KING’S SOMBORNE PARISH COUNCIL
STANDING ORDERS, FINANCIAL REGULATIONS AND POLICIES
These Standing Orders, Financial Regulations and Policies
were adopted by the Parish Council at its meeting on 14 May 2018
P J Storey OBE FCIS
Clerk to King’s Somborne Parish Council
1. Rules of debate at meetings
2. Disorderly at meetings
3. Meetings generally
4. Committees and sub-committees
5. Ordinary Council meetings
6. Extraordinary Council meetings and committees
7. Previous resolutions
8. Voting on appointments
9. Motions requiring written notice
10. Motions not requiring written notice
11. Information management and document retention
12. Draft minutes
13. Code of Conduct and Dispensations
14. Complaints procedure
15. Proper Officer
16. Accounts and accounting statements
17. Financial controls and procurement
18. Handling staff matters
19. Provision of information
20. Data protection legislation, e-mail and internet policy
21. Press/media and social network sites
22. Execution and sealing of legal deeds
23. Communication with borough councillors
24. Restriction on councillor activities
25. Standing Orders generally
REGULATIONS AND POLICIES
Annex A Planning Committee standing orders 21
Annex B Information management and retention of documents 22
Annex C Code of Conduct and councillors’ dispensations 24
Annex D Complaints procedure 28
Annex E Financial regulations 30
Annex F Information and data protection, e-mail and Internet policy 37
Annex G Dealing with the Press, media and social network sites 44
Annex H Health and safety at work 49
KING’S SOMBORNE PARISH COUNCIL
STANDING ORDERS, FINANCIAL REGULATIONS and POLICIES
Amendment No Date Incorporated Subject
Standing orders are the written rules of a local council. Standing orders are essential to regulate the proceedings of a meeting. A council may also use standing orders to confirm or refer to various internal organisational and administrative arrangements. The standing orders of a council are not the same as the policies of a council but standing orders may refer to them.
Local councils operate within a wide statutory framework. These standing orders incorporate and reference many statutory requirements to which councils are subject. It is not possible for the standing orders to contain or reference all the statutory or legal requirements which apply to local councils. For example, it is not practical for standing orders to document all obligations under data protection legislation. The statutory requirements to which a council is subject apply whether or not they are incorporated in a council’s standing orders.
Financial regulations are standing orders to regulate and control the financial affairs and accounting procedures of a local council. The financial regulations, as opposed to the standing orders of a council, include most of the requirements relevant to the council’s Responsible Financial Officer.
Standing orders that are in bold type contain legal and statutory requirements. Standing orders not in bold are designed to help councils operate effectively but they do not contain statutory requirements so they may be adopted as drafted or amended to suit a council’s needs.
For convenience, the word “councillor” is used in standing orders and, unless the context suggests otherwise, includes a non-councillor with or without voting rights.
1. RULES OF DEBATE AT MEETINGS
a Motions on the agenda shall be considered in the order that they appear unless the order is changed at the discretion of the chairman of the meeting.
b A motion (including an amendment) shall not be progressed unless it has been moved and seconded.
c A motion on the agenda that is not moved by its proposer may be treated by the chairman of the meeting as withdrawn.
d If a motion (including an amendment) has been seconded, it may be withdrawn by the proposer only with the consent of the seconder and the meeting.
e An amendment is a proposal to remove or add words to a motion. It shall not negate the motion.
f If an amendment to the original motion is carried, the original motion (as amended) becomes the substantive motion upon which further amendment(s) may be moved.
g An amendment shall not be considered unless early verbal notice of it is given at the meeting and, if requested by the chairman of the meeting, is expressed in writing to the chairman.
h A councillor may move an amendment to his own motion if agreed by the meeting. If a motion has already been seconded, the amendment shall be with the consent of the seconder and the meeting.
i If there is more than one amendment to an original or substantive motion, the amendments shall be moved in the order directed by the chairman of the meeting.
j Subject to standing order 1(k), only one amendment shall be moved and debated at a time, the order of which shall be directed by the chairman of the meeting.
k One or more amendments may be discussed together if the chairman of the meeting considers this expedient but each amendment shall be voted upon separately.
l A councillor may not move more than one amendment to an original or substantive motion.
m The mover of an amendment has no right of reply at the end of debate on it.
n Where a series of amendments to an original motion are carried, the mover of the original motion shall have a right of reply either at the end of debate on the first amendment or at the very end of debate on the final substantive motion immediately before it is put to the vote.
o Unless permitted by the chairman of the meeting, a councillor may speak once in the debate on a motion except:
i. to speak on an amendment moved by another councillor;
ii. to move or speak on another amendment if the motion has been amended since he last spoke;
iii. to make a point of order;
iv. to give a personal explanation; or
v. to exercise a right of reply.
p During the debate on a motion, a councillor may interrupt only on a point of order or a personal explanation and the councillor who was interrupted shall stop speaking. A councillor raising a point of order shall identify the standing order which he considers has been breached or specify the other irregularity in the proceedings of the meeting he is concerned by.
q A point of order shall be decided by the chairman of the meeting and his decision shall be final.
r When a motion is under debate, no other motion shall be moved except:
i. to amend the motion;
ii. to proceed to the next business;
iii. to adjourn the debate;
iv. to put the motion to a vote;
v. to ask a person to be no longer heard or to leave the meeting;
vi. to refer a motion to a committee or sub-committee for consideration;
vii. to exclude the public and press;
viii. to adjourn the meeting; or
ix. to suspend particular standing order(s) excepting those which reflect mandatory
x. statutory or legal requirements.
s Before an original or substantive motion is put to the vote, the chairman of the meeting shall be satisfied that the motion has been sufficiently debated and that the mover of the motion under debate has exercised or waived his right of reply.
t Excluding motions moved under standing order 1(r), the contributions or speeches by a councillor shall relate only to the motion under discussion and shall not exceed 3 minutes without the consent of the chairman of the meeting.
2. DISORDERLY CONDUCT AT MEETINGS
a No person shall obstruct the transaction of business at a meeting or behave offensively or improperly. If this standing order is ignored, the chairman of the meeting shall request such person(s) to moderate or improve their conduct.
b If person(s) disregard the request of the chairman of the meeting to moderate or improve their conduct, any councillor or the chairman of the meeting may move that the person be no longer heard or be excluded from the meeting. The motion, if seconded, shall be put to the vote without discussion.
c If a resolution made under standing order 2(b) is ignored, the chairman of the meeting may take further reasonable steps to restore order or to progress the meeting. This may include temporarily suspending or closing the meeting.
3. MEETINGS GENERALLY
Full Council meetings ●
Committee meetings ●
Sub-committee meetings ●
● a Meetings shall not take place in premises which at the time of the meeting are used for the supply of alcohol, unless no other premises are available free of charge or at a reasonable cost.
b The minimum three clear days for notice of a meeting does not include the day on which notice was issued, the day of the meeting, a Sunday, a day of the Christmas break, a day of the Easter break or of a bank holiday or a day appointed for public thanksgiving or mourning.
● c The minimum three clear days’ public notice for a meeting does not include the day on which the notice was issued or the day of the meeting unless the meeting is convened at shorter notice.
● d Meetings shall be open to the public unless their presence is prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted or for other special reasons. The public’s exclusion from part or all of a meeting shall be by a resolution which shall give reasons for the public’s exclusion.
e Members of the public may make representations, answer questions and give evidence at a meeting which they are entitled to attend in respect of the business on the agenda.
f The period of time designated for public participation at a meeting in accordance with standing order 3(e) shall not exceed 15 minutes unless directed by the chairman of the meeting.
g Subject to standing order 3(f), a member of the public shall not speak for more than 3 minutes.
h In accordance with standing order 3(e), a question shall not require a response at the meeting nor start a debate on the question. The chairman of the meeting may direct that a written or oral response be given.
i A person shall raise his hand when requesting to speak and stand when speaking (except when a person has a disability or is likely to suffer discomfort)]. The chairman of the meeting may at any time permit a person to be seated when speaking.
j A person who speaks at a meeting shall direct his comments to the chairman of the meeting.
k Only one person is permitted to speak at a time. If more than one person wants to speak, the chairman of the meeting shall direct the order of speaking.
● l Subject to standing order 3(m), a person who attends a meeting is permitted to report on the meeting whilst the meeting is open to the public. To “report” means to film, photograph, make an audio recording of meeting proceedings, use any other means for enabling persons not present to see or hear the meeting as it takes place or later or to report or to provide oral or written commentary about the meeting so that the report or commentary is available as the meeting takes place or later to persons not present.
● m A person present at a meeting may not provide an oral report or oral commentary about a meeting as it takes place without permission.
● n The press shall be provided with reasonable facilities for the taking of their report of all or part of a meeting at which they are entitled to be present.
● o Subject to standing orders which indicate otherwise, anything authorised or required to be done by, to or before the Chairman of the Council may in his absence be done by, to or before the Vice-Chairman of the Council.
● p The Chairman of the Council, if present, shall preside at a meeting. If the Chairman is absent from a meeting, the Vice-Chairman of the Council if present, shall preside. If both the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman are absent from a meeting, a councillor as chosen by the councillors present at the meeting shall preside at the meeting.
● q Subject to a meeting being quorate, all questions at a meeting shall be decided by a majority of the councillors and non-councillors with voting rights present and voting.
● r The chairman of a meeting may give an original vote on any matter put to the vote, and in the case of an equality of votes may exercise his casting vote whether or not he gave an original vote.
See standing orders 5(h) and (i) for the different rules that apply in the election of the Chairman of the Council at the annual meeting of the Council.
● s Unless standing orders provide otherwise, voting on a question shall be by a show of hands. At the request of a councillor, the voting on any question shall be recorded so as to show whether each councillor present and voting gave his vote for or against that question. Such a request shall be made before moving on to the next item of business on the agenda.
t The minutes of a meeting shall include an accurate record of the following:
i. the time and place of the meeting;
ii. the names of councillors who are present and the names of councillors who are absent;
iii. interests that have been declared by councillors and non-councillors with voting rights;
iv. the grant of dispensations (if any) to councillors and non-councillors with voting rights;
v. whether a councillor or non-councillor with voting rights left the meeting when matters that they held interests in were being considered;
vi. if there was a public participation session; and
vii. the resolutions made.
u A councillor or a non-councillor with voting rights who has a disclosable pecuniary interest or another interest as set out in the Council’s code of conduct in a matter being considered at a meeting is subject to statutory limitations or restrictions under the code on his right to participate and vote on that matter.
v No business may be transacted at a meeting unless at least one-third of the whole number of members of the Council are present and in no case shall the quorum of a meeting be less than three.
See standing order 4d(viii) for the quorum of a committee or sub-committee meeting.
● w If a meeting is or becomes inquorate no business shall be transacted and the meeting shall be closed. The business on the agenda for the meeting shall be adjourned to another meeting.
x A meeting shall not normally exceed a period of 3 hours.
