Congleton Town Council is financed by a precept which is added to the Council tax bill sent to all householders in April each year. The Town Council calculates its budget in October to decide how much it will need to deliver its services for the town, and then requests this from Cheshire East Council in January. This means estimating up to 18 months ahead the money that will be needed which can be a challenge!
The Town Council’s finances are ultimately governed by the Accounts and Audit regulations 2015 which is a statutory instrument of government but the day to day operations are carried out with guidance from its own Standing Orders and Financial Regulations which can be found in the Council’s Constitution.
The Council produces an annual governance statement and accounting statements which are subject to a review by the external auditor appointed under the provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and National Audit Office’s Code of Audit Practice. The external auditors change every 3 years. The Council has a duty to publish the Annual Governance Statement and Accounting Statements once they have been approved by Council. Members of the public have a right to inspect all documents relating to these for a period of 30 working days after approval.
The Council also has to appoint an internal auditor to check that all the processes of the council comply with regulations. Our current internal auditors are Auditing Solutions based in Wiltshire. They carry out three internal audits per year and produce a report each time. They also have to sign the Annual Return.
Congleton Town Council also publishes the unaudited Financial Statements which are produced by the external accountants (DCK Beavers who advise the National Association of Local Councils – NALC) in the FRSSE format (Financial Reporting Standards for Smaller Enterprises) to show the Town Council’s accounts in a similar format to a small business. It shows more detail than the Annual return for information.