Finance, Policy & Personnel Advisory Committee

Finance, Policy & Personnel Advisory Committee – Terms of Reference

These terms of reference were adopted by the Council at its meeting held on 23rd November 2022, Minute Ref. 22/163a. Amended June 2023.

For review annually

1)   Purpose/Role of the Committee:

The Finance, Policy & Personnel Advisory Committee is to work with the Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) and Parish Clerk (and/or any Assistant) in the management of the Council’s financial resources and to consider and recommend strategy and action on policy and operational matters concerned with Council’s finances, property, resources and staffing, including those associated when acting as Sole Trustee.

It is specifically responsible for the following:

  • Seeking to ensure that the Parish Council’s financial practices comply with the Financial Regulations set out by the Audit Commission, Central Government and Council’s adopted Financial Regulations.  This includes ensuring compliance with any internal and external audit requirements.
  • Carrying out financial investigations and requesting relevant supporting documents and evidence when appropriate.
  • Reviewing the Council’s Financial Regulations annually and, where necessary, propose amendments for ratification by the Parish Council.    
  • Monitoring the Council’s ‘West Bergholt Risk Management’ scheme and recommend changes where necessary.
  • Protecting finances and assets by seeking to ensure adequate insurance cover for buildings and property, together with the maintenance of an asset register and inventory.
  • Reviewing projects for consideration by the Parish Council.
  • Coordinating grant applications.
  • Working with all Committees, whether directly formed by the Parish Council or by association of being the sole charity trustee, to produce an annual budget for each.
  • Producing budget options and associated changes in Precept (with a recommendation) for the Parish Council to consider.
  • Monitoring income and expenditure against the budgets (including reviewing proposed payments) of all the committees and trusts.
  • Considering expenditure where it exceeds the amount permitted by the Financial Regulations to be agreed by those proposing it.  Recommendation goes to Parish Council for consideration.
  • Recommendations to the Parish Council regarding payments in relation to the grants and projects budget.
  • Reviewing Fees and Charges on a regular basis (at least annually) and making recommendations.
  • Recommend changes to the Earmarked Funds and Reserves as necessary in accordance with the policy.
  • Recommending the annual accounts to the Parish Council.
  • Forming a Personnel Working Party of three members from the Advisory Committee whenever there are appropriate personnel functions to be undertaken.  (Such functions to include monitoring, reviewing and recommending on all matters relating to the Council’s staff levels, emoluments and conditions of service).

2)   Membership:

  • All members of the Committee will be West Bergholt Parish Councillors. (The Parish Clerk and/or any Assistant may attend the meeting but cannot vote).
  • The Committee will consist of the Responsible Financial Officer and Chairs of the Committees.  
  • The Vice Chair of each Committee can substitute for their Chair if unable to attend the meeting.
  • The Chair & Vice Chairs of the Council will automatically be members of the Committee and have full voting rights.
  • Membership of the Committee is for a nominal 12 months extendable through the auspices of the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council.
  • At its first meeting after the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council the membership will elect a Chair and Vice Chair.

3)   Authority/Accountability:

  • The Committee is appointed by and solely responsible to the Parish Council and will make reports to it after each meeting.
  • An annual report on the financial activities of the Parish Council will be published for residents.

4)   Working methods/Ways of working:

The Committee will order and manage its work in the following ways:

  • Usually, meetings will be held monthly at which recommendations will be made to take to the full Parish Council.
  • The Chairman or Vice Chairman may call ad hoc meetings to be undertaken.
  • The Committee may, through the Parish Clerk or any Assistant, make general and specific queries to Colchester City Council or Essex County Council officers.
  • The Committee may liaise with elected District or County Council members.
  • Methods of communication may include written reports or email correspondence either through the Chairman or the Clerk.
  • Recommendations to the Parish Council will be taken by majority vote.
  • A quorum at the Committees meetings will consist of no fewer than three of its members.

5)   Meetings of the Committee:

The Committee will arrange its meetings as follows:

  • Meetings will be held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month unless advertised differently.
  • Meetings will be presided over by the Committee Chair or if unavailable the Vice Chair.
  • An agenda will be provided to the Committee members prior to the meeting taking place.
  • As an advisory committee, the meeting will not be open to the public and press.
  • Minutes of the meeting will be recorded by the Parish Clerk or any Assistant for distribution to Parish Council members at least 5 days prior to the Parish Council meeting, whenever possible.

6)   Sharing of information and resources (including confidential materials):

  • All copies of agendas and decisions, recommendations, letters, reports and correspondence will be held by the Parish Clerk.
  • An area of the village web site will be devoted to Finance, Policy & Personnel related matters.

7)   Review:

  • These terms of reference will be reviewed annually at the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council.
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