Our Parish Council uses the model Financial Regulations, which provide for the Chair and the Clerk/RFO to jointly authorise expenditure up to £500. Unfortunately, this seems to be used to avoid due process.
For example, at this month's meeting the Clerk confirmed that he had received a quote for (less than £500) to prune some overhanging vegetation. A Councillor asked the Clerk to confirm that the quote had been obtained in compliance with the process laid down in the Financial Regulations/Standing Orders. The Chair and the Clerk then began a mumbled conversation from which it was apparent that neither was clear what the process should have been. The Vice Chair then jumped in and told the Councillor it didn't matter, because the Chair and Clerk/RFO could authorise it without Council approval.
The Vice Chair clearly thought he was being clever, but this is not the first time the Council has been asked to approve a payment, only for the Vice Chair to suggest this power is exercised when the debate in Council turns sticky. it seems odd that the Financial Regulations should encourage the avoidance of scrutiny in this way.