The Town Council is required to make arrangements for the proper administration of its financial affairs and to ensure that one officer is responsible for the administration of those affairs. This requirement is detailed in the Local Government Act 1972 (s.151). At Knowsley Town Council, the Clerk holds the post of “responsible financial officer”. This arrangement is similar to that in most town and parish councils.
The Town Council is responsible for ensuring that its financial management is both adequate and effective. This process of management includes a sound system of internal control that includes arrangements for the management of risk. The Town Council conducts an annual review of the effectiveness of internal control and this document is available for public scrutiny.
The Town Council maintains accounts and supporting records in accordance with the appropriate legislation and national guidelines. These accounts are available for public scrutiny.
The Town Council’s financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March. A budget is set for the financial year and regular reports are submitted to Town Council meetings in order that councillors can scrutinise the Town Council’s financial position. These reports are available for public scrutiny.
At the end of the financial year, a Statement of Accounts is produced for consideration by councillors. Following this consideration, the Statement of Accounts and supporting documentation are sent to the nationally selected auditors for analysis. This documentation is referred to as the “Annual Return” and the Town Council’s auditors are selected by Government. The Annual Return is also subject to public scrutiny.
The Town Council prides itself on prudent and efficient financial management. This has enabled the Town Council to keep fees and charges down and administer a concessionary scheme for local groups. In addition, efficient management of financial resources has enabled the Town Council to undertake an ongoing programme of refurbishment at its three indoor facilities in addition to improvements in public open spaces.