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Woodhouse Parish Council

Serving the people of Woodhouse & Woodhouse Eaves

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Clerk: Ann Irving
272 Forest Road, Woodhouse
Loughborough LE12 8UA

Tel: 01509 890050

Council Administration & Finance

Each year at the May meeting the Members elect a Chair and Vice-Chair, and decide who will represent Council's interests on Council committees and any relevant outside organisations. The Chair and Vice-Chair sign an Acceptance of Office.

Every four years there is an election. Anyone over 18 who is resident or employed within or near to the Parish may stand. The Council may have up to nine councillors. At the first meeting of a new Council the Members sign an Acceptance of Office and agree to abide by the adopted Code of Conduct.

Members also complete a Register of Interests and declare pecuniary [financial] interests in any relevant matter on a Council agenda. These declarations are minuted. The Borough Council Standards & Monitoring Office holds the Registers and will publish them on their website, to which there will be a link from the parish council website.

The Council operates within a set of Standing Orders tailored to parish circumstances. The Standing Orders come from the National Association of Local Councils. The Standing Orders set out how the Council functions. They state that the Council should have a minimum of four meetings a year - Woodhouse has a meeting every month except August.

Financial Matters are governed by Financial Regulations tailored to parish circumstances. The Regulations are a model set recommended by the Audit Commission. The Council is subject to two audit processes, one internal and one external. In addition, the Vice-Chair checks the accounts every month and all payments have to be approved by full council. When the external audit is completed, notices are displayed to residents informing them of where they may inspect the audited accounts. A Finance Committee makes recommendations to Council. The external audit requires evidence of conformance to good governance, health and safety. Evidence of regular and annual inspections [e.g. of electrical, fire and gas installations] is provided to the internal auditor as evidence of good governance.

The actions of the Council are undertaken by a Proper Officer [the Clerk to the Council] who is the legal entity of the council and a Responsible Financial Officer. Their roles are to ensure that the Council functions properly and that its finances are well managed. There is also a Village Hall Caretaker on site who handles room bookings.

In addition there are contractors who undertake maintenance and repair work. Some have contracts that last several years which resulted from tenders whilst others work to individual quotations approved by the Council as needs arise. The Parish Council has a considerable property portfolio. It issues Licences to Access Council Land to anyone with a gate onto e.g. the playing field, allotments or elsewhere. In turn, Council signs licences issued by the County Council for permission to maintain roadside seats and gardens, such as those at the entrance to Beaumanor Gardens and on the corner of Main Street and Beacon Road.

Supporting the Council are several organisations that provide advice, guidance and training. These include the Borough and County Councils. The National Association of Local Councils provides guidance on legal topics and the local Leicestershire and Rutland Association of Local Councils and the Society of Local Council Clerks offer advice and training on a wide range of council-related matters.

The Council is not required by law to hold formal, written policies on some matters e.g. health & safety or equal opportunities because it has too few staff but it operates within the guidelines provided by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Health and Safety Executive. Examples are the hearing loop for the hard of hearing in the Village Hall, the disabled toilet for wheelchair users in the Village Hall, new building and public toilets, disabled parking spaces on the car park, and DDA compliant playground equipment. The Council follows best practice as far as is reasonable for a small parish and encourages people of all abilities to both visit Council premises or to take up employment. The Council's policy documents are below.

Complaints about the Council that cannot be resolved through raising the matter with the Proper Officer or Chair are handled by the Standards and Monitoring Officers at Charnwood Borough Council.

The council is also the sole Trustee of the King George's Field Charity. All the land and buildings from the village hall down to the bottom of the playing field have charity status which gives protection for recreation in perpetuity. There is a charity trustee meeting every month immediately after the council meeting. Its accounts are audited and these, together with other documents, are submitted to the Charity Commission each year. The council as trustee for the charity must conform to charity law and takes advice when needed from lawyers. You can read more about the charity from the menu on the left of this page or by going to another page at www.woodhouseparishcouncil.org.uk/king-georges-field-charity.html

Annual Audit

There is a 3-stage process for agreeing the council's financial practices. The parish council approves the year-end accounts. This is followed by two audits. An internal auditor appointed by the council checks that the systems and procedures are in order and signs the Annual Governance Return. An external auditor, appointed by central Government, then checks the statement of accounts and signs the same Annual Return form. This parish is usually given an 'unqualified' audit - this means that everything is in order.

Un-audited statements have to be published and may be subject to changes after External Audit. Files on this page labelled 'Final' have been successfully audited.

Any member of the public can ask to see the accounts and any of the source ledgers, files and any other relevant papers. This is the law. A notice is displayed inviting this. This is arranged with the responsible Financial Officer.