4. COMMITTEES AND SUB-COMMITTEES
See Annex A for Planning Committee ToRs
a Unless the Council determines otherwise, a committee may appoint a sub-committee whose terms of reference and members shall be determined by the committee.
b The members of a committee may include non-councillors unless it is a committee which regulates and controls the finances of the Council.
c Unless the Council determines otherwise, all the members of an advisory committee and a sub-committee of the advisory committee may be non-councillors.
d The Council may appoint standing committees or other committees as may be necessary, and:
i. shall determine their terms of reference;
ii. shall determine the number and time of the ordinary meetings of a standing committee up until the date of the next annual meeting of the Council;
iii. shall permit a committee, other than in respect of the ordinary meetings of a committee, to determine the number and time of its meetings;
iv. shall, subject to standing orders 4(b) and (c), appoint and determine the terms of office of members of such a committee;
v. may, subject to standing orders 4(b) and (c), appoint and determine the terms of office of the substitute members to a committee whose role is to replace the ordinary members at a meeting of a committee if the ordinary members of the committee confirm to the Proper Officer 7 days before the meeting that they are unable to attend;
vi. shall, after it has appointed the members of a standing committee, appoint the chairman of the standing committee;
vii. shall permit a committee other than a standing committee, to appoint its own chairman at the first meeting of the committee;
viii. shall determine the place, notice requirements and quorum for a meeting of a committee and a sub-committee which, in both cases, shall be no less than three;
ix. shall determine if the public may participate at a meeting of a committee;
x. shall determine if the public and press are permitted to attend the meetings of a sub-committee and also the advance public notice requirements, if any, required for the meetings of a sub-committee;
xi. shall determine if the public may participate at a meeting of a sub-committee that they are permitted to attend; and
xii. may dissolve a committee or a sub-committee.
5. ORDINARY COUNCIL MEETINGS
a In an election year, the annual meeting of the Council shall be held on or within 14 days following the day on which the councillors elected take office.
b In a year which is not an election year, the annual meeting of the Council shall be held on such day in May as the Council decides.
c If no other time is fixed, the annual meeting of the Council shall take place at 7.30pm.
d In addition to the annual meeting of the Council, at least three other ordinary meetings shall be held in each year on such dates and times as the Council decides.
e The first business conducted at the annual meeting of the Council shall be the election of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council.
f The Chairman of the Council, unless he has resigned or becomes disqualified, shall continue in office and preside at the annual meeting until his successor is elected at the next annual meeting of the Council.
g The Vice-Chairman of the Council, unless he resigns or becomes disqualified, shall hold office until immediately after the election of the Chairman of the Council at the next annual meeting of the Council.
h In an election year, if the current Chairman of the Council has not been re-elected as a member of the Council, he shall preside at the annual meeting until a successor Chairman of the Council has been elected. The current Chairman of the Council shall not have an original vote in respect of the election of the new Chairman of the Council but shall give a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.
i In an election year, if the current Chairman of the Council has been re-elected as a member of the Council, he shall preside at the annual meeting until a new Chairman of the Council has been elected. He may exercise an original vote in respect of the election of the new Chairman of the Council and shall give a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.
j Following the election of the Chairman of the Council and Vice-Chairman of the Council at the annual meeting, the business shall include:
i. In an election year, delivery by the Chairman of the Council and councillors of their acceptance of office forms unless the Council resolves for this to be done at a later date. In a year which is not an election year, delivery by the
ii. Chairman of the Council of his acceptance of office form unless the Council resolves for this to be done at a later date;
iii. Confirmation of the accuracy of the minutes of the last meeting of the Council;
iv. Receipt of the minutes of the last meeting of a committee;
v. Consideration of the recommendations made by a committee;
vi. Review of delegation arrangements to committees, sub-committees, staff and other local authorities;
vii. Review of the terms of reference for committees;
viii. Appointment of members to existing committees;
ix. Appointment of any new committees in accordance with standing order 4;
x. Review and adoption of appropriate standing orders and financial regulations;
xi. Review of arrangements (including legal agreements) with other local authorities, not-for-profit bodies and businesses.
xii. Review of representation on or work with external bodies and arrangements for reporting back;
xiii. In an election year, to make arrangements with a view to the Council becoming eligible to exercise the general power of competence in the future;
xiv. Review of inventory of land and other assets including buildings and office equipment;
xv. Confirmation of arrangements for insurance cover in respect of all insurable risks;
xvi. Review of the Council’s and/or staff subscriptions to other bodies;
xvii. Review of the Council’s complaints procedure;
xviii. Review of the Council’s policies, procedures and practices in respect of its obligations under freedom of information and data protection legislation (see also standing orders 11, 20 and 21);
xix. Review of the Council’s policy for dealing with the press/media;
xx. Review of the Council’s employment policies and procedures;
xxi. Review of the Council’s expenditure incurred under s.137 of the Local Government Act 1972 or the general power of competence.
xxii. Determining the time and place of ordinary meetings of the Council up to and including the next annual meeting of the Council.
6. EXTRAORDINARY MEETINGS OF THE COUNCIL AND COMMITTEES
a The Chairman of the Council may convene an extraordinary meeting of the Council at any time.
b If the Chairman of the Council does not call an extraordinary meeting of the Council within seven days of having been requested in writing to do so by two councillors, any two councillors may convene an extraordinary meeting of the Council. The public notice giving the time, place and agenda for such a meeting shall be signed by the two councillors.
c The chairman of a committee may convene an extraordinary meeting of the committee at any time.
d If the chairman of a committee does not call an extraordinary meeting within 7 days of having been requested to do so by 2 members of the committee, any 2 members of the committee may convene an extraordinary meeting of the committee.
7. PREVIOUS RESOLUTIONS
a A resolution shall not be reversed within six months except either by a special motion, which requires written notice by at least 5 councillors to be given to the Proper Officer in accordance with standing order 9, or by a motion moved in pursuance of the recommendation of a committee or a sub-committee.
b When a motion moved pursuant to standing order 7(a) has been disposed of, no similar motion may be moved for a further six months.
8. VOTING ON APPOINTMENTS
a Where more than two persons have been nominated for a position to be filled by the Council and none of those persons has received an absolute majority of votes in their favour, the name of the person having the least number of votes shall be struck off the list and a fresh vote taken. This process shall continue until a majority of votes is given in favour of one person. A tie in votes may be settled by the casting vote exercisable by the chairman of the meeting.
9. MOTIONS FOR A MEETING THAT REQUIRE WRITTEN NOTICE TO BE GIVEN TO THE PROPER OFFICER
a A motion shall relate to the responsibilities of the meeting for which it is tabled and in any event shall relate to the performance of the Council’s statutory functions, powers and obligations or an issue which specifically affects the Council’s area or its residents.
b No motion may be moved at a meeting unless it is on the agenda and the mover has given written notice of its wording to the Proper Officer at least 7 clear days before the meeting. Clear days do not include the day of the notice or the day of the meeting.
c The Proper Officer may, before including a motion on the agenda received in accordance with standing order 9(b), correct obvious grammatical or typographical errors in the wording of the motion.
d If the Proper Officer considers the wording of a motion received in accordance with standing order 9(b) is not clear in meaning, the motion shall be rejected until the mover of the motion resubmits it, so that it can be understood, in writing, to the Proper Officer at least 7 clear days before the meeting.
e If the wording or subject of a proposed motion is considered improper, the Proper Officer shall consult with the chairman of the forthcoming meeting or, as the case may be, the councillors who have convened the meeting, to consider whether the motion shall be included in the agenda or rejected.
f The decision of the Proper Officer as to whether or not to include the motion on the agenda shall be final.
g Motions received shall be recorded and numbered in the order that they are received.
h Motions rejected shall be recorded with an explanation by the Proper Officer of the reason for rejection.
10. MOTIONS AT A MEETING THAT DO NOT REQUIRE WRITTEN NOTICE
a The following motions may be moved at a meeting without written notice to the Proper Officer:
i. to correct an inaccuracy in the draft minutes of a meeting;
ii. to move to a vote;
iii. to defer consideration of a motion;
iv. to refer a motion to a particular committee or sub-committee;
v. to appoint a person to preside at a meeting;
vi. to change the order of business on the agenda;
vii. to proceed to the next business on the agenda;
viii. to require a written report;
ix. to appoint a committee or sub-committee and their members;
x. to extend the time limits for speaking;
xi. to exclude the press and public from a meeting in respect of confidential or other information which is prejudicial to the public interest;
xii. to not hear further from a councillor or a member of the public;
xiii. to exclude a councillor or member of the public for disorderly conduct;
xiv. to temporarily suspend the meeting;
xv. to suspend a particular standing order (unless it reflects mandatory statutory or legal requirements);
xvi. to adjourn the meeting; or
xvii. to close the meeting.
11. INFORMATION MANAGEMENT AND DOCUMENT RETENTION
See also standing order 20 and Annex B.
a The Council shall have in place and keep under review, technical and organisational measures to keep secure information (including personal data) which it holds in paper and electronic form. Such arrangements shall include deciding who has access to personal data and encryption of personal data.
b The Council shall have in place, and keep under review, policies for the retention and safe destruction of all information (including personal data) which it holds in paper and electronic form. The Council’s retention policy shall confirm the period for which information (including personal data) shall be retained or if this is not possible the criteria used to determine that period (e.g. the Limitation Act 1980).
c The agenda, papers that support the agenda and the minutes of a meeting shall not disclose or otherwise undermine confidential information or personal data without legal justification.
d Councillors, staff, the Council’s contractors and agents shall not disclose confidential information or personal data without legal justification.
12. DRAFT MINUTES
Full Council meetings ●
Committee meetings ●
Sub-committee meetings ●
a If the draft minutes of a preceding meeting have been served on councillors with the agenda to attend the meeting at which they are due to be approved for accuracy, they shall be taken as read.
b There shall be no discussion about the draft minutes of a preceding meeting except in relation to their accuracy. A motion to correct an inaccuracy in the draft minutes shall be moved in accordance with standing order 10(a)(i).
c The accuracy of draft minutes, including any amendment(s) made to them, shall be confirmed by resolution and shall be signed by the chairman of the meeting and stand as an accurate record of the meeting to which the minutes relate.
d If the chairman of the meeting does not consider the minutes to be an accurate record of the meeting to which they relate, he shall sign the minutes and include a paragraph in the following terms or to the same effect:
“The chairman of this meeting does not believe that the minutes of the meeting of the ( ) held on [date] in respect of ( ) were a correct record but his view was not upheld by the meeting and the minutes are confirmed as an accurate record of the proceedings.”
e If the Council’s gross annual income or expenditure (whichever is higher) does not exceed £25,000, it shall publish draft minutes on a website which is publicly accessible and free of charge not later than one month after the meeting has taken place.
f Subject to the publication of draft minutes in accordance with standing order 12(e) and standing order 20(a) and following a resolution which confirms the accuracy of the minutes of a meeting, the draft minutes or recordings of the meeting for which approved minutes exist shall be destroyed.
13. CODE OF CONDUCT AND DISPENSATIONS
See also standing order 3(u) and Annex C.
a All councillors and non-councillors with voting rights shall observe the code of conduct adopted by the Council.
b Unless he has been granted a dispensation, a councillor or non-councillor with voting rights shall withdraw from a meeting when it is considering a matter in which he has a disclosable pecuniary interest. He may return to the meeting after it has considered the matter in which he had the interest.
c Unless he has been granted a dispensation, a councillor or non-councillor with voting rights shall withdraw from a meeting when it is considering a matter in which he has another interest if so required by the Council’s code of conduct. He may return to the meeting after it has considered the matter in which he had the interest.
d Dispensation requests shall be in writing and submitted to the Proper Officer as soon as possible before the meeting, or failing that, at the start of the meeting for which the dispensation is required.
e A decision as to whether to grant a dispensation shall be made by the Proper Officer and that decision is final.
f A dispensation request shall confirm:
i. the description and the nature of the disclosable pecuniary interest or other interest to which the request for the dispensation relates;
ii. whether the dispensation is required to participate at a meeting in a discussion only or a discussion and a vote;
iii. the date of the meeting or the period (not exceeding four years) for which the dispensation is sought; and
iv. an explanation as to why the dispensation is sought.
