2 members of the committee and the sub-committee may convene an extraordinary meeting of a committee and a sub-committee.
- A resolution shall not be reversed within six months except either by a special motion, which requires written notice by at least 4 councillors to be given to the Proper Officer in accordance with standing order 9 below, or by a motion moved in pursuance of the recommendation of a committee, sub-committee or working party.
- When a motion moved pursuant to standing order 7(a) above has been disposed of, no similar motion may be moved within a further six months.
Voting on appointments
- 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 Chairman/Mayor of the meeting.
- Votes for a co-opted member shall be by way of a secret ballot. After each vote the number of votes cast in favour of each candidate shall be announced by the Mayor.
Motions for a meeting that require written notice to be given to the Proper Officer
- 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.
- No motion may be moved at a meeting unless it is on the agenda for that meeting.
- The Proper Officer may, before including a motion on the agenda received in accordance with standing order 9(b) above, correct obvious grammatical or typographical errors in the wording of the motion.
- If the Proper Officer considers the wording of a motion received in accordance with standing order 9(b) above is not clear in meaning, the motion shall be rejected until the mover of the motion resubmits it in writing to the Proper Officer so that it can be understood at least 7 clear days before the meeting.
- If the wording or subject of a proposed motion is considered improper, the Proper Officer shall consult with the chairman 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.
- Subject to standing order 9(e) above, the decision of the Proper Officer as to whether or not to include the motion on the agenda shall be final.
- Motions received shall be recorded in a book for that purpose and numbered in the order that they are received.
- Motions rejected shall be recorded in a book for that purpose with an explanation by the Proper Officer for their rejection.
Motions at a meeting that do not require written notice
- The following motions may be moved at a meeting without written notice to the Proper Officer;
- to correct an inaccuracy in the draft minutes of a meeting;
- to move to a vote;
- to defer consideration of a motion;
- to refer a motion to a particular committee or sub-committee;
- to appoint a person to preside at a meeting;
- to change the order of business on the agenda;
- to proceed to the next business on the agenda;
- to require a written report;
- to appoint a committee or sub-committee and their members;
- to extend the time limits for speaking;
- to exclude the press and public from a meeting in respect of confidential or sensitive information which is prejudicial to the public interest;
- to not hear further from a councillor or a member of the public;
- to exclude a councillor or member of the public for disorderly conduct;
- to temporarily suspend the meeting;
- to suspend a particular standing order (unless it reflects mandatory statutory requirements);
- to adjourn the meeting; or
- to close a meeting.
Management of Information (see also standing order 20)
- 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 date and encryption of personal data.
- 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 personnel data) shall be retained or if this is not possible the criteria used to determine that period (e.g. the Limitation Act 1980).
- 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.
- Councillors, staff, the Council’s contractors and agents shall not disclose confidential information or personal data without legal justification.
- 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.
- 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) above.
- The accuracy of draft minutes, including any amendment(s) made to them, shall be confirmed by resolution and shall be signed by the chairman of the meeting and stand as an accurate record of the meeting to which the minutes relate.
- If the chairman of the meeting does not consider the minutes to be an accurate record of the meeting to which they relate, he shall sign the minutes and include a paragraph in the following terms or to the same effect:
“The chairman 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 view was not upheld by the meeting and the minutes are confirmed as an accurate record of the proceedings.”
- Upon 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.
Code of conduct and dispensations
See also standing order 3(t) above.
- All councillors and non-councillors with voting rights shall observe the code of conduct adopted by the council.
- Unless s/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.
- Unless s/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.
- 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.
- A decision as to whether to grant a dispensation shall be made by a meeting of the council, or committee or sub-committee for which the dispensation is required and that decision is final.
- A dispensation request shall confirm:
- the description and the nature of the disclosable pecuniary interest or other interest to which the request for the dispensation relates;
- whether the dispensation is required to participate at a meeting in a discussion only or a discussion and a vote;
- the date of the meeting or the period (not exceeding four years) for which the dispensation is sought; and
- an explanation as to why the dispensation is sought.
