TOR – Finance & Policy Committee

Terms of Reference 2024/25 Finance & Policy Committee (F&P)

(A pdf copy of this policy is available for download here.)

St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council has appointed a number of Committees to undertake work for and on behalf of the Council. The Committees will abide by the criteria detailed in the Council’s Standing Orders and Financial Regulations.

This Terms of Reference document sets out the specific responsibilities of the Finance & Policy Committee and confirms the following:

Remit: Council Finance and Policy administration working within the allocated delegated budget.

Composition: Seven (7) Elected members (Voting)
Two (2) Substitute members (Voting)

Note: All Councillors not elected to the Finance & Policy Committee may attend public sessions and participate in the meeting but have no voting rights.

Quorum:                    Four (4) members
Chairmanship:          Chairman and Vice-Chairman to be elected by the members at the first committee meeting held in each Council year.
Meetings:                   4 times a year (Quarterly).  In the event of an item of urgency, an extra ordinary meeting can be called in line with legislation and Council’s adopted standing orders.
Timing:                       7.00pm
Venue:                       The Brannel Room, 22 Fore Street, St Stephen, PL26 7NN
Reports to:                 Full Council.
Administration:         Parish Council Office
Term of Appointment:            1 year

Legal Reference:   Governance and Accountability for Smaller Authorities in England: A Practitioners’ Guide to Proper Practices to be applied in the preparation of statutory annual accounts and governance                  statements 2024
Finance Act 2019
Data Protection Act 2018
General Data Protection Regulations 2018
Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015
Adopted Code of Conduct 2012
Adopted Standing Orders
Adopted Financial Regulations
Localism Act 2011
Equalities Act 2010
Local Government Act 2003
The Value Added Tax Regulations 1995
Nolan Principles of Life 1995
Local Government Act 1972
Public Bodies (Admissions to meetings) Act 1960
Relevant case law

Note: This list is not exhaustive

Terms of Reference including delegated matters:  

  • To consider such matters as may be delegated by the Council from time to time.
  • To support the Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) who is responsible for the proper administration of the Parish Council’s financial affairs and is responsible for the maintenance of any documents and records necessary for the effective fulfilment of the Committee’s duties as listed.
  • To consider the Clerk/RFO report on Councils annual estimates of income & expenditure (Budget) for continuing services and payments of capital expenditure for the next three financial years; and to make recommendations to Council on the Budget & Precept in time for the RFO to submit the precept demand.
  • To consider forward planning and provide recommendations to Council for earmarked reserves levels which may include specific items of expenditure required in the future in order to lessen the precept burden in any one year.
  • To ensure Council hold adequate general reserves, in line with best practice, to secure future budgets.
  • To agree virements between budget headings.
  • To consider matters arising from the report of the internal and external auditors and, where considered necessary, make changes to the Council’s system of controls.
  • To receive and approve schedules of payments.
  • Authorisation of expenditure within the committee’s budget, provided that the payment is made from a budget that is within the limits previously approved by the Council. The committee cannot commit or spend from future budgets not confirmed or from future years.
  • To appoint a panel to carry out quarterly internal control checks in line with best practice and legislation; to consider that report and required action.
  • To appoint a panel to undertake an annual risk assessment with regard to Council’s accounting procedures and processes; to consider that report and required action.
  • To appoint a panel to undertake an annual audit of the Council’s internal processes and procedures as part of management of risk; to consider that report and required action.
  • To act as the Council’s data controller – to set council policy on data management, audit the security of council held data, maintain the registers of information held and audit the security of personal data held by the council;
  • To appoint a panel to undertake a quarterly check on data protection; to consider that report and required action.
  • To appoint a panel to produce a data protection report at year end for presentation to Council as part of the management of risk process, together with the actions taken to remedy any identified deficiencies.
  • To consider and award grants in accordance with legislation and Councils adopted Grant Policy within the previously agreed budget.
  • To undertake annually the risk assessment in relation to the Council’s insurance cover.
  • To insure against such risks as the Committee deems necessary to cover.
  • To review the Standing Orders and Financial Regulations on a regular basis and make resolutions to the Council.
  • To make recommendations to the Council regarding the review of existing policy matters.
  • Matters not already delegated to the Clerk which relate to the Council newsletter, websites, recordings, publicity and press and social media releases.
  • Community Benefit Fund –
  • The committee will recommend to Council the awarding of grants from the community benefit fund monies provided such grants comply with the relevant fund provider agreement.
  • The committee will carry out the administration of the fund with due diligence in relation to the fund provider agreements.
  • The committee will ensure that the Parish Council office maintain full and accurate records including but not limited to all applications received, decisions reached, dates, values and recipients of all grants awarded.
  • The committee will determine the fund purposes in accordance with the criteria set out.
  • The committee will be responsible for setting the criteria for awarding grant applications.
  • Grants will be awarded bi-yearly in June and December of each year unless otherwise agreed by the committee.
  • The fund will be publicised and promoted through electronic or any other means to all areas of the Parish.
  • The Committee will co-operate fully with the fund providers in good faith in order to promote the successful awarding of grants.
  • To consider the entering of any other legal agreement concerning the financial community benefit to the Parish for recommendation to Full Council.
  • To progress Councils application for the Quality Award of the Local Council Award scheme, submitting recommendations for consideration by Council.
  • To oversee Community Infrastructure Levy income and put forward recommendations for expenditure to Council within the terms and timescale of the agreement.
  • To progress and maintain Council’s production of an Emergency Community Plan.
  • To consider the recommendations of Sub-Committees or Working (Advisory) Groups under the control of the F&P Committee.
  • To review the committees Terms of Reference on an annual basis for consideration by Council.
  • To review strategic plan objectives, on a yearly basis, providing an update to Full Parish Council.

Note: Any resolution made outside these Terms of Reference may be considered ultra vires and open to challenge in a Court of Law.