Buckland Village, Surrey Buckland Windmill Buckland Windmill Vanes

Transparency 2021

The Government, in The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 set out a new audit framework for local public authorities.  Section 9 of the Local Audit (Smaller Authorities) Regulations 2015 states there is no requirement to have a limited assurance review or to submit an Annual Return to an external auditor, provided the authority has certified itself as exempt at a meeting of the authority held after 31st March 2021 and that a completed Certificate Of Exemption is submitted notifying the external auditor.

One of the conditions a Council has to satisfy before it can certify itself as exempt is to confirm neither payments nor receipts exceed £25,000. On 7th December 2020, Buckland Parish Council (“Council”) received a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payment of £5,293.17 and this resulted in total receipts exceeding £25,000. For the first time since the new framework was introduced, Buckland Parish Council, finding itself unable to certify itself exempt, was required to submit its Annual Return to the external auditor for a limited assurance review.

On 9th September 2021, PKF Littlejohn LLP (Council’s external auditor) issued its External Auditor Report and Certificate 2020/21 to advise “On the basis of our review of Sections 1 and 2 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR), in our opinion the information in Sections 1 and 2 of the AGAR is in accordance with Proper Practices and no other matters have come to our attention giving cause for concern that relevant legislation and regulatory requirement have not been met.

As the receipt of these CIL monies takes total receipts for the 2020/21 financial year above £25,000, Council is not required to comply with the Transparency Code for smaller authorities for the 2020/21 financial year. Whilst Council, with receipts and payments of less than £200,000, is not required to comply with the Transparency Code that is mandatory for larger Councils, recommended “good practice” is for Council to observe that Transparency Code.

As Council’s budget for 2021/22 forecasts receipts and payments of less than £25,000, Council expects this change in reporting requirement will be temporary and that Council will be required to comply with the Transparency Code for smaller authorities for the 2021/22 financial year.  For the ease of readers, Council decided to publish information for the 2020/21 financial year consistent with the information that has been published each year since the Transparency Codes were first published and to publish additional information for the 2020/2021 financial year, consistent with its wish to observe recommended good practice. {if you encounter any difficulty accessing the link you can download the list of items of ex-Vat expenditure with a value exceeding £100 here.

The intention of Regulation 15(2) of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015, that sets a list of documents for smaller authorities to publish in order to comply with the “Transparency Code for smaller authorities”, is to ensure local electors and rate payers are able to easily access relevant information about the authorities’ accounts and governance.  The relevant documents for Buckland Parish Council are available to download via the links set out below.

Information relating to the 2021 Annual Return

2021 Annual Return – Annual Governance Statement

2021 Annual Return – Financials

2021 Annual Return – Internal Audit Report
completed by Peter Barclay.

2021 Annual Return – External Auditor Report and Certificate

Bank Reconciliation, year on year variance analysis
A copy of the bank reconciliation and an explanation of any significant variances between the current and previous year (matching those provided to the auditors) are attached for completeness. 

Schedule of payments
In accordance with the requirements set out in the Transparency regulations a list of items of ex-Vat expenditure with a value exceeding £100 has been made available to download.

Timely settlement of invoices
The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 statutory guidance requires all local authorities, including Parish Councils, to publish performance data on their website pages to show the proportion of valid and undisputed invoices paid within 30 days and to disclose the amount of interest due (whether paid or not) on invoices settled late.  Buckland Parish Council noted, in the minutes of the meeting held on 11th May 2020, that 100% of valid and undisputed invoices had been paid within 30 days during the 2020/21 financial year and that no interest had been charged or paid on invoices.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

The Community Infrastructure regulations require any parish council in receipt of CIL monies to report on any income received and expenditure incurred during each financial year. Buckland Parish Council received CIL of £5,293.17 during the 2020/21 financial year and no expenditure has yet been incurred. The funds are held in a specific reserve.

Exercise of Public Rights

When Council met on 4th May 2021, it set the period for the exercise of public rights for the accounts for the year ending 31st March 2021 to commence on Monday 7th June 2021 and to end on Friday 16th July 2021 as detailed in this draft announcement (a copy of which will be displayed on the parish council notice board no later than Friday 4th June 2021 and remain on display until Friday 16th July 2021).  For more information please download the summary of electors rights with respect to Council accounts.

Councillor responsibilities and members interest

The Annual Meeting of Council was held on 4th May 2021 and the attached extract sets out the list of Councillor Responsibilities.  A copy of the full minutes can be downloaded by visiting the Parish Council Meetings page of this website.  A register of Members Interests is maintained by Mole Valley District Council (“MVDC”) and individual registers can be downloaded.

Details of Public Land and building assets

Buckland Parish Council arranges for the open area of grass on Buckland Village Green to be cut and supports the local volunteer effort to maintain the village pond as an area of recreation for the benefit of all persons living in the locality.  Buckland Village Green and Pond is included in Surrey County Council’s listing of registered village greens as VG5. The surface area of the registered village green, situated either side of Rectory Lane, Buckland is approximately 0.534 acres.  Whilst the Parish Council does not hold legal title to any land or buildings the registered village green has always been accorded a token value of £1 in its register of fixed assets.

Click prior year comparable information to view the transparency disclosures for the financial year to 31st March 2020 and the annual return schedules for earlier years.