How Council Affairs are Governed

Governance

Walton-in-Gordano can have up to five Councillors; these are ideally elected every four years.  If, at election time, no more than five people are nominated for election, the nominees are deemed elected without an election actually taking place.  If there are fewer than five Councillors, additional Council Members can be “co-opted’ by application and interview.  A co-opted member has the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as an elected member: he or she serves until the next election falls due, and can then put themselves forward for re-election as an elected member.

The Council operates under five pieces of Governance paperwork that each new member must comply with on their election/co-option to the Council:

Declaration of Acceptance of Office has to be completed, undertaking to conform to the demands and aspirations expected of a Councillor

Register of Member’s Interests form has to be completed - see the 'Councillors' page of this website for the current ones. This form is designed to highlight any area where the interests of the Member may come into conflict with the activities and decision processes of the Council (if this happens, the Member must “declare an interest” in relation to such activity or decision process if such come before the Council).

The Code of Conduct  is a detailed expectation of how members will behave towards each other, to the Clerk, and to other staff, if any, and in the conduct of Council affairs.

The Standing Orders  state how meetings will be conducted

The Financial Regulations  indicate how the accounting and financial responsibilities of the Council will be managed.


 

What we spend and how we spend it

The Council does not borrow, or receive grants: the only grants (donations) it gives are as detailed in the budget as set in January.  It does not issue contracts, but seeks quotations for such occasional work as erecting a notice board.  There is a small contingency in the budget for Councillors expenses - attendance at a course or other relevant event - but Member’s do not receive allowances or expenses beyond this.

Each January meeting of the Council sees a discussion of the current expenditure to date, the Budget for the forthcoming financial year April-March, the anticipated bank balance to be carried forward and the Precept to be formally sought from North Somerset Council to provide Parish Council funding.

An Accounting Spreadsheet, containing budget, Precept and Actual Expenditure to date during the financial year is circulated to every Councillor prior to each meeting.  The precept is received from North Somerset Council via BACS 50% in April and 50% in September.  All expenditure is via cheque, direct debit or standing order - there is no petty cash.  All cheques are approved, signed (by 2 Councillors) and minuted at the meeting prior to the relevant payment falling due.

After the end of each financial year all accounting paperwork is sent to to an Internal Auditor approved by the Council for scrutiny of data accuracy and the adoption of best-practice in management and presentation.  The Council's accounts are not large enough to require an external audit, but self-certification to this effect has to be notified to the external auditors, together with confirmation that the correct accounts publication protocls are being followed.