Subject to standing orders 13(d) and (f), a dispensation request shall be considered by the Proper Officer before the meeting or, if this is not possible, at the start of the meeting for which the dispensation is required.
g. A dispensation may be granted in accordance with standing order 13(e) if having regard to all relevant circumstances any of the following apply:
i. without the dispensation the number of persons prohibited from participating in the particular business would be so great a proportion of the meeting transacting the business as to impede the transaction of the business;
ii. granting the dispensation is in the interests of persons living in the Council’s area; or
iii. it is otherwise appropriate to grant a dispensation.
14. CODE OF CONDUCT AND COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
See Annex D
a Upon notification by the Borough Council that it is dealing with a complaint that a councillor or non-councillor with voting rights has breached the Council’s code of conduct, the Proper Officer shall, subject to standing order 11, report this to the Council.
b Where the notification in standing order 14(a) relates to a complaint made by the Proper Officer, the Proper Officer shall notify the Chairman of Council of this fact, and the Chairman shall nominate another person to assume the duties of the Proper Officer in relation to the complaint until it has been determined and the Council has agreed what action, if any, to take in accordance with standing order 14(d).
c The Council may:
i. provide information or evidence where such disclosure is necessary to investigate the complaint or is a legal requirement;
ii. seek information relevant to the complaint from the person or body with statutory responsibility for investigation of the matter;
d Upon notification by the Borough Council that a councillor or non-councillor with voting rights has breached the Council’s code of conduct, the Council shall consider what, if any, action to take against him. Such action excludes disqualification or suspension from office.
15. PROPER OFFICER
a The Proper Officer shall be either (i) the clerk or (ii) another person nominated by the Council to undertake the work of the Proper Officer when the Proper Officer is absent.
b The Proper Officer shall:
i. at least three clear days before a meeting of the council, a committee or a sub-committee,
• serve on councillors by delivery or post at their residences or by email authenticated in such manner as the Proper Officer thinks fit, a signed summons confirming the time, place and the agenda (provided the councillor has consented to service by email), and
• Provide, in a conspicuous place, public notice of the time, place and agenda (provided that the public notice with agenda of an extraordinary meeting of the Council convened by councillors is signed by them).
See standing order 3(b) for the meaning of clear days for a meeting of a full council and standing order 3(c) for the meaning of clear days for a meeting of a committee;
ii. subject to standing order 9, include on the agenda all motions in the order received unless a councillor has given written notice at least 3 days before the meeting confirming his withdrawal of it;
iii. convene a meeting of the Council for the election of a new Chairman of the Council, occasioned by a casual vacancy in his office;
iv. facilitate inspection of the minute book by local government electors;
v. receive and retain copies of byelaws made by other local authorities;
vi. hold acceptance of office forms from councillors;
vii. hold a copy of every councillor’s register of interests;
viii. assist with responding to requests made under freedom of information legislation and rights exercisable under data protection legislation, in accordance with the Council’s relevant policies and procedures;
ix. liaise, as appropriate, with the Council’s Data Protection Officer;
x. receive and send general correspondence and notices on behalf of the Council except where there is a resolution to the contrary;
xi. assist in the organisation of, storage of, access to, security of and destruction of information held by the Council in paper and electronic form subject to the requirements of data protection and freedom of information legislation and other legitimate requirements (e.g. the Limitation Act 1980);
xii. arrange for legal deeds to be executed;
(see also standing order 22);
xiii. arrange or manage the prompt authorisation, approval, and instruction regarding any payments to be made by the Council in accordance with its financial regulations;
xiv. record every planning application notified to the Council and the Council’s response to the local planning authority;
xv. refer a planning application received by the Council to the Chairman or in his absence the Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee within two working days of receipt to facilitate an extraordinary meeting if the nature of a planning application requires consideration before the next ordinary meeting of the Planning Committee – see annex D;
xvi. manage access to information about the Council via the publication scheme; and
xvii. retain custody of the seal of the Council (if there is one) which shall not be used without a resolution to that effect.
(see also standing order 22).
16. ACCOUNTS AND ACCOUNTING STATEMENTS
a “Proper practices” in standing orders refer to the most recent version of “Governance and Accountability for Local Councils – a Practitioners’ Guide”.
b All payments by the Council shall be authorised, approved and paid in accordance with the law, proper practices and the Council’s financial regulations.
c The Responsible Financial Officer shall supply to each councillor as soon as practicable after 30 June, 30 September and 31 December in each year or more frequently, if required, a statement to summarise:
i. the Council’s receipts and payments (or income and expenditure) for each quarter;
ii. the Council’s aggregate receipts and payments (or income and expenditure) for the year to date;
iii. the balances held at the end of the quarter being reported and which includes a comparison with the budget for the financial year and highlights any actual or potential overspends.
d As soon as possible after the financial year end at 31 March, the Responsible Financial Officer shall provide:
i. each councillor with a statement summarising the Council’s receipts and payments (or income and expenditure) for the last quarter and the year to date for information; and
ii. to the Council the accounting statements for the year in the form of Section 1 of the annual governance and accountability return, as required by proper practices, for consideration and approval.
e The year-end accounting statements shall be prepared in accordance with proper practices and apply the form of accounts determined by the Council (receipts and payments, or income and expenditure) for the year to 31 March. The annual governance and accountability return of the Council, which is subject to external audit, including the annual governance statement, shall be presented to the Council for consideration and formal approval before 30 June.
17. FINANCIAL CONTROLS AND PROCUREMENT
See Annex E
a. The Council shall consider and approve financial regulations drawn up by the Responsible Financial Officer, which shall include detailed arrangements in respect of the following:
i. the keeping of accounting records and systems of internal controls;
ii. the assessment and management of financial risks faced by the Council;
iii. the work of the independent internal auditor in accordance with proper practices and the receipt of regular reports from the internal auditor, which shall be required at least annually;
iv. the inspection and copying by councillors and local electors of the Council’s accounts and/or orders of payments; and
v. whether contracts with an estimated value below £25,000 due to special circumstances are exempt from a tendering process or procurement exercise.
b. Financial regulations shall be reviewed regularly and at least annually for fitness of purpose.
c. A public contract regulated by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 with an estimated value in excess of £25,000 but less than the relevant thresholds in standing order 17(f) is subject to Regulations 109-114 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 which include a requirement on the Council to advertise the contract opportunity on the Contracts Finder website regardless of what other means it uses to advertise the opportunity.
d. Subject to additional requirements in the financial regulations of the Council, the tender process for contracts for the supply of goods, materials, services or the execution of works shall include, as a minimum, the following steps:
i. a specification for the goods, materials, services or the execution of works shall be drawn up;
ii. an invitation to tender shall be drawn up to confirm (i) the Council’s specification (ii) the time, date and address for the submission of tenders (iii) the date of the Council’s written response to the tender and (iv) the prohibition on prospective contractors contacting councillors or staff to encourage or support their tender outside the prescribed process;
iii. the invitation to tender shall be advertised in a local newspaper and in any other manner that is appropriate;
iv. tenders are to be submitted in writing in a sealed marked envelope addressed to the Proper Officer;
v. tenders shall be opened by the Proper Officer in the presence of at least one councillor after the deadline for submission of tenders has passed;
vi. tenders are to be reported to and considered by the appropriate meeting of the Council or a committee or sub-committee with delegated responsibility.
e. Neither the Council, nor a committee or a sub-committee with delegated responsibility for considering tenders, is bound to accept the lowest value tender.
f. A public contract regulated by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 with an estimated value in excess of £181,302 for a public service or supply contract or in excess of £4,551,413 for a public works contract (or other thresholds determined by the European Commission every two years and published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU)) shall comply with the relevant procurement procedures and other requirements in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 which include advertising the contract opportunity on the Contracts Finder website and in OJEU.
g. A public contract in connection with the supply of gas, heat, electricity, drinking water, transport services, or postal services to the public; or the provision of a port or airport; or the exploration for or extraction of gas, oil or solid fuel with an estimated value in excess of £363,424 for a supply, services or design contract; or in excess of £4,551,413 for a works contract; or £820,370 for a social and other specific services contract (or other thresholds determined by the European Commission every two years and published in OJEU) shall comply with the relevant procurement procedures and other requirements in the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016.
18. HANDLING STAFF MATTERS
a A matter personal to a member of staff that is being considered by a meeting of the Council is subject to standing order 11.
b Subject to the Council’s policy regarding absences from work, the clerk shall notify the chairman, or if he is not available, the vice-chairman of absence occasioned by illness or other reason and that person shall report such absence to the chairman at the next meeting.
c The chairman of the Parish Council, or in his absence the vice-chairman, shall upon a resolution conduct an annual review of the performance and annual appraisal of the work of the Clerk. The review and appraisal shall be reported in writing and is subject to approval by resolution by the full Council.
d Subject to the Council’s policy regarding the handling of grievance matters, the clerk shall in respect of an informal or formal grievance matter shall report this matter to the chairman or in his absence the vice-chairman and the matter shall then progressed by resolution of the Council OR a committee set up to review the matter.
e Subject to the Council’s policy regarding the handling of grievance matters, if an informal or formal grievance matter raised by the clerk relates to the chairman or vice-chairman, the matter shall be communicated to another member of the Council and shall be reported back and progressed by resolution of the Council OR a committee set up to review the matter.
f Any persons responsible for all or part of the management of staff shall treat as confidential the written records of all meetings relating to their performance, capabilities, grievance or disciplinary matters.
g In accordance with standing order 11(a), persons with line management responsibilities shall have access to staff records referred to in standing order 19(f).
19. RESPONSIBILITIES TO PROVIDE INFORMATION
See also standing order 21.
a In accordance with freedom of information legislation, the Council shall publish information in accordance with its publication scheme and respond to requests for information held by the Council.
b. The Council, shall publish information in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government (Transparency Requirements) (England) Regulations 2015.
20. DATA PROTECTION LEGISLATION, E-MAIL AND INTERNET POLICY
(Below is not an exclusive list).
See also standing order 11 and Annex F.
a The Council shall appoint a Data Protection Officer.
b The Council shall have policies and procedures in place to respond to an individual exercising statutory rights concerning his personal data.
c The Council shall have a written policy in place for responding to and managing a personal data breach.
d The Council shall keep a record of all personal data breaches comprising the facts relating to the personal data breach, its effects and the remedial action taken.
e The Council shall ensure that information communicated in its privacy notice(s) is in an easily accessible and available form and kept up to date.
f The Council shall maintain a written record of its processing activities.
21. RELATIONS WITH THE PRESS/MEDIA
See Annex G
a Requests from the press or other media for an oral or written comment or statement from the Council, its councillors or staff shall be handled in accordance with the Council’s policy in respect of dealing with the press and/or other media.
22. EXECUTION AND SEALING OF LEGAL DEEDS
See also standing orders 15(b)(xii) and (xvii).
a A legal deed shall not be executed on behalf of the Council unless authorised by a resolution.
Subject to standing order 23(a), any two councillors may sign, on behalf of the Council, any deed required by law and the Proper Officer shall witness their signatures.
23. COMMUNICATING WITH BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
a An invitation to attend a meeting of the Council shall be sent, together with the agenda, to the ward councillor(s) of the Borough Council.
b Unless the Council determines otherwise, a copy of each letter sent to the County Council shall be sent to the borough councillor(s) representing the area of the Council.
