Kirby Muxloe Parish Council and councillors joins the select CPALC (Communities, Parish and Local Councils) group of councils who have apparently failed to understand that the Annual Return cannot be “rubber stamped”
In a damning public interest report the external auditor says...
“14 I am concerned that the Council has, in many areas, failed to establish and secure the standards of governance and accountability that citizens have the right to expect.
25 In its annual governance statement the Council stated that it had taken reasonable steps to satisfy itself that there had been no instances of non-compliance with laws, regulations or codes of practice that could have a significant effect on the ability of the Council to conduct its business or its finances.
26 However, in my view the Council was not in a position to make this statement. There is no evidence that the Council conducted a thorough review.
27 Moreover, I have identified instances of actual or potential non-compliance:”
However the external auditor saves some of the most damning comments to the end of the report...
“47 My greatest concern is not that there were weaknesses but that the Council made important assertions to the public that there were none. It did so without sufficient enquiries and in instances in the face of evidence to the contrary.
48 The annual governance statement is a key means by which the Council is accountable to the public. But making inaccurate statements without appropriate enquiry undermines that accountability.”
This is the second time in a short period that we have seen such public statements. However the number of search queries on “Our Parish Council Does Not Bother With An Internal Audit - They Say They Are Too Small” leads us to believe that the practice is much more widespread than thought.
CPALC has published 4 guides to the annual return...
CPALC publishes a 60 Second Guide (12) To The Parish Council Annual Return
CPALC publishes a 60 second guide (13) To Charities and The Parish Council Annual Return
CPALC publishes BPG 23 A CPALC Best Practice Guide to Governance and The Parish Council Annual Return
CPALC publishes BPG 24 A CPALC Best Practice Guide to Internal Audit and The Parish Council Annual Return
Have you as a councillor and your council understood their responsibilities or are you just hoping to get away with it?