- Subject to standing orders 13(d) and (f) above, dispensations requests shall be considered before the meeting or, if this is not possible, at the start of the meeting for which the dispensation is required.
- A dispensation may be granted in accordance with standing order 13(e) above if having regard to all relevant circumstances the following applies:
- 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 or
- granting the dispensation is in the interests of persons living in the council’s area or
- it is otherwise appropriate to grant a dispensation.
Code of conduct complaints
- Upon notification by the District 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 above, report this to the council.
- Where the notification in standing order 14(a) above relates to a complaint made by the Proper Officer, the Proper Officer shall notify the Chairman/Mayor of Council of this fact, and the Chairman/Mayor 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) below].
- The council may:
- provide information or evidence where such disclosure is necessary to progress an investigation of the complaint or is required by law;
- seek information relevant to the complaint from the person or body with statutory responsibility for investigation of the matter;
- (England) 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. Such action excludes disqualification or suspension from office.
- The Proper Officer shall be the Clerk, or another member of staff delegated by the clerk.
- The Proper Officer shall:
- at least three clear days before a meeting of the council, a committee and a sub-committee serve on councillors, by delivery or post at their residences, or by email a signed summons confirming the time, place and the agenda (provided the councillor has consented to service by email) and, provided, 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) above for the meaning of clear days for a meeting of a full council and standing order 3 (c) above for a meeting of a committee.
- subject to standing or 9, include on the agenda all motions in order received unless a councillor has given written notice at least 5 days before the meeting confirming his withdrawal of it;
- convene a meeting of the Council for the election of a new Chairman of the Council occasioned by a casual vacancy in his office;
- facilitate inspection of the minute book by local government electors;
- receive and retain copies of byelaws made by other local authorities;
- hold acceptance of office forms from councillors;
- retain a copy of every councillor’s register of interests;
- 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;
- liaise, as appropriate, with the Council’s Data Protection Officer, (if there is one);
- receive and send general correspondence and notices on behalf of the council except where there is a resolution to the contrary;
- 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);
- arrange for legal deeds to be executed;
See also standing order 22 below.
- arrange or manage the prompt authorisation, approval, and instruction regarding any payments to be made by the council in accordance with the council’s financial regulations;
- file every planning application notified to the council and the council’s response to the local planning authority;
- refer a major planning application received by the council to the Full Council when notified by the Chairman of the Planning Committee or in his absence another member of that committee 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. (Definition of a major planning application defined by the District Planning office).
- manage access to information about the council via the publication scheme; and
- retain custody of the seal of the council (if there is one) which shall not be used without a resolution to that effect.
- Responsible Financial Officer (See 26)
- The council shall appoint appropriate staff member(s) to undertake the work of the Responsible Financial Officer when the Responsible Financial Officer is absent.
Accounts and accounting statements
- “Proper practices” in standing orders refer to the most recent version of Governance and Accountability for Local Councils – a Practitioners’ Guide.
- All payments by the council shall be authorised, approved and paid in accordance with the law, proper practices and the council’s financial regulations.
- 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:
- the council’s receipts and payments (or income and expenditure) for each quarter;
- the council’s aggregate receipts and payments (or income and expenditure) for the year to date;
- 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.
- As soon as possible after the financial year end at 31 March, the Responsible Financial Officer shall provide:
- 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
- to the council the accounting statements for the year in the form of Section 2 of the annual governance and accountability return, as required by proper practices, for consideration and approval.
- 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 return of the council, which is subject to external audit, including 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.
Financial controls and procurement
- 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: (See 26).
- the keeping of accounting records and systems of internal controls;
- the assessment and management of financial risks faced by the council;
- 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;
- the inspection and copying by councillors and local electors of the council’s accounts and/or orders of payments; and
- procurement policies (subject to standing order 18(c) below) including the setting of values for different procedures where a contract has an estimated value of less than £25,000. These shall provide that expenditure within an approved budget may be authorised by the Town Clerk.
