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Audit trail for payments

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We get a list of payments each month.  However the list of payments does not refer to the specific minute agreeing to requisition particular goods or services.  Should we insist that the minute associated with a payment is included on the list of payments, to ensure that there is an adequate audit trail?  Our Financial Regulations require the Council to have procedures in place that include an adequate audit trail.
asked by (1.5k points)

1 Answer

0 votes
If they are regular payments, the NALC model financial orders allow for an addendum to be added to detail regular payments that are approved once in May at the Annual Council meeting - items such as gas, electricity, wages, regular monthly payments etc.  If they don't fall into this category, you could request a minute reference but the likelihood that small payments for say, office stationery, would be discussed on their own, is unlikely.  I would suggest that you would only require a minute reference for payments over £250 or for one-off project related payments that are outside the usual business of the council...
answered by (12.5k points)
Based on what you say £249 could be spent without committee approval (i.e. minute reference).  How does the Council ensure that the £249 is being spent on the right things?  Couldn't there be a minute approving spend on, say, office stationery, up to a budget limit each month?
Its up to the council to set the limit and decide on the specifics.  You could argue that if office stationery is on the approved budget that there is the power to spend up to that budget level anyway.... if you are concerned about what the Clerk is spending money on, doesn't that indicate a level of dissatisfaction with the Clerk rather than the issue of the money being spent without approval? If the Clerk has to obtain permission through a meeting minute to buy a book of stamps for £60 before doing so, that will prevent the business of the council from running smoothly and would probably be dispiriting for the Clerk.  That said, I don't know the situation and I am just offering an outsider's opinion.

There are other methods of audit trail that can be adopted - the invoices can be inspected and signed off before payment for example.

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