24. RESTRICTIONS ON COUNCILLOR ACTIVITIES
a. Unless duly authorised, no councillor shall:
i. inspect any land and/or premises which the Council has a right or duty to inspect; or
ii. issue orders, instructions or directions.
25. STANDING ORDERS GENERALLY
a All or part of a standing order, except one that incorporates mandatory statutory or legal requirements, may be suspended by resolution in relation to the consideration of an item on the agenda for a meeting.
b A motion to add to or vary or revoke one or more of the Council’s standing orders, except one that incorporates mandatory statutory or legal requirements, shall be proposed by a special motion, the written notice by at least 2 councillors to be given to the Proper Officer in accordance with standing order 9.
c The Proper Officer shall provide a copy of the Council’s standing orders to a councillor as soon as possible.
d The decision of the chairman of a meeting as to the application of standing orders at the meeting shall be final.
STANDING ORDERS FOR THE PLANNING COMMITTEE
1.1 Meetings of the Committee shall be held twice monthly on the first and third Mondays at 6.30pm and 7.00pm respectively in the evening unless otherwise decided at a previous meeting or if no applications are tabled for consideration.
2.1 The Committee membership shall comprise up to six members, three of whom shall constitute a quorum.
3. Planning Applications
3.1 The Clerk shall maintain a record of each planning application received showing the reference number, the place to which the application relates and a summary of the nature of the application.
3.2 The Clerk shall produce and circulate to each Committee Member a copy of the agenda for each meeting, together with the Minutes of the previous meeting at least three clear working days in advance.
3.3 The Clerk shall ensure that any objections relating to those applications to be discussed at the Meeting are made known to Committee members before a decision is taken.
3.4 The Clerk shall ensure that all planning applications on the agenda and to be considered at that meeting are available for inspection by members at the meeting venue fifteen minutes before the scheduled start of the meeting.
3.5 The Clerk shall take minutes of the meeting and any follow-up action as directed.
3.6 The Clerk shall notify the decision reached to Test Valley Borough Council Planning Directorate by the due date specified unless reasonable circumstances prevent this.
3.7 Any comments and/or objections the Committee wishes to make regarding planning briefs/structure plans, whether in draft or final form, or any other reports other than planning applications, are to be ratified by the Parish Council.
3.8 The Chairman, or in his/her absence the Vice-Chairman, shall present a report at each Parish Council meeting on decisions made by the Planning Committee and decisions made by Test Valley Borough Council on applications considered within the Parish boundary since the previous Parish Council meeting. Alternatively, this may be effected by circulation of the relevant minutes with other agenda papers before the meeting.
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT AND RETENTION OF DOCUMENTS
1. Documents shall be retained only if required by statute or they are likely to have some historical or practical value in the future. Documents shall include files, hard copies and e-mails each of which will be assessed according to the importance and sensitivity of the information held, the durability of the medium and the need for and facilities available for access.
2. Security arrangements shall be determined by the importance and sensitivity of the information and any restrictions on or rights of access to the material shall be protected in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 but will be disclosable in response to data subject requests.
3. The need for and quality of back up shall respect the importance and sensitivity of the material.
4. The length of time for which documents shall be retained shall be governed by the time legal proceeding s may be brought, statutory requirements or sound management.
5. Most legal proceedings are governed by the ‘Limitation Acts‘. The Acts, notably the Limitation Act 1980, state that claims may not be commenced after a specified period. The specified period varies depending upon the type of claim in question and the table below sets out the limitation periods for different categories of claim.
Category Limitation Period
Negligence and other Torts 6 years
Defamation 1 year
Contract 6 years or 12 years if under seal
Leases throughout the term plus 12 years
Sums recoverable by statute 6 years
Personal injury 3 Years
To recover land 12 years
Rent 6 years
Breach of Trust None
6. Certain statutory provisions require the retention of documents for certain periods including:
Document Minimum retention period Reason
Minute books Indefinite Archive
Council’s Standing Orders Until next update Management
Registers of Members’ Declarations Until Member retires/resigns Management
Meeting rough notes Until minutes subsequently approved Management
Electronic mail Only if likely to be required for reference in an on-going situation
Hard copy correspondence as above
Scales of fees and charges 5 years Management
Receipts and payments accounts Indefinite Archive
Receipt books of all kinds 6 years VAT
Bank statements Last completed audit year Audit
Bank paying in books Last completed audit year Audit
Cheque book stubs Last completed audit year Audit
Quotations and tenders 12 years/indefinite Limitation
Paid invoices 6 years VAT
Paid cheques 6 years Limitation
VAT records 6 years VAT
Petty cash, postage, telephone books 6 years Tax, VAT
Timesheets Last completed audit year Audit
Wages records 12 years Pensions
Insurance policies Whilst valid Management
Employers Liability certificate 40 years Employers’ Liability Regs 1998
Investments Indefinite Audit, management
Title Deeds, lease agreements Indefinite Audit, management
Contracts Indefinite Audit, management
For recreation grounds
Hire applications 6 years VAT
For allotments (none owned)
Registers, plans Indefinite Audit, management
For Burial Grounds
Burials register Indefinite. Archives, Local Authorities Cemetery Order 1977/204
Purchased Graves Register Indefinite as above
Site layout Indefinite as above
Memorials Application Register Indefinite as above
Disposal certificates Indefinite as above
Copy of Exclusive Rights Certificate Indefinite as above
CODE OF CONDUCT AND COUNCILLORS’ DISPENSATIONS
This Code of Conduct applies to Councillors whenever they are acting in their capacity as members or are giving the impression of acting in their capacity as members of King’s Somborne Parish Council including:
1.1 at formal meetings of the Council, its committees and sub-committees
1.2 when acting as a representative of the Council
1.3 in taking any decision as Councillor
1.4 in discharging your functions as a Councillor
1.5 at site visits
2. General Conduct
Councillors must –
2.1 provide leadership to the Council and communities within the Council’s boundaries by personal example
2.2 respect others and not bully any person
2.3 recognise that staff are employed by and serve the whole Council
2.4 respect the confidentiality of information which they receive as a member –
2.4.1 not disclosing confidential information to third parties unless required by law to do so or where there is a clear and over-riding public interest in doing so; and
2.4.2 not obstructing third parties’ legal rights of access to information
2.5 not conduct themselves in a manner which is likely to bring the Council into disrepute
2.6 use their position as a member in the public interest and not for personal advantage
2.7 accord with the Council’s reasonable rules on the use of public resources for private and political purposes
2.8 exercise their own independent judgement, taking decisions for good and substantial reasons –
2.8.1 attaching appropriate weight to all relevant considerations including, where appropriate, public opinion
2.8.2 paying due regard to the advice of staff and, in particular, to the advice of the statutory officers, namely the Clerk, stating the reasons for their decisions where those reasons are not otherwise apparent
2.9 account for their actions
2.10 ensure that the Council acts within the law
3. Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
In accordance with S31(4) of the Localism Act 2011, Councillors must –
3.1 comply with the statutory requirements to register their disclosable pecuniary interests and they must disclose, leave the room and not participate in respect of any matter in which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest unless a dispensation has been granted
3.2 ensure that their register of interests is kept up to date and notify the Monitoring Officer in writing within 28 days of becoming aware of any changes in respect of their disclosable pecuniary interests
3.3 make a verbal declaration of the existence of any disclosable pecuniary interest at any meeting at which they are present at which an item of business which affects or relates to the subject matter of that interest is under consideration, at or before the consideration of the item of business or as soon as the interest becomes apparent
3.4 “Meeting” means any meeting organised by or on behalf of the Council, including –
3.4.1 any meeting of the Council, or a committee or sub-committee of Council
3.4.2 in taking a decision as a member of any body of the Council; and
3.4.3 at any site visit to do with business of the Council
4. Other Interests
4.1 In addition to the requirements of Paragraph 3, if a Councillor attends a meeting at which any item of business is to be considered and that Councillor is aware that s/he has a non-disclosable pecuniary interest or non-pecuniary interest in that item, s/he must make a verbal declaration of the existence of that interest at or before the consideration of the item of business or as soon as the interest becomes apparent
4.2 Councillors have a non-disclosable pecuniary interest or non-pecuniary interest in an item of business of the Council where –
a decision in relation to that business might reasonably be regarded as affecting the well-being or financial standing of the Councillor or of a member of his/her family or a person with whom that Councillor has a close association than it would affect the majority of the Council Tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of the Parish, or
it relates to or is likely to affect any interests listed in the Table in the Appendix to this Code, but in respect of a family member (other than a “relevant person”) or a person with whom that councillor has a close association and that interest is not a disclosable pecuniary interest.
5. Gifts and Hospitality
5.1 Councillors must, within 28 days of receipt, notify the Monitoring Officer in writing of any gift, benefit or hospitality with a value in excess of £50 which has been accepted as a Councillor from any person or body other than the Council
5.2 The Monitoring Officer will place this notification on a public register of gifts and hospitality
5.3 This duty to notify the Monitoring Officer does not apply where the gift, benefit or hospitality comes within any description approved by the Council for this purpose
6.1 S33 of the Localism Act 2011, allows a dispensation to be granted on written request to the Proper Officer allowing a Councillor to participate in discussion and/or take part in a vote on any matter where s/he has a disclosable pecuniary interest.
6.2 Dispensations may only be granted where so many Councillors have a disclosable pecuniary interest that without the dispensation the transaction of that business would be impeded OR the dispensation is considered to be in the interests of persons living in the area OR it is considered appropriate to grant a dispensation.
6.3 Dispensations granted must be for a specific period which may not exceed 4 years.
6.4 Any Councillor granted a dispensation shall declare the nature and existence of the dispensation before the start of any business to which it relates and this disclosure shall be minuted.
6.5 Where a dispensation is granted, the Councillor may remain in the room and participate in the discussion and vote on the matter in hand even where they would otherwise be prohibited because they have a dispensation.
6.6 General dispensations may be applied for to cover any allowance, payment or indemnity given to Councillors, setting the Precept under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 or other instance thought appropriate.
Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
The duties to register, disclose and not to participate in respect of any matter in which a Councillor has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011.
Disclosable pecuniary interests are defined in the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012 as follows –
Interest Prescribed description
Employment, office, trade, profession or vacation Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.
Sponsorship Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the relevant authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by you in carrying out duties as a member, or towards the election expenses of you.
This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
Contracts Any contract which is made between the relevant person (or a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest) and the Council –
(a) under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and
(b) which has not been fully discharged.
Land Any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the Council.
Licences Any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the Council for a month or longer.
Corporate tenancies Any tenancy where (to your knowledge)—
(a) the landlord is the Council; and
(b) the tenant is a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest.
Securities Any beneficial interest in securities of a body where—
(a) that body to your knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the Council; and
(i) the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or
(ii) if the share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.
For this purpose –
“the Act” means the Localism Act 2011;
“body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest” means a firm in which the relevant person is a partner or a body corporate of which the relevant person is a director, or in the securities of which the relevant person has a beneficial interest;
“director” includes a member of the committee of management of an industrial and provident society;
“land” excludes an easement, servitude, interest or right in or over land which does not carry with it a right for the relevant person (alone or jointly with another) to occupy the land or to receive income;
“member” includes a co-opted member;
“relevant period” means the period of 12 months ending with the day on which you give a notification for the purposes of section 30(1) or section 31(7) of the Act;
“relevant person” means you or any other person referred to in section 30(3)(b) of the Act;
“securities” means shares, debentures, debenture stock, loan stock, bonds, units of a collective investment scheme within the meaning of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and other securities of any description, other than money deposited with a building society.