- Financial regulations shall be reviewed regularly and at least annually for fitness of purpose.
- 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.
- 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:
- a specification for the goods, materials, services or the execution of works shall be drawn up;
- 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;
- the invitation to tender shall use the Contract Finder website, if required, and be advertised in a local newspaper and in any other manner that is appropriate;
- tenders are to be submitted in writing in a sealed marked envelope addressed to the Proper Officer;
- 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;
- tenders are to be reported to and considered by the appropriate meeting of the council or a committee or sub-committee with delegated responsibility.
- Neither the council, nor a committee or a sub-committee with delegated responsibility for considering tenders, is bound to accept the lowest value tender.
- A public contract regulated by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 with an estimate value in excess of £189,330 for supply contract or in excess of £4,733,252 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.
- 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 an extraction of gas, oil or solid fuel with an estimated value in excess of £189,330 for a supply, services or design contract; or in excess of £4,733,252 for a works contract; or 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.
Handling staff matters
- A matter personal to a member of staff that is being considered by a meeting of council or the Personnel committee is subject to standing order 11 above.
- Subject to the council’s policy regarding absences from work, the council’s most senior member of staff shall notify the chairman of Personnel or, if s/he is not available, the vice-chairman of the Personnel committee of absence occasioned by illness or other reason and that person shall report such absence to Personnel committee at its next meeting.
- The chairman of the Personnel committee or in his/her absence, the vice-chairman, if any, shall upon a resolution conduct a review of the performance and annual appraisal of the work of the Town Clerk. The reviews and appraisal shall be reported in writing to the Personnel committee.
- Subject to the council’s policy regarding the handling of grievance matters, the Town Clerk shall contact the chairman of the Personnel committee or in his absence, the vice-chairman, if any, of the Personnel committee or another councillor nominated by the Chairman/Mayor in respect of an informal or formal grievance matter, and this matter shall be reported back and progressed by the Personnel committee.
- Subject to the council’s policy regarding the handling of grievance matters, if an informal or formal grievance matter raised by the Town Clerk relates to the chairman or vice-chairman of the Personnel committee this shall be communicated to another member of the Personnel committee which shall be reported back and progressed by resolution of the Personnel committee.
- Any persons responsible for all or part of the management of staff shall treat the written records of all meetings relating to their performance, capabilities, grievance or disciplinary matters as confidential and secure.
- The council shall keep all written records relating to employees secure. All paper records shall be secured and locked and electronic records shall be password protected.
- Only persons with line management responsibilities shall have access to staff records referred to in standing orders 19(f) and (g) above if so justified.
- Access and means of access by keys and/or computer passwords to records of employment referred to in standing orders 19(f) and (g) above shall be provided only to the Town Clerk and/or the Chairman/Mayor of the Council or the Chairman of the Personnel committee.
Responsibilities to provide information See also standing order 21
- In accordance with freedom of information legislation, the Council shall publish information in accordance with its publication scheme and respond to request for information held by the Council.
- 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.
- Responsibilities under data protection legislation (not an exclusive list, see also standing order 11)
- The Council may appoint a Data Protection Officer. (NB no longer a requirement so not in bold)
- The Council shall have policies and procedures in place to respond to an individual exercising statutory rights concerning his personal data.
- The Council shall have a written policy in place for responding to and managing a personal data breach.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Council shall maintain a written record of its processing activities.
Relations with the press/media
- 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.
Execution and sealing of legal deeds
See also standing orders 15(b) (xii) and (xvii) above.
- A legal deed shall not be executed on behalf of the council unless authorised by a resolution.
- Subject to standing order 22(a) above, the council’s common seal shall alone be used for sealing a deed required by law or a commemorative document approved by a resolution of the Council. It shall be applied by the Proper Officer in the presence of two councillors who shall sign the deed as witnesses.
Communicating with District and County or Unitary councillors
- An invitation to attend a meeting of the council shall be sent, together with the agenda, to the division and ward councillor(s) of the County Council, District Council or Unitary Council representing the area of the council.
