Budget and Precept
The parish council will agree a budget for the financial year taking into account all likely income and expenditure for the year ahead, by February at the latest. The budget also identifies the amount of money required to be collected from the parish council taxpayers in the form of a ‘precept’, which is the shortfall between likely expenditure and income. The contribution from each council taxpayer is collected by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council as part of the annual council tax bill and paid to the parish council in two equal sums.
The precept for 2019/20 was £327,624 which impacted on the Band D council taxpayer by £83.79 for the year.
Public inspection of the accounts
The parish council’s financial year ends on 31st March, thereafter the accounts for the financial year ending 31st March can be inspected during a 30-day inspection period in the summer. During this period electors can ask questions of the auditor and may make an objection to the accounts if thought necessary. A notice of the commencement date for the exercise of public rights will be issued to mark the start of the 30-day inspection period which is likely to be in June/July/August.
The Annual Return
The annual return is a document that:
- reports the annual accounting statements approved by the council;
- records that the external auditor has fulfilled their statutory responsibility;
- certifies that the council has discharged its statutory duties in relation to its financial affairs;
- informs the local council tax taxpayer and elector about what and how their council has been doing during the last financial year;
- acts as a source of information for government and other stakeholders on the activity of local councils.
The annual return comprises four linked sections:
- The annual governance statement;
- The accounting statements;
- The external auditor’s certificate and opinion;
- The report from the internal auditor.
Sections 1 and 2 of the Annual Return are published after approval by the council, any time between 1st April and 30th June each year. The complete Annual Return, containing section 3, must be published online by 30th September.