1.1 Complaints against employees should be dealt with under employment legislation. Complainants should be assured that the matter will be dealt with internally as such and appropriate action taken as required.
1.2 Persons wishing to complain about a King’s Somborne Councillor should be advised to contact the Test Valley Borough Council Monitoring Officer for further information.
1.3 Complainants should be assured that their grievances will be properly and fully considered. It may be appropriate for a committee to be established to consider the action to be taken in which case the conclusions reached shall be reported to the next full Council meeting.
1.4 The procedure outlined below is designed for those complaints which cannot be satisfied by less formal measures or explanations provided to the complainant by the Clerk or other Proper Officer or by the Chairman.
1.5 At all times, the rules of natural justice will apply requiring all parties to be treated fairly and the process to be reasonable, accessible and transparent.
2. Before the meeting
2.1 The complainant shall be asked to put the complaint about the Council’s procedures or administration in writing to the Clerk or other nominated proper officer.
2.2 If the complainant does not wish to put the complaint to the Clerk or other proper officer, s/he shall be advised to put it to the Chairman.
2.3 The Clerk shall acknowledge the receipt of the complaint and advise the complainant when the matter will be considered by the Council or the committee established for the purpose of hearing complaints.
2.4 The complainant shall be invited to attend the relevant meeting and bring such representatives as s/he wishes.
2.5 Seven clear working days before the meeting, the complainant shall provide the Council with copies of any documentation or other evidence which s/he wishes to refer to at the meeting. The Council shall similarly provide the complainant with copies of any documentation upon which it wishes to rely at the meeting.
3. At the meeting
3.1 The Council shall consider whether the circumstances at the meeting warrant the exclusion of the public and the press. Any decision on a complaint shall be announced at the council meeting in public.
3.2 The Chairman shall introduce everyone.
3.3 The Chairman shall explain the procedure.
3.4 The complainant or representative shall outline the grounds for the complaint.
3.5 The committee members may ask any question of the complainant or representative.
3.6 If relevant, the Clerk or other proper officer shall explain the Council’s position.
3.7 The committee members may ask any question of the Clerk or other proper officer.
3.8 The Clerk or other proper officer and the complainant and representative if present shall be offered the opportunity of making a final statement (in this order).
3.9 The Clerk or other proper officer and the complainant and representative if present shall be asked to leave the room while committee members decide whether or not the grounds for the complaint have been established. Both parties shall be invited back if a point of clarification is necessary.
3.10 The Clerk or other proper officer and the complainant and representative if present shall return to hear the decision or to be advised when a decision will be made.
4. After the meeting
4.1 The decision shall be confirmed in writing within seven working days together with details of any action to be taken.
KING’S SOMBORNE FINANCIAL REGULATIONS
1.1 These financial regulations govern the conduct of financial management by the Council and may only be amended or varied by resolution of the Council.
1.2 The Council is responsible in law for ensuring that its financial management is adequate and effective and that there is a sound system of financial control which facilitates the effective exercise of the Council’s functions, including arrangements for the management of risk and for the prevention and detection of fraud and corruption. These financial regulations are designed to demonstrate how the Council meets these responsibilities.
1.3 The Council’s accounting control systems must include measures – for the timely production of accounts that provide for the safe and efficient safeguarding of public money to prevent and detect inaccuracies and fraud and identifying the duties of employees
1.4 At least once a year, prior to approving the Annual Governance Statement, the Council must review the effectiveness of its system of internal control which shall be in accordance with proper practices.
1.5 A breach of these regulations by an employee is gross misconduct and failure to follow instructions within these regulations by a ccouncillor brings the office of councillor into disrepute.
1.6 The Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) is a statutory officer and is appointed by the Council. The RFO, acting under the policy direction of the Council and Proper Officer within the terms of the RFO’s job description, shall administer the Council’s financial affairs in accordance with proper practices. The RFO shall determine on behalf of the Council its accounting records, and accounting control systems. The RFO shall ensure that the accounting control systems are observed and that the accounting records of the Council are maintained and kept up to date in accordance with proper practices.
1.7 The RFO shall produce financial management information as required by the Council.
1.8 All financial information prepared shall comply with the Accounts and Audit Regulations issued under the provision of s27 of the Audit Commission Act 1998, as amended.
1.9 Within these regulations, the Council is not empowered to delegate specific decisions. In particular, any decision regarding setting the budget, approving accounting statements, approving the annual governance statement, borrowing, writing off bad debts, declaring eligibility for the general power of competence or addressing recommendations in any report from the internal or external auditor.
1.10 The Council must keep the bank mandate under regular review.
2. Accounting and Audit (Internal and External)
2.1 All accounting procedures and financial records of the Council shall be determined by the RFO in accordance with the Accounts and Audit Regulations, appropriate guidance and proper practices.
2.2 At least quarterly and at the end of each financial year, the Chairman or Vice-Chairman shall verify the bank reconciliation statements and sign the reconciliations and bank statements as evidence of verification.
2.3 The RFO shall complete the annual statements of account, annual report and any related documents as soon as practicable after the end of the financial year.
2.4 The Council shall ensure there is an effective system of internal audit of its accounting records and of the system of internal control in accordance with proper practices. Councillors and employees shall make available such documents and records which appear to the Council to be necessary for the audit and shall provide such explanations as might be necessary.
2.5 The internal auditor shall be competent and independent of the financial operations of the Council. He shall report in writing and be free of any perceived conflicts of interest and have no involvement in the financial decision making, management or control of the Council
2.6 Internal and external auditors may not perform any operational duties for the Council, or initiate or approve accounting transactions or direct the activities of any employee, except to the extent such employees have been assigned to assist the internal auditor.
3. Annual Estimates (Budget) and Forward Planning
3.1 Detailed estimates of all payments and receipts including the use of reserves and all sources of funding for the year shall be prepared each year by the RFO in the form of a budget to be considered by the Council.
3.2 The Council shall review the budget not later than the end of December each year and shall fix the Precept to be levied for the ensuing financial year. The RFO shall issue the Precept to the billing authority and shall supply each member with a copy of the approved budget.
3.3 The annual budgets shall form the basis of financial control for the ensuing year.
3.4 The Council shall consider the need for appropriate longer-term financial forecasts and objectives, having regard to planned projects and expenditure.
3.5 The Council shall produce a three year forecast of revenue and capital receipts and payments which shall form the basis upon which budget proposals for the following year shall be made.
3.6 The approved annual budget shall form the basis of financial control for the ensuing year.
4. Budgetary control
4.1 No expenditure may be incurred that will exceed the amount provided in the revenue budget plus £500 for that class of expenditure except that during the budget year, and with the approval of Council having considered fully the implications for public services, unspent budget headings and available sums from reserves may be vired to other budget headings or to an earmarked reserve, as appropriate.
4.2 The RFO shall regularly provide the Council with a statement of payments and receipts to date under each budget head, comparing actual expenditure to the appropriate date against that planned as shown in the budget. These statements will normally be prepared monthly but must be prepared at least at the end of each financial quarter.
4.3 The Clerk may incur expenditure on behalf of the Council that is necessary to carry out any repair replacement or other work that is of such extreme urgency that it must be done at once, whether or not there is any budgetary provision for the expenditure, subject to a limit of £2500. The Clerk shall report the action to the Council as soon as practicable thereafter.
4.4 Unspent provisions in the revenue budget shall not be carried forward to a subsequent year unless placed in an earmarked reserve by resolution of the Council.
4.5 No expenditure shall be incurred in relation to any capital project and no contract entered into or tender accepted involving capital expenditure unless the Council is satisfied that the necessary funds are available, or the requisite borrowing approval has been obtained.
4.6 All capital works shall be administered in accordance with the Council’s Standing Orders and Financial Regulations relating to contracts.
5. Banking arrangements
5.1 The Council’s banking arrangements, including the Bank Mandate, shall be made by the RFO and approved by the Council. They shall be regularly reviewed for efficiency.
5.2 A schedule of the payments required to be authorised, forming part of the agenda for the meeting, shall be prepared by the RFO and be presented to every meeting of the Council. If the schedule is in order it shall be authorised by a resolution of the Council and shall be initialled by the Chairman of the meeting. A copy of the schedule will be attached to or included in the minutes of the meeting.
5.3 Cheques drawn on the bank account in accordance with the schedule referred to in paragraph 5.2 shall be signed by two authorized signatories and the Clerk.
5.4 To indicate agreement of the details shown on the cheque with the counterfoil and any supporting documentation, the signatories shall each also initial the cheque counterfoil.
5.5 The RFO may effect transfers of funds between accounts.
6. Payment of accounts
6.1 All payments shall be effected by BACs, CHAPs, internet banking transfer, cheque, direct debit or other order drawn on the Council’s bankers.
6.2 The Council will employ safe and efficient arrangements for making payments.
6.3 Following authorisation under para 5 above, the Council or if so delegated, the RFO, shall give instruction that a payment shall be made.
6.4 All payments shall be effected in accordance with a resolution of Council.
6.5 If thought appropriate by the Council, payment for utility supplies (energy, telephone and water), national non-domestic rates and subscription/affiliation fees, may be made by variable Direct Debit provided that the instructions are signed by the RFO and authorized by Council. The approval of the use of a variable Direct Debit shall be renewed by resolution of the Council at least every two years.
6.6 If thought appropriate by the Council, payment for certain items may be made by Banker’s Standing Order provided the instructions are signed or otherwise evidenced by the RFO, are retained and any payments made are reported to Council. The approval of the use of a Bankers Standing Order shall be renewed by resolution of the Council at least every two years.
6.7 If thought appropriate by the Council, payment for certain items may be made by BACS or CHAPS methods provided the instructions for each payment are signed or otherwise evidenced by the RFO, are retained and any payments made are reported to Council. The approval of the use of BACS or CHAPS shall be renewed by resolution of the Council at least every two years.
6.8 If thought appropriate by the Council, payment for certain items may be made by internet banking transfer provided evidence showing the payment is retained and any payments made are reported to Council.
6.9 Where a computer requires use of a personal identification number (PIN) or other password(s), for access to the Council’s records on that computer, a note shall be made of the PIN and passwords and shall be handed to and retained by the Chairman of Council in a sealed dated envelope. This envelope may not be opened other than in the presence of two other Councillors. After the envelope has been opened in any circumstances, the PIN and/or passwords shall be changed as soon as practicable. The fact that the sealed envelope has been opened, in whatever circumstances, shall be reported to all Councillors immediately and formally at the next available meeting of the Council.
6.10 No employee or Councillor shall disclose any PIN or password, relevant to the working of the Council or its bank accounts, to any person not authorized in writing by the Council or a duly delegated committee.
6.11 Regular back-up copies of the records on any computer shall be made and shall be stored securely away from the computer in question.
6.12 The Council, and any Councillors using computers for the Council’s financial business, shall ensure that anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software with automatic updates, together with a high level of security, is used.
6.13 Where internet banking arrangements are made with any bank, the Clerk shall be appointed as the Service Administrator.
6.14 Access to any internet banking accounts will be directly to the access page (which may be saved under “favourites”), and not through a search engine or e-mail link.
6.15 Changes to account details for suppliers, which are used for internet banking may only be changed on written hard copy notification by the supplier. A programme of regular checks of standing data with suppliers should be followed.
6.16 All invoices for payment shall be examined, verified and certified by the RFO. The RFO shall satisfy himself that the work, goods or services to which the invoice relates, shall have been received, carried out, examined and approved.