- The District Councillors, County Council Councillors or Unitary Councillors shall be invited to attend and to speak at the Annual Town Meeting.
- Unless the council determines otherwise, a copy of each letter sent to the District Council, County Council or Unitary Council shall be sent to the ward councillor(s) representing the area of the council.
Restrictions on councillor activities
- Unless authorised by the Council, or the proper officer, no councillor shall:
- inspect any land and/or premises, (other than the Chairman of the Finance and Properties committee and the Chairman of the Parks, Gardens, Allotments and Open Spaces committee ), which the council has a right or duty to inspect; or
- issue orders, instructions or directions.
Standing orders generally
- All or part of a standing order, except one that incorporates mandatory statutory requirements, may be suspended by resolution in relation to the consideration of an item on the agenda for a meeting.
- A motion to add to or vary or revoke one or more of the council’s standing orders, except one that incorporates mandatory statutory requirements, shall be proposed by a special motion, the written notice by at least 3 councillors to be given to the Proper Officer in accordance with standing order 9 above.
- The Proper Officer shall provide a copy of the council’s standing orders to a councillor as soon as possible after he has delivered his acceptance of office form.
- The decision of the chairman of a meeting as to the application of standing orders at the meeting shall be final.
- Financial Regulations Generally
- These financial regulations govern the conduct of financial management by the council and may only be amended or varied by resolution of the council. The council is responsible in law for ensuring that its financial management is adequate and effective and that the council has a sound system of financial control which facilitates the effective exercise of the council’s functions, including arrangements for the management of risk and for the prevention and detection of fraud and corruption. These financial regulations are designed to demonstrate how the council meets these responsibilities.
- The Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) is a statutory office and shall be appointed by the council. The RFO, acting under the policy direction of the council, shall administer the council’s financial affairs in accordance with proper practices. The RFO shall determine on behalf of the council its accounting records, and accounting control systems. The RFO shall ensure that the accounting control systems are observed and that the accounting records of the council are maintained and kept up to date in accordance with proper practices.
- The RFO shall produce financial management information as required by the council.
- At least once a year, prior to approving the annual return, the council shall conduct a review of the effectiveness of its system of internal control, which shall be in accordance with proper practices. This review shall be conducted by the Finance and Properties Committee and approved by the council.
- In these financial regulations, references to the Accounts and Audit Regulations shall mean the Regulations issued under the provisions of section 27 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 and other relevant Regulations then in force.
- In these financial regulations the term ‘proper practice’ or ‘proper practices’ shall refer to guidance issued by NALC and SLCC and updated from time to time.
Annual Estimates (Budget)
- Detailed estimates of all receipts and payments including the use of reserves and all sources of funding for the year shall be prepared each year by the RFO in the form of a budget to be considered by the council.
- The council shall review the budget not later than the end of January each year and shall fix the Precept to be levied for the ensuing financial year. The RFO shall issue the precept to the billing authority and shall supply each member with a copy of the approved budget.
- The annual budgets shall form the basis of financial control for the ensuing year.
- Expenditure on revenue items may be incurred up to the amounts included for that class of expenditure in the approved budget.
- During the budget year and with the approval of council having considered fully the implications for public services, unspent and available amounts may be moved to other budget headings or to an earmarked reserve as appropriate.
- The RFO shall regularly provide the council with a statement of receipts and payments to date under each head of the budgets, comparing actual expenditure to the appropriate date against that planned as shown in the budget. These statements are to be prepared at least at the end of each financial quarter.
- 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. The Clerk shall report the action to the council as soon as practicable thereafter.
- Unspent provisions in the revenue budget shall not be carried forward to a subsequent year unless placed in an earmarked reserve by resolution of the council.
- No expenditure shall be incurred in relation to any capital project and no contract entered into or tender accepted involving capital expenditure, unless the council is satisfied that the necessary funds are available, or the requisite borrowing approval has been obtained.
- All capital works shall be administered in accordance with the council’s standing orders and financial regulations relating to contracts.
