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I must confess my brain staring to hurt so excuse me if I repeat myself from previous threads but I am having real Finance issues.

If at committee we decide to spend some money is it at that stage for the clerk to say whether the spend is lawful.?    Assuming that a resolution is subsequently made the execution of that request is the forwarded to Finance .  And it is here I am anxious to establish the precise role of the Finance Committee and the RFO/Clerk.  My FCs TOR say the role is to “authorise payments”.    Now is that a rubber-stamping exercise making sure it comes off the right budget and that THE  budget has sufficient “credit” or do they have a more fundamental and defined role.  So for example could they throw it back and say sorry its IMHO unlawful or indeed for any other reason.  As an example I once repaired a footpath and the committee said “ we will refund your expenses”.  However, when the request got to Finance, they threw it back as it was not authorised beforehand .  So do Finance/RFO have some kind of defined superior function ?

by (4.3k points)

1 Answer

0 votes
I am not surprised that the "brain hurts" given the confusion. Committees are set up by the instruction of the council and their terms of reference ( what the can and cannot do) should be clearly defined. The role of RFO again should be clearly defined in the case of the clerk in their contract of employment

The council can delegate defined powers to a committee including making payments on behalf of the council. These should be well defined ( e.g. maximum amounts, and with reference to budget availability) and it would be expected that a committee would liaise with the RFO( and or clerk) on budgets and legality of proposed actions.

Confusion and mistakes will arise when any of these functions are NOT defined. Should questions arise then the committee should always refer back to the council to seek their decision on the not take a guess at it.

Terms of reference can be visited and changed by council at any time and it should be expected that a robust TOR would develop over time and good management so that a committee can fully function efficiently on behalf of the council.

Unfortunately doing this does not sit well with lazy councils or councillors.
by (22.5k points)
I must confess as a former head of Admin and auditor I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with being a Councillor.   I find that my Chairman , various senior Councillors, the clerk,  NALC and members of my local affiliated associations have one thing in common i.e. they simply wont reply to an correspondence or challenge.  Ignore him and he will eventually go away is the only policy they have for defending the delivery of poor service

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