6.17 The RFO shall examine invoices for arithmetical accuracy and shall allocate them to the appropriate expenditure heading. The RFO shall take appropriate steps to settle all invoices submitted, and which are in order, at the next available Council meeting.
6.18 If payment is necessary before the next scheduled meeting of Council, where the RFO certifies there is no dispute or other reason to delay payment, the RFO may, notwithstanding para 6.17, take appropriate steps to settle such invoices provided that such payments are included in the schedule referred to in para 5.2.
6.19 The Council will not maintain any form of cash float. All cash received shall be banked intact. Any payments made in cash by staff shall be refunded on a regular basis.
7. Payment of salaries
7.1 As an employer, the Council shall make arrangements to meet fully the statutory requirements placed on all employers by PAYE and National Insurance legislation. The payment of all salaries shall be made in accordance with payroll records and the rules of PAYE and National Insurance currently operating, and salaries shall be as agreed by Council.
7.2 Payment of salaries and payment of deductions from salaries such as may be made for tax, national insurance and pension contributions, may be made in accordance with the payroll records and on the appropriate dates stipulated in employment contracts, provided that such payments are approved at the next available Council meeting.
7.3 No changes to employee’s pay, emoluments, or terms and conditions of employment shall be made without the prior consent of the Council.
7.4 Payments to employees are confidential and such records are not open to review under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, or otherwise, other than by a Councillor who demonstrates a need to know, or the internal or external auditor.
8. Loans and investments
8.1 All loans and investments shall be negotiated in the name of the Council and shall be for a set period in accordance with Council policy.
8.2 The Council shall consider the need for an Investment Policy which, if drawn up, shall be in accordance with relevant regulations, proper practices and guidance. Any policy shall be reviewed at least annually.
8.3 All investments of money under the control of the Council shall be in the name of the Council.
8.4 All borrowings shall be effected in the name of the Council, after obtaining any necessary borrowing approval. Any application for borrowing approval shall be approved by the Council as to terms and purpose. The terms and conditions of borrowings shall be reviewed at least annually.
8.5 All investment certificates and other documents relating thereto shall be retained in the custody of the RFO.
9.1 The collection of all sums due to the Council shall be the responsibility of and under the supervision of the RFO.
9.2 Particulars of all charges to be made for work done, services rendered or goods supplied shall be agreed annually by the Council, notified to the RFO and the RFO shall be responsible for the collection of all accounts due to the Council.
9.3 The Council will review all fees and charges annually, following a report by the RFO.
9.4 Any sums found to be irrecoverable and any bad debts shall be reported to the Council and shall be written off in the year.
9.5 All sums received on behalf of the Council shall be banked intact as directed by the RFO. All receipts shall be deposited with the Council’s bankers with such frequency as the RFO considers necessary.
9.6 The origin of each receipt shall be entered on the paying-in slip.
9.7 Personal cheques shall not be cashed out of money held on behalf of the Council.
9.8 The RFO shall complete promptly any VAT Returns required. Any repayment claim due in accordance with VAT Act 1994 section 33 shall be made at least annually coinciding with the financial year-end.
9.9 Where any significant sums of cash are received by the Council, the RFO shall take such steps as are agreed by the Council to ensure that more than one person is present when the cash is counted in the first instance, that there is a reconciliation to some form of control such as ticket issues, and that appropriate care is taken in the security and safety of individuals banking such cash.
10. Orders for works, goods and services
10.1 An official order by letter or e-mail shall be issued for all work, goods and services unless a formal contract is to be prepared.
10.2 Order books, if in use, shall be controlled by the RFO.
10.3 All Councillors and employees are responsible for obtaining value for money at all times. An employee issuing an official order shall ensure as far as reasonable and practicable that the best available terms are obtained in respect of each transaction, for example by obtaining three or more quotations or estimates from appropriate suppliers, subject to any de minimis provisions in Regulation 11.1 below.
10.4 The RFO shall verify the lawful nature of any proposed purchase before the issue of any order, and in the case of new or infrequent purchases or payments, the RFO shall ensure that the statutory authority for such payments shall be reported to the meeting at which the order is approved so that the minutes can record the power being used.
10.5 A Councillor may not issue any official order or enter into any contract on behalf of the Council unless exceptionally specific authority has been granted and minuted.
11.1 Procedures for contracts are as follows:
a Every contract shall comply with these financial regulations, and no exceptions shall be made otherwise than by resolution of the Council or in an emergency, provided that these regulations shall not apply to contracts which relate to items (i) to (vi) below:
(i) for the supply of utility services;
(ii) for specialist services such as are provided by solicitors, accountants, surveyors and planning consultants;
(iii) for work to be executed or goods or materials to be supplied which consist of repairs to or parts for existing machinery or equipment;
(iv) for work to be executed or goods or materials to be supplied which constitute an extension of an existing contract by the Council;
(v) for additional audit work of the External Auditor up to an estimated value of £500 (in excess of this sum the RFO shall act after consultation with the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of Council);
(vi) for goods or materials proposed to be purchased which are proprietary articles and/or are only sold at a fixed price.
b Where it is intended to enter into a contract exceeding £164,176 in value for the supply of goods or materials as defined by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 as amended or for the execution of works or specialist services other than such goods, materials, works or specialist services as are excepted as set out in paragraph (a) the RFO shall invite tenders from at least three contractors.
c When applications are made to waive Financial Regulations relating to contracts to enable a price to be negotiated without competition the reason shall be embodied in a recommendation approved by the Council.
d Such invitation to tender shall state the general nature of the intended contract and the RFO shall obtain the necessary technical assistance to prepare a specification in appropriate cases. The invitation shall in addition state that tenders must be addressed to the Clerk in the ordinary course of post. Each tendering contractor shall be supplied with a specifically marked envelope in which the tender is to be sealed and remain sealed until the prescribed date for opening tenders for that contract.
e All sealed tenders shall be opened at the same time on the prescribed date by the Clerk in the presence of at least one member of Council.
f If less than three tenders are received for contracts above £60,000 or if all the tenders are identical the Council may make such arrangements as it thinks fit for procuring the goods or materials or executing the works.
g Any invitation to tender issued under this regulation shall contain a statement to the effect that any canvassing by or of a Councillor shall disqualify that contractor from the tendering process. (Bribery Act 2010)
h When the Council is to enter into a contract less than £60,000 but greater than £10,000 in value for the supply of goods or materials or for the execution of works or specialist services other than such goods, materials, works or specialist services as are excepted as set out in paragraph (a) the RFO shall obtain 3 quotations (priced descriptions of the proposed supply), if appropriate; otherwise, Regulation 10 (3) above shall apply.
i. The Council shall not be obliged to accept the lowest or any tender, quote or estimate.
12.1 Following the annual risk assessment (per Financial Regulation 14), the Clerk shall effect all insurances and negotiate all claims on the Council’s insurers.
12.2 The Clerk shall keep a record of all insurances effected by the Council and the property and risks covered thereby and annually review it.
12.3 The Clerk shall be notified of any loss liability or damage or of any event likely to lead to a claim, and the Clerk shall report these to Council at the next available meeting.
12.4 All appropriate employees of the Council shall be included in a suitable fidelity guarantee insurance, which shall cover the maximum risk exposure as determined by the Council.
13. Assets, Properties and Estates
13.1 The Clerk shall make appropriate arrangements for the custody of all title deeds and Land Registry Certificates of properties held by the Council. The Clerk shall ensure a record is maintained of all properties held by the Council, recording the location, extent, plan, reference, purchase details, nature of the interest, tenancies granted, rents payable and purpose for which held in accordance with Accounts and Audit Regulations.
13.2 No tangible moveable property shall be purchased or otherwise acquired, sold, leased or otherwise disposed of, without the authority of the Council, together with any other consents required by law, save where the estimated value of any one item of tangible movable property does not exceed £500.
13.3 No real property (interests in land) shall be sold, leased or otherwise disposed of without the authority of the Council, together with any other consents required by law, In each case a report in writing shall be provided to Council in respect of valuation and surveyed condition of the property (including matters such as planning permissions and covenants) together with a proper business case (including an adequate level of consultation with the electorate).
13.4 No real property (interests in land) shall be purchased or acquired without the authority of the full Council. In each case a report in writing shall be provided to Council in respect of valuation and surveyed condition of the property (including matters such as planning permissions and covenants) together with a proper business case (including an adequate level of consultation with the electorate).
13.5 Subject only to the limit set in para 13.2 above, no tangible moveable property shall be purchased or acquired without the authority of the full Council. In each case a report in writing shall be provided to Council with a full business case, as appropriate.
13.5 The Clerk shall ensure that an appropriate and accurate Register of Assets and Investments is kept up to date. The continued existence of tangible assets shown in the Register shall be verified at least annually, possibly in conjunction with a health and safety inspection of assets.
14. Risk management
14.1 The Council is responsible for putting in place arrangements for the management of risk. The Clerk shall prepare, for approval by the Council, risk management policy statements in respect of all activities of the Council. Risk policy statements and consequential risk management arrangements shall be reviewed by the Council at least annually.
14.2 When considering any new activity, the Clerk shall prepare a draft risk assessment including risk management proposals for consideration and adoption by the Council.
15. Revision of Financial Regulations
15.1 It shall be the duty of the Council to review these Financial Regulations from time to time. The RFO shall make arrangements to monitor changes in legislation or proper practices and shall advise the Council of any requirement for a consequential amendment to these financial regulations.
16. Suspension of regulations
16.1 The Council may, by resolution of the Council, duly notified prior to the relevant meeting of Council, suspend any part of these Financial Regulations if reasons for the suspension are recorded and that an assessment of the risk arising has been drawn up and presented in advance to Councillors.
Information & Data Protection, E-mail and Internet Policy
In order to conduct its business, services and duties, King’s Somborne Parish Council processes a wide range of data, relating to its own operations and some which it handles on behalf of partners. In broad terms, this data can be classified as:
• Data shared in the public arena about the services it offers, its mode of operations and other information it is required to make available to the public.
• Confidential information and data not yet in the public arena such as ideas, projects, programmes or policies that are being worked up.
• Confidential information about other organisations because of commercial sensitivity.
• Personal data concerning its current, past and potential employees, Councillors, and volunteers.
• Personal data concerning individuals who contact it for information, to access its services or facilities or to make a complaint.
King’s Somborne Parish Council will adopt procedures and manage responsibly, all data which it handles and will respect the confidentiality of both its own data and that belonging to partner organisations it works with and members of the public. In some cases, it will have contractual obligations towards confidential data, but in addition will have specific legal responsibilities for personal and sensitive information under data protection legislation.
This Policy is linked to our Quality Policy and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy which will ensure information considerations are central to the ethos of the Council.
King’s Somborne Parish Council will periodically review and revise this policy in the light of experience, comments from data subjects and guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office.
King’s Somborne Parish Council will be as transparent as possible about its operations and will work closely with public, community and voluntary organisations. Therefore, in the case of all information which is not personal or confidential or in the process of being worked up, it will be prepared to make such information available to partners and members of the Parish’s communities. Details of information which is routinely available is contained in the Council’s Publication Scheme which is based on the statutory model publication scheme for local councils.
Protecting Confidential or Sensitive Information
King’s Somborne Parish Council recognises it must at times, keep and process sensitive and personal information about both employees and the public; it has therefore adopted this policy not only to meet its legal obligations but to ensure high standards.