Accounting and Audit
- All accounting procedures and financial records of the council shall be determined by the RFO in accordance with the Accounts and Audit Regulations.
- The RFO shall complete the annual financial statements of the council, including the council’s annual return, as soon as practicable after the end of the financial year and shall submit them and report thereon to the council.
- The RFO shall complete the Accounts of the council contained in the Annual Return (as supplied by the Auditor appointed from time to time by the Audit Commission) and shall submit the Annual Return for approval and authorisation by the council within the timescales set by the Accounts and Audit Regulations.
- The RFO shall ensure that there is adequate and effective system of internal audit of the council’s accounting, financial and other operations in accordance with proper practices. Any officer or member of the council shall, if the RFO or Internal Auditor requires, make available such documents of the council which appear to the RFO or Internal Auditor to be necessary for the purpose of the internal audit and shall supply the RFO or Internal Auditor with such information and explanation as the RFO or Internal Auditor considers necessary for that purpose.
- The Internal Auditor shall be appointed by and shall carry out the work required by the council in accordance with proper practices. The Internal Auditor, who shall be competent and independent of the operations of the council, shall report to council in writing, or in person, on a regular basis with a minimum of one annual written report in respect of each financial year. In order to demonstrate objectivity and independence, the internal auditor shall be free from any conflicts of interest and have no involvement in the financial decision making, management or control of the council.
- The RFO shall make arrangements for the opportunity for inspection of the accounts, books, and vouchers and for the display or publication of any Notices and statements of account required by Audit Commission Act 1998 and the Accounts and Audit Regulations.
- The RFO shall, as soon as practicable, bring to the attention of all councillors any correspondence or report from the Internal or External Auditor, unless the correspondence is of a purely administrative matter.
Banking Arrangements and Cheques
- The council’s banking arrangements, including the Bank Mandate, shall be made by the RFO and approved by the council. They shall be regularly reviewed for efficiency.
- A schedule of the payments made, forming part of the Agenda for the Meeting, shall be prepared by the RFO and be presented to the Finance & Properties Committee. If the schedule is in order it shall be authorised by a resolution of the Committee and shall be initialled by the Chairman of the Meeting. If more appropriate the detail may be shown in the Minutes of the Meeting.
- Cheques drawn on or payments authorised from the bank account in accordance with the schedule referred to in paragraph 30b shall be signed or authorised by two signatories, either members of the Town Council and/or the RFO.
- To indicate agreement of the details shown on the cheque, payment authorisation or order for payment with the counterfoil and the invoice or similar documentation, the signatories shall each also initial the cheque list or approve the authorisation list.
Payment of Accounts
- All payments shall be effected by cheque or other order drawn on the council’s bankers or by electronic transfer.
- All invoices for payment shall be examined, verified and certified by the RFO. The RFO shall satisfy him/herself that the work, goods or services to which the invoice relates shall have been received, carried out, examined and approved.
- The RFO shall examine invoices in relation to arithmetic accuracy and shall analyse them to the appropriate expenditure heading. The RFO shall take all steps to settle all invoices submitted, and which are in order in a timely manner.
- The RFO may provide petty cash to officers for the purpose of defraying operational and other expenses. Vouchers for payments made shall be forwarded to the RFO with a claim for reimbursement:
- The RFO shall maintain as petty cash float of £150 for the purpose of defraying operational and other expenses. Vouchers for payments made from petty cash shall be kept to substantiate the payment.
- In addition, it is agreed to hold an additional float of up to £20.00, (currently £8.00), to ensure change is kept.
- Income received must not be paid into the petty cash float but must be separately banked, as provided elsewhere in these regulations.
- Payments to maintain the petty cash float shall be shown separately on the schedule of payments presented to council under 30b above.
- Random checks to be carried out on both floats by a Councillor.
- If thought appropriate by the council, payment for utility supplies (energy, telephone and water) may be made by variable Direct Debit provided that the instructions are signed by two members and the RFO and any payments are reported to council as made.
