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0 votes
Our Clerk is no longer publishing a list of payments approved at the meetings in the minutes of the meetings. This is despite the Financial Regulations of the Council clearly stating that the list must be included in the minutes (or attached as an Appendix).

The Clerk's argument is that the Internal Auditor recommended that only the total payment should be included in the minutes.
by (1.5k points)

3 Answers

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Best answer
The internal auditor is employed by the council to do just that, audit. Any "suggestions or recommendations" have no authority until the council agrees to adopt them. Even as the RFO the clerk surely does not have the power to change the requirements of the adopted financial policy unilaterally. The council may well feel that the internal auditors recommendations are relevant but it is for them to agree to change what is clearly on record as a procedure agreed by council.
by (25.8k points)
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+1 vote
This is an odd one. Has the Clerk misunderstood the Auditor's recommendation? Is it written in the audit letter, or is the Clerk reporting a conversation they had? If you have more than one member of staff, you could aggregate the salaries rather than listing them individually. Beyond that, the Transparency Code requires you to list them, which is why it's stated in your financial regulations.
by (52.8k points)
0 votes
This is something that the External Auditor should assess.  Any payments should be made available through the Freedom of Information Act, and failure to make them accessible through a publication scheme would make FOI the only route for anyone to see them.

Such  practice could invite numerous FOI requests, with the Clerk making un neccesary work for them self responding to them

If the payments over £500 are not published anywhere that would be in breach of the Local Govt transparency code.
by (34.6k points)
I agree with your point about creating extra work by not including the list of payments with the minutes.  This is why I don't understand the logic in what the Internal Auditor has apparently recommended - which makes me think things are not quite what they seem.  It's especially worrying as the Internal Auditor is employed by a local, not-for-profit, organisation supported by town and parish councils to provide services, advice and training to officers and councillors.

The payments over £500 are published although there's no indication of which committee approved them.
Any change to the Standard orders must be put as a motion for full council to approve, and not just implemented on the fly by the clerk just because somebody withe dubious understanding of legislation recommends it. If £480 per month was being spent on perfume or expensive trainers, how would the cllrs become aware if a recommendation like this Internal Auditor's was adopted?

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