The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which became law on 25th May 2018 will like the Data Protection Act 1998, seek to strike a balance between the rights of individuals and the sometimes competing interests of the Parish Council with legitimate reasons for using personal information.
The policy is based on the premise that Personal Data must be:
• Processed fairly, lawfully and in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject.
• Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes.
• Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.
• Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.
• Kept in a form that permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed.
• Processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.
• Deleted when no longer required or relevant.
Data Protection Terminology
Data subject – means the person whose personal data is being processed.
That may be an employee, prospective employee, associate or prospective associate of King’s Somborne Parish Council or someone transacting with it in some way, or an employee, Member or volunteer with one of our clients, or persons transacting or contracting with one of our clients when we process data for them.
Personal data – means any information relating to a natural person or data subject that can be used directly or indirectly to identify the person. This can be anything from a name, a photo, and an address, date of birth, an email address, bank details, and posts on social networking sites or a computer IP address.
Sensitive personal data – includes information about racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, and religious or other beliefs, trade union membership, medical information, sexual orientation, genetic and biometric data or information related to offences or alleged offences where it is used to uniquely identify an individual.
Data controller – means a person who (either alone or jointly or in common with other persons) (e.g. Parish Council, employer, other council) determines the purposes for which and the manner in which any personal data is to be processed.
Data processor – in relation to personal data, means any person (other than an employee of the data controller) who processes the data on behalf of the data controller.
Processing information or data – means obtaining, recording or holding the information or data or carrying out any operation or set of operations on the information or data, including:
• organising, adapting or altering it
• retrieving, consulting or using the information or data
• disclosing the information or data by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making it available
• aligning, combining, blocking, erasing or destroying the information or data. regardless of the
• technology used.
King’s Somborne Parish Council processes personal data in order to:
• fulfil its duties as an employer by complying with the terms of contracts of employment, safeguarding the employee and maintaining information required by law.
• pursue the legitimate interests of its business and its duties as a public body, by fulfilling contractual terms with other organisations, and maintaining information required by law.
• monitor its activities including the equality and diversity of its activities
• fulfil its duties in operating the business premises including security
• assist regulatory and law enforcement agencies
• process information including the recording and updating details about its Councillors, employees, partners and volunteers.
• process information including the recording and updating details about individuals who contact it for information, or to access a service, or make a complaint.
• undertake surveys, censuses and questionnaires to fulfil the objectives and purposes of the Council.
• undertake research, audit and quality improvement work to fulfil its objects and purposes.
• carry out Council administration.
Where appropriate, and governed by necessary safeguards, we will carry out the above processing jointly with other appropriate bodies from time to time.
King’s Somborne Parish Council will ensure that at least one of the following conditions is met for personal information to be considered fairly processed:
• The individual has consented to the processing
• Processing is necessary for the performance of a contract or agreement with the individual
• Processing is required under a legal obligation
• Processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the individual
• Processing is necessary to carry out public functions
• Processing is necessary in order to pursue the legitimate interests of the data controller or third parties.
Particular attention is paid to the processing of any sensitive personal information and King’s Somborne Parish Council will ensure that at least one of the following conditions is met:
• Explicit consent of the individual
• Required by law to process the data for employment purposes
• A requirement in order to protect the vital interests of the individual or another person
Who is responsible for protecting a person’s personal data?
King’s Somborne Parish Council as a corporate body has ultimate responsibility for ensuring compliance with the Data Protection legislation. The Council has delegated this responsibility day to day to the Parish Clerk.
• Email: email@example.com
King’s Somborne Parish Council monitors the diversity of its employees and Councillors in order to ensure that there is no inappropriate or unlawful discrimination in the way it conducts its activities. It undertakes similar data handling in respect of prospective employees. This data will always be treated as confidential. It will only be accessed by authorised individuals within the Council and will not be disclosed to any other bodies or individuals. Diversity information will never be used as selection criteria and will not be made available to others involved in the recruitment process. Anonymised data derived from diversity monitoring will be used for monitoring purposes and may be published and passed to other bodies.
The Council will always give guidance on personnel data to employees, councillors, partners and volunteers through a Privacy Notice and ensure that individuals on whom personal information is kept are aware of their rights and have easy access to that information on request.
Appropriate technical and organisational measures will be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.
Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.
Information provided to us
The information provided (personal information such as name, address, email address, phone number) will be processed and stored so that it is possible for us to contact, respond to or conduct the transaction requested by the individual. By transacting with King’s Somborne Parish Council, individuals are deemed to be giving consent for their personal data provided to be used and transferred in accordance with this policy, however where ever possible specific written consent will be sought. It is the responsibility of those individuals to ensure that the Parish Council is able to keep their personal data accurate and up-to-date. The personal information will be not shared or provided to any other third party or be used for any purpose other than that for which it was provided.
The Council’s Right to Process Information
General Data Protection Regulations (and Data Protection Act) Article 6 (1) (a) (b) and (e)
Processing is with consent of the data subject, or
Processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation.
Processing is necessary for the legitimate interests of the Council.
King’s Somborne Parish Council strives to ensure the security of personal data. It will ensure that this information is protected from unauthorised access, loss, manipulation, falsification, destruction or unauthorised disclosure. This is done through appropriate technical measures and appropriate policies.
It will only keep this data for the purpose it was collected for and only for as long as is necessary, after which it will be deleted.
We will not process any data relating to a child (under 13) without the express parental/ guardian consent of the child concerned.
Rights of a Data Subject
Access to Information: An individual has the right to request access to the information held on them. They can be done by contacting the Parish Clerk or Data Protection Officer:
Information Correction: If an individual believes that the information held is incorrect they should contact the Parish Clerk to have it updated.
Information Deletion: If an individual wishes the information held about them to be deleted they should contact the Parish Clerk.
Right to Object: If an individual believes their data is not being processed for the purpose it has been collected for they may object by contacting the Parish Clerk or Data Protection Officer.
The Parish Council does not use automated decision making or profiling of individual personal data.
Complaints: If an individual has a complaint regarding the way their personal data has been processed, they may make a complaint to the Parish Clerk, Data Protection Officer or the Information Commissioner’s Office firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0303 123 1113.
The Parish Council will always give guidance on personnel data to employees through their contract of employment.
The Parish Council will ensure that individuals on whom personal information is kept are aware of their rights and have easy access to that information on request.
Making Information Available
The Publication Scheme is a means by which the Council can make a significant amount of information available routinely, without waiting for someone to specifically request it. The scheme is intended to encourage local people to take an interest in the work of the Council and its role within the community.
In accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this Scheme specifies the classes of information which the Council publishes or intends to publish. It is supplemented with an Information Guide which will give greater detail of what the Council will make available and hopefully make it easier for people to access it.
All formal meetings of Council and its committees are subject to statutory notice being given on notice boards and the Council’s website. The Council publishes an annual programme in January each year. All formal meetings are open to the public and press, and reports tabled at those meetings and relevant background papers are available for the public to see. The Council welcomes public participation and has a public participation session at each Council and Committee meeting. Details can be seen in the Council’s Standing Orders which are available on its website.
Occasionally, Council or committees may need to consider matters in private. Examples of this are matters involving personal details of staff, or a particular member of the public, or where details of commercial/contractual sensitivity are to be discussed. This will only happen after a formal resolution has been passed to exclude the press and public and reasons for the decision are stated. Minutes from all formal meetings (excluding the confidential elements) are public documents.
The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 requires written records to be made of certain decisions taken by officers under delegated powers. These are not routine operational and
administrative decisions such as giving instructions to the workforce or paying an invoice approved by Council but would include urgent action taken after consultation with the Chairman (or in the Chairman’s absence, the Vice Chairman), such as responding to a planning application in advance of Council. In other words, decisions which would have been made by Council or Committee had the delegation not been in place.
The 2014 Regulations also amend the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 to allow the public or press to film, photograph or make an audio recording of Council and Committee meetings normally open to the public. The Council will where possible facilitate such recording unless it is being disruptive. It will also take steps to ensure that children, the vulnerable and members of the public who object to being filmed, are protected without undermining the broader purpose of the meeting.
The Council will be pleased to make special arrangements on request for persons who do not have English as their first language or those with hearing or sight difficulties.
The Council will as necessary undertake checks on both staff and Members with the Disclosure and Barring Service and will comply with their Code of Conduct relating to the secure storage, handling, use, retention and disposal of Disclosures and Disclosure Information. It will include an appropriate operating procedure in its integrated quality management system.
The Council has resolved to act in accordance with the Code of Recommended Practice for Local Authorities on Data Transparency (September 2011). This sets out the key principles for local authorities in creating greater transparency through the publication of public data and is intended to help them meet obligations of the legislative framework concerning information.
“Public data” means the objective, factual data on which policy decisions are based and on which public services are assessed, or which is collected or generated in the course of public service delivery.
The Code will therefore underpin the Council’s decisions on the release of public data and ensure it is proactive in pursuing higher standards and responding to best practice as it develops.
The principles of the Code are:
Demand led: new technologies and publication of data should support transparency and accountability
Open: the provision of public data will be integral to the Council’s engagement with residents so that it drives accountability to them.
Timely: data will be published as soon as possible following production.
Government has also issued a further Code of Recommended Practice on Transparency, compliance of which is compulsory for parish councils with turnover (gross income or gross expenditure) not exceeding £25,000 per annum. These councils will be exempt from the requirement to have an external audit from April 2017. King’s Somborne Parish Council exceeds this turnover but will never the less ensure the following information is published on its website for ease of access:
• All transactions above £100.
• End of year accounts
• Annual Governance Statements
• Internal Audit Reports
• List of Councillor or Member responsibilities
• Details of public land and building assets
• Draft minutes of Council and committees within one month
Agendas and associated papers no later than three clear days before the meeting.
Standard format for the signature on all Council e-mails
Councillors are able to include further contact details above the name of the Parish Council.
Cllr Name Surname
King’s Somborne Parish Council
Information contained in this e-mail and any attachment is intended solely for the addressee(s) only and may be confidential and/or legally privileged. Should you not be the intended recipient, any dissemination, distribution, copying or the taking of any action in reliance of this email, or use of this communication without the prior permission of the addressee is strictly prohibited. If you receive this message in error, please immediately and permanently delete it from your system and notify the sender by return e-mail. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure this email is free of viruses which may affect any IT system, it is nevertheless the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that any e-mails or attachments are virus free, as the sender accepts no responsibility. Any views expressed by the author may not necessarily reflect those of King’s Somborne Parish Council.
DEALING WITH THE PRESS, MEDIA and SOCIAL NETWORK SITES
1.1 The Council adopts as transparent a policy as possible in dealing with enquiries from the media and members of the public in recognition of the democratic structure of the Council, the delivery of public services and its commitment to Freedom of Information.
2. Points of contact
2.1 The Chairman and/or the Clerk, have the main responsibility for fielding media/public enquiries, issuing news releases and communicating with staff, editing the Council website and dealing with Freedom of Information requests. A Councillor may have delegated authority to undertake aspects of this at the discretion of the Council.
3. Media Outlets
3.1 There will be a variety of local newspapers, radio stations, television companies and major news (freelance) agencies feeding the national press interested in Council and other local activities. All of them have staff reporters operating in the area and there is a growing network of community newspapers and community radio stations with which the Chairman and/or Clerk should develop a working liaison.
4. Press Releases
4.1 The Council will release articles to the media as the need arises. It can also display them on the Council website. Articles are issued by the Clerk to ensure consistency of quality and presentation.
