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Transparency code for smaller authorities.

0 votes
The above code is now mandatory for smaller authorities whose turnover is less than £25k. Turnover is defined as the higher of its income or expenditure.

So, we have a council who have never had an expenditure greater than 25k and whose income is half of its expenditure (another story). The expenditure budget for this year is £18k but ....

The council suddenly announced that it will overspend its budget this year by at least £8k (44%) and this means that the transparency code does not apply.

I  think that a councils income and expenditure can only be determined at the end of the financial year when the accounts are submitted.

What does everybody else think?
by (240 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
So far as I can see, your council is already required to have met the transparency requirements in relation to the financial year 2014-5.

Although it sounds rather impractical, it appears possible that a council can alternate between being "smaller" and not.  It isn't clear that the government figured out how this would work in practice.

Certainly a council can decide which side of the boundary it lies by manipulating its income and expenditure, although this would seem a highly irrational way to decide a budget.  Yes, the audit or  transparency arrangements will only be certain at the end of the financial year. Just how a council should behave during the year when it is close to the boundary is unclear.

I wonder why the council wants to evade the transparency requirements?  They aren't really very onerous.
by (30.8k points)
But this is a council that 4 months ago, outside of a full meeting, decided to stop letting allotment plots (which account for 24% of their income) even though there are a number available. No rational reason was given. I had to resort to a Freedom of Information request to find out which Councillor made the decision, on what date and why. The official response was that they "do not hold that information".
A council cannot make a lawful decision outside a formally constituted meeting, and then only on matters identified in an agenda published at least 3 clear days ahead. Unless the decision has been delegated to a council official, but a decision making power of this kind must be formally granted to the official by a council resolution. No individual councillor can make a decision on behalf of the council. It should be possible to review all council decisions by inspecting the minutes, access to which is a legal right for electors.
Thanks for the opinion. It agrees with my own. However I feel moved to raise the general subject of accountability in a new question.

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