Smaller Authorities Accountability
The Transparency Code for smaller authorities was issued as recommended practice in December 2014 and, following legislation, became mandatory on 1 April 2015.
The Code requires the following information, relating to the authority and the previous financial year, to be published annually. This should be published on the first occasion by 1 July 2015 and in each subsequent year no later than 1 July
- all items of expenditure above £100;
- end of year accounts, annual governance statement, and internal audit report (as contained in the annual return).
The end of year accounts should be accompanied by:
- a copy of the bank reconciliation for the relevant financial year;
- an explanation of any significant variances (e.g. more than 10-15%, in line with proper practices) in the statement of accounts for the relevant year and previous year;
- and an explanation of any differences between ‘balances carried forward’ and ‘total cash and short term investments’, if applicable;
- a list of councillor or member responsibilities;
- details of public land and building assets owned by the smaller authority.
The Code also requires the following information to be published more frequently than once annually:
- The draft minutes from all formal meetings (i.e. full council or board, committee and sub-committee meetings) should be published not later than one month after the meeting has taken place.
- Meeting agendas and associated meeting papers should be published not later than three clear days before the meeting is taking place.
All the information must be published on a website, which is publicly accessible and free of charge to view.