Payment of Salaries
- As an employer, the council shall make arrangements to meet fully the statutory requirements placed on all employers by PAYE and National Insurance legislation. The payment of all salaries shall be made in accordance with payroll records and the rules of PAYE and National Insurance currently operating, and salaries shall be as agreed by council.
- Payment of salaries and payment of deductions from salary such as may be made for tax, national insurance and pension contributions, may be made in accordance with the payroll records and on the appropriate dates stipulated in employment contracts, provided that each payment is reported to and ratified by the next available council meeting.
- Loans and Investments
- All loans and investments shall be negotiated in the name of the council and shall be for a set period in accordance with council policy.
- The council shall consider the need for an Investment Policy which, if drawn up, shall be in accordance with relevant regulations, proper practices and guidance.
- All investments of money under the control of the council shall be in the name of the council.
- All borrowings shall be effected in the name of the council, after obtaining any necessary borrowing approval. Any application for borrowing approval shall be approved by council as to terms and purpose.
- All investment certificates and other documents relating thereto shall be retained in the custody of the RFO.
- The collection of all sums due to the council shall be the responsibility of and under the supervision of the RFO.
- Particulars of all charges to be made for work done, services rendered or goods supplied shall be agreed annually by the council, notified to the RFO and the RFO shall be responsible for the collection of all accounts due to the council.
- The council will review all fees and charges annually, following a report by the Clerk.
- Any sums found to be irrecoverable and any bad debts shall be reported to the council and shall be written off in the year where agreed to do so.
- All sums received on behalf of the council shall be banked intact as directed by the RFO. In all cases, all receipts shall be deposited with the council’s bankers with such frequency as the RFO considers necessary.
- The origin of each receipt shall be entered on the paying-in slip.
- Personal cheques shall not be cashed out of money held on behalf of the council.
- The RFO shall promptly complete any VAT Return that is required. Any repayment claim shall be made at least annually coinciding with the financial year end.
- Where any significant sums of cash are regularly received by the Council, the RFO shall take such steps as are agreed by the council to ensure that more than one person is present when the cash is counted in the first instance, that there is a reconciliation to some form of control such as ticket issues, and that appropriate care is taken in the security and safety of individuals banking such cash.
Orders for Work, Goods and Services
- 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. Copies of orders shall be retained.
- Order books shall be controlled by the RFO.
- All members and Officers are responsible for obtaining value for money at all times. An officer issuing an official order shall ensure as far as reasonable and practicable that the best available terms are obtained in respect of each transaction, usually by obtaining three or more quotations or estimates from appropriate suppliers, subject to any de minimis provisions in Regulation 37(h) below.
- The RFO shall verify the lawful nature of any proposed purchase before the issue of any order, and in the case of new or infrequent purchases payments, the RFO shall ensure that the statutory authority shall be reported to the meeting at which the order is approved so that the Minutes can record the power being used.
- Every contract shall comply with these financial regulations, and no exceptions shall be made, otherwise than in an emergency, provided that these regulations shall not apply to contracts which relate to items (i) to (vi) below:
- for the supply of gas, electricity, water, sewerage and telephone services;
- for specialist services such as are provided by legal professionals acting in disputes;
- for work to be executed or goods or materials to be supplied which consist of repairs to or parts for existing machinery or equipment or plant;
- for work to be executed or goods or materials to be supplied which constitute an extension of an existing contract by the council;
- for additional audit work of the external Auditor up to an estimated value of £500 (in excess of this sum the Clerk shall act after consultation with the Mayor or Deputy Mayor or the Chairman of the Finance and Properties Committee);
- for goods or materials proposed to be purchased which are proprietary articles and/or are only sold at a fixed price.
- Where it is intended to enter into a contract exceeding £25,000 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 to be taken from the appropriate approved list.
- When applications are made to waive financial regulations relating to contracts to enable a price to be negotiated without competition, the reason shall be embodied in a recommendation to the council.
