One of our parishioners has raised a complaint against our Parish Council, regarding safeguarding the public purse and I think they are correct in this matter, your input would very much be appreciated.
We have had a claim come into the Parish for flood damage caused by flooding from our land into their land, this occurred during a period of exceptionally heavy rain.
This was passed to the Insurance Co to deal with as we did not admit liability due to the exceptional weather, and at present, the Insurance has not made a determination as to liability.
However, at a recent Parish Council meeting, the Chairman unilaterally pushed for and won a payment to the claimant (majority vote) stating that he wanted the matter settled and had no interest in liability or culpability, especially as the claim was for £350 and we have an excess of £250.
The Parishioner has pointed out that the Parish has a legal obligation to protect the public purse, and by paying this has:
- Effectively admitted guilt on the part of the parish
- Has made a payment without due course to culpability or liability
- Has made an illegal payment as due legal process has not been followed!
They have highlighted this further by giving an example, being that if a person went to the PC with an unestablished claim, then by the Parish's actions in this the Parish would have to pay out on a potentially fraudulent claim as the president had been set.
I've looked at our Financial Regulation and all other regulations and this isn't specifically covered, consequently, I am at a bit of a loss.
Has the Chairman taken the Parish down the dark road of illegal payments or is he allowed to disregard safeguarding the public purse?
As the old saying goes....HELP!
(and very concerned!)