5. Handling Media Enquiries
5.1 Calls from national newspapers and general media enquiries are to be channelled through the Chairman or Clerk.
5.2 Any media inquiry relating to a matter of a serious or disciplinary nature is to be referred to the Chairman.
6. Media Training
6.1 The Chairman and Clerk should, as necessary, undergo training to assist them in handling enquiries from the media.
7. Social media – General
7.1 Social media can bring great advantages in communication and this policy is intended to encourage its responsible use.
7.2 Users of social media must ensure that they act sensibly and responsibly without adversely affecting the Council or damaging its reputation and credibility. They must also ensure they keep to any Council guidelines regarding the use of social media.
7.3 The use by staff of social media whilst at work is currently restricted to the King’s Somborne Parish Council Facebook page. The use of Twitter by staff is not currently permitted nor is use of chat rooms. Employees using social media must be aware of and comply with the Council’s Social Media policy.
7.4 The following guidelines should be followed by staff and by Councillors when acting in their capacity as a Councillor, or when signing off an email, comment, posting, or any other form of digital entry in social media as a Councillor. Where necessary, a Councillor should add the caveat that ‘the views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the views and opinions of King’s Somborne Parish Council’.
7.5 No Parish Council content should be published unless it is already on the Council’s website, or with the prior approval of the Clerk. Information should be accurate, fair, thorough and transparent.
7.6 All should remember that what is published will be in the public domain
• indefinitely and that you may be held personally responsible for the content that you publish.
• compliance with data protection, intellectual property and copyright laws should be ensured.
• confidential matters from Council meetings must not be published or reported on in social media.
• details about customers, partners or suppliers should not be referred to without their prior written approval (ensuring no advertisement of the services and goods of third parties).
• staff and councillors must refrain from promoting themselves as working for the Council, in a way which has, or may have, the effect of bringing the Council into disrepute.
• staff and Councillors must not disclose personal data or information about the Council, or its service users, employees or councillors that breach the Data Protection Act 1998 (e.g. photographs, images).
• staff and Councillors must not give out personal details such as home address and telephone numbers unless specifically required for the purposes of the comment or posting, for example to give contact details that need to be publicised for which permission has been given, or for which details are already available in the public domain.
• staff and Councillors must not make any defamatory remarks about the Council, its service users, employees, other Councillors or conduct themselves in a way that is detrimental to the Council.
• staff and Councillors must not use insulting, offensive or racist language, or engage in any other conduct that would not be acceptable in the workplace.
• staff and Councillors must not receive, send, or display offensive messages or pictures.
• Staff and Councillors must not issue passwords to third parties unless authorised to do so, or use anyone else’s password or identity.
8. Control of the King’s Somborne Parish Council Facebook Page
8.1 Postings may only be made by an appointed Councillor or the Clerk, who will be responsible for removing any unacceptable comments. Comments by others will be considered unacceptable if they do not follow the guidelines outlined above for staff and Councillors. The appointed Councillor will use his best endeavours to check the Facebook page each working day, with arrangements being put into place for others to check the page during holiday periods.
8.2 Postings by others are not permitted on the King’s Somborne Parish Council Facebook page unless there is a clear case for doing so. Such cases to be determined by the appointed Councillor or the Clerk.
Guidance on use of Social Media by Councillors
Social media is a collective term used to describe easy ways to create and publish on the internet. People generally use the term to describe how organisations and individuals share content – text, video and pictures – and create conversations on the web. It has grown substantially over recent years as a means of communicating and sharing information. Popular sites include (but are not limited to) Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Blogger, WordPress and YouTube. The important thing to remember about social media is that it is social. It is about communication.
1. Maintaining good ‘netiquette’
Councillors, just like anyone, should take due regard of internet security and to ensure that communications remain proper and appropriate, the following practical points may assist:
• Make your commenting policy clear
You will need to take note of the comments that other people make on your site. It may be a fine line to tread, but if you allow offensive or disrespectful comments to stand on your site then it can put off other members of your community, and you may even be called to account under the councillors Code of Conduct. For blogs, the easiest way to handle this is to moderate comments and to state clearly on your site that you’re doing so and reasons why comments may be rejected. For Facebook or other social networks, including multi-media sites like YouTube and Flickr where people can post public or semi-public messages to your profile, you will need to regularly check on messages (you can be notified by email) or disable message posting.
• Allow disagreement
Some comments may not accord with your views, but on the other hand deleting the comments of people who disagree with you will backfire. You cannot stop them from posting the same comment elsewhere, then linking back to your site and saying you are gagging those who disagree with you.
• Think before you publish
Words cannot be unspoken and even if you delete a hastily fired off blog post or tweet, it will probably have already been read and will be referenced or duplicated in places on the web beyond your reach.
• “Following” and “friending”
Some of the terminology in social media, like ‘following’ or ‘friending’ can imply an intimacy that’s not really there. Both terms just mean you have linked your account to someone else so you can share information. Experienced internet users are used to this, but some members of the public may feel uneasy when their councillor begins following them on Twitter before establishing some sort of online relationship. Some Members wait to be followed themselves first.
Do make use of other communication functions that social media allows you. Twitter’s ‘list’ function, for example, can help you to follow local people in a less direct way. Bloggers are, however, almost invariably happy for you to link to them.
You must think carefully about who you request to be ‘friends’ with or accept ‘friend’ requests from. Requesting or accepting, for example, an officer of the Council as a ‘friend’ on a social network site must not compromise the professional and impartial relationship between officers and elected members. Generally, this should be avoided.
• If you make a mistake:
Social media is transparent, the best bloggers admit mistakes rather than try to cover them up (which is not possible online). Amending your text and acknowledging your mistake – perhaps by putting a line through the offending words and inserting a correction or providing an update section at the bottom of a blog post – shows you are not pretending it never happened, and it’s much better than just deleting it when dealing with online misfires.
• Avoid the difficult users
As you begin to use social media, you’ll find some argumentative characters out there. Don’t get bogged down. You don’t have to respond to everything. Ignore if necessary.
2. Legal Considerations
In the main, councillors have the same legal duties online as anyone else (see below), but failures to comply with the law may have more serious consequences. There are some additional duties around using a councillor’s website for electoral campaigning and extra care needs to be taken when writing on planning, licensing and other quasi-judicial matters.
If you publish an untrue statement about a person which is damaging to their reputation they may take a libel action against you. This will also apply if you allow someone else to publish something libellous on your website if you know about it and don’t take prompt action to remove it. A successful libel claim against you will result in an award of damages against you.
Placing images or text on your site from a copyrighted source (for example extracts from publications or photos) without permission is likely to breach copyright. Avoid publishing anything you are unsure about or seek permission in advance. Breach of copyright may result in an award of damages against you.
c) Data Protection
Avoid publishing the personal data of individuals unless you have their express written permission.
d) Bias and pre-determination
If you are involved in determining planning or licensing applications or other quasi-judicial decisions, avoid publishing anything on your blog that might suggest you don’t have an open mind about a matter you may be involved in determining. If not, the decision runs the risk of being invalidated.
e) Obscene material
It goes without saying that you should avoid publishing anything in your blog that people would consider obscene. Publication of obscene material is a criminal offence.
f) Bullying and Discriminatory comments
Behaving in a discriminatory, bullying or harassing way towards any individual including making offensive or derogatory comments relating to sex, gender reassignment, race (including nationality), disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief or age via social media by posting images or links or comments could, in certain circumstances, result in criminal sanction.
g) Electoral periods
The Electoral Commission requires that candidates provide a return of expenditure on any form of advertising or campaign literature and that includes web advertising. There are additional requirements, such as imprint standards for materials, which can be downloaded from a website. Full guidance for candidates can be found at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.
While the above list is not exhaustive, it does highlight some of the more obvious issues. Almost all of these pitfalls can be avoided if your online content is objective, balanced, informative and accurate.
3. The Councillors’ Code of Conduct
It is worth pointing out that councillors can have ‘blurred identities’ when they have a social media account where they comment both as a councillor and as a private individual. For example, you may have a Facebook account where you’ve posted about a great night out (in your personal/private capacity) and another time explained the Council’s position on pothole repair (in your councillor capacity). It may be clear in your mind when you are posting in a private capacity or as a councillor, but it could be less clear to others. Such blurred identities might, for example, have implications where your views are taken as those of the Council or political party, rather than your personal opinion. It is important to be clear in your social media accounts/profiles, then you can be confident as to what you can and cannot say while you are representing the Council or a political party.
How you use your online identity will also determine how online content will be treated in respect of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct. Councillors are expected to communicate politically. As explained above, there is a difference between communicating on behalf of the Council, for example blogging as an elected councillor or as a private citizen, and the former will be held to a higher standard than the latter.
The key to whether your online activity is subject to the Councillors’ Code of Conduct is whether you are giving the impression that you are acting as a councillor, and that is the case whether you are in fact acting in an official capacity or simply giving the impression that you are doing so. One way to separate your personal/private business from your activities as a councillor is to have two separate accounts: one for personal/private business and the other for councillor activities. The latter account would have the title of Councillor in the profile name to clearly identify the role you are undertaking when using that account. This separation of accounts will assist in managing lists of friends and the content of any tweets/post etc.
Aspects of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct will apply to your online activity in the same way it does to other written or verbal communication you undertake. Councillors should comply with the general principles of the Code in what they publish and what they allow others to publish. You will need to be particularly aware of the following sections of the Code:
• Treating others with respect. Avoid personal attacks and any disrespectful, rude or offensive comments.
• Refraining from publishing anything you have received in confidence.
• Ensuring you do not bring the Council or your councillor role into disrepute.
4. Elections – Purdah
The same guidance applies to your use of social media during the “purdah” period before elections. Purdah does not affect a councillor’s ability to use social media in the normal responsible way provided you are not using Council resources to do so where you wish to perhaps promote an election candidate or a particular political party. The use of Council hosted member blogs while not currently supported by the council would tend, in any event, to be suspended during purdah. It is worth remembering, of course, that there can be heightened tension and debate at election time and comments can be made in the heat of the moment which, on reflection, would not have been said or made in the normal course of events and which could lead to allegations of councillor misconduct.
Health and Safety at work
1. King’s Somborne Parish Council has adopted this policy and accepts ultimate responsibility for health and safety in the work place. This involves good practice, ensuring the allocation of resources where necessary and regular review.
2. The Clerk is reponsible for implementing and monitoring health and safety within the work environment.
Statement of Intent
3. It is the Council’s policy that so far as is reasonably praticable its operation and services are conducted in such a manner as to prevent harm or injury to councillors, staff, visitors, contractors, property and the environment. It also recognises its duty to take all reasonable steps to continuously review and make improvements when and where necessary in health , safety and welfare standards, and to ensure that its statutory obligations are met at all times.
4. To comply with the Statement of Intent, the Council has set the following objectives
a to observe Health and Safety legislation
b to establish and maintain high standards for health and safety
c to identify risk and set in place programmes to remove or reduce that risk
d to ensure competent advice is available when necessary
e to ensure all relevant information is shared between councillors, staff and contractors, as appropriate
f to provide channels of communication to enable health and safety issues to be raised
g to ensure all necessary training is given
5. Staff are required to co-operate in implementing the requirements of health and safety procedures and refrain from doing anything which might constitute a danger to themselves or others. Good standards of housekeeping should be maintained and a good example set at all times.
6. All contractors working with or for the Council are to comply with the appropriate rules and regulations governing their work activities.
7. All contractors are legally responsible for their own workforce and for ensuring their work is completed in a safe manner.