- Such invitation to tender shall state the general nature of the intended contract and the Clerk shall obtain the necessary technical assistance to prepare a specification in appropriate cases. The invitation shall in addition state that tenders must be addressed to the Clerk in the ordinary course of post. Each tendering firm shall be supplied with a specifically marked envelope in which the tender is to be sealed and remain sealed until the prescribed date for opening tenders for that contract.
- All sealed tenders shall be opened at the same time on the prescribed date by the Clerk in the presence of at least one member of council.
- If fewer than three tenders are received for contracts above £25,000 or if all the tenders are identical, the council may make such arrangements as it thinks fit for procuring the goods or materials or executing the works.
- Any invitation to tender issued under this regulation shall contain a statement to the effect of Standing Orders 18(d)
- When it is to enter into a contract less than £25,000 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 or RFO shall obtain 3 quotations (priced descriptions of the proposed supply); where the value is below £5,000 and above £1,000 the Clerk shall strive to obtain 3 estimates. Otherwise, Regulation 36(c) above shall apply.
- The council shall not be obliged to accept the lowest or any tender, quote or estimate.
Payment Under Contracts for Building or Other Works
- Payments on account of the contract sum shall be made within the time specified in the contract by the RFO upon authorised certificates of the architect or other consultants engaged to supervise the contract (subject to any percentage withholding as may be agreed in the particular contract).
- Where contracts provide for payment by instalments, the RFO shall maintain a record of all such payments. In any case where it is estimated that the total cost of work carried out under a contract, excluding agreed variations, will exceed the contract sum of 5% or more, a report shall be submitted to the council.
- Any variation to a contract, or addition to, or omission from a contract must be approved by the council and Clerk to the Contractor in writing, the council being informed where the final cost is likely to exceed the financial provision.
Stores and Equipment
- The officer in charge of each section shall be responsible for the care and custody of stores and equipment in that section.
- Delivery Notes shall be obtained in respect of all goods received into store or otherwise delivered and goods must be checked as to order and quality at the time delivery is made.
- Stocks shall be kept at the minimum levels consistent with operational requirements.
- The RFO shall be responsible for periodic checks of stocks and stores at least annually.
Assets, Properties and Estates
- The Clerk shall make appropriate arrangements for the custody of all title deeds of properties owned by the Council. The RFO shall ensure a 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 Accounts and Audit Regulations.
- No property shall be sold, leased or otherwise disposed of without the authority of the council, together with any other consents required by law, save where the estimated value of any one item of tangible movable property does not exceed £500.
- The RFO shall ensure that an appropriate and accurate Register of Assets and Investments is kept up to date. The continued existence of tangible assets shown in the Register shall be verified at least annually, possibly in conjunction with a health and safety inspection of assets.
- Following the annual risk assessment (see below paragraph 42), the RFO shall effect all insurances and negotiate all claims on the council’s insurers.
- The RFO shall keep a record of all insurances effected by the council and the property and risks covered thereby and annually review it.
- The Clerk shall be notified of any loss liability or damage or of any event likely to lead to a claim, and shall report these to council at the next available meeting.
- All appropriate employees of the council shall be included in a suitable fidelity guarantee insurance which shall cover the maximum risk exposure as determined by the Council.
- Where the council is sole trustee of a Charitable body, the Clerk shall ensure that separate accounts are kept of the funds held on charitable trusts and separate financial reports made in such form as shall be appropriate, in accordance with Charity Law and legislation, or as determined by the Charity Commission. The Clerk and RFO shall arrange for any Audit or Independent Examination as may be required by Charity Law or any Governing Document.
- The council is responsible for putting in place arrangements for the management of risk. The RFO shall prepare, for approval by the council, risk management policy statements in respect of all activities of the council. Risk policy statements and consequential risk management arrangements shall be reviewed by the council at least annually.
- When considering any new activity, the RFO shall prepare a draft risk assessment including risk management proposals for consideration and adoption by the council.
Revision of Financial Regulations
It shall be the duty of The Council to review the Financial Regulations of the council from time to time. The Clerk shall make arrangements to monitor changes in legislation or proper practices and shall advise the council of any requirement for a consequential amendment to these financial regulations.