This CPALC (Communities, Parish and Local Councils) Best Practice Guide (BPG) is for town and parish councillors, clerks and residents who who wish to gain an understanding of the Governance requirements of the town and parish council annual return.

  • The Annual Return is a statutory document that must be completed annually by every town and parish council as well as every parish meeting
  • The objective is to ensure that monies raised by taxing local communities is safeguarded and spent in compliance with the law
  • This guide is based on the 2012/2013 Annual return
  • You should ensure that you understand your current responsibilities
  • This is primarily a practical guide not a legal treatise
  • The principal objective is to assist councillors asking the right questions based on relevant information


Each section of the guide focuses on 2 key considerations.

  • The matters and questions town and parish councillors should consider in-order to fulfil their legal obligations
  • What information town and parish clerks should ensure that their councils and councillors should have available to understand and have trust in the process


Article Contents - Click on a link below

What the Annual Return is not

What the Annual Return is

When should the Annual Return be signed?

What you as a councillor confirm

Approval of the accounting statements

Internal control

Full disclosure and compliance

Electors rights to to view accounts throughout the year

Risk Assessment

Effective internal Audit

Actioning internal and external audit findings

Disclosure of all liabilities

Trusts and charities

Requirement to provide full additional explanations


This guide is indicative and is not definitive as financial regulations and accounting policies may and will vary from council to council.

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