Budget Setting and Precept Calculation
Parish councils, irrespective of their size, have a statutory duty to prepare an annual budget. The budget process:
- results in the council setting the precept for the following year
- gives the clerk overall authority to make spending commitments in line with the decisions of the council
- enables progress monitoring during the year by comparing actual spending against planned spending.
The budget is one of the most important annual tasks that the council must undertake and is required as part of ‘proper practices’ set out in the Practitioners’ Guide. It is not lawful to set a precept unless a budget has been prepared and approved.
The ‘precept’ is a balancing figure, referred to in legislation in England as ‘the council tax requirement’ after taking into account projected expenditure, other estimated income and any transfers to or from reserve.
A budget proposal is put to the council in November and December by the clerk as its Responsible Financial Officer to help councillors decide the precept for the following year. It shows plans for expenditure and also income other than the precept and includes a precept calculation.
A budget monitoring document is presented to the councillors at least quarterly throughout the accounting year so they can assess progress against the planned budget for receipts and payments to date.
2022 Audit Documents
2021 Audit Documents
2020 Audit Documents
Annual Expenditure over £100
The Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities (December 2014) requires the publication of all items of expenditure above £100, no later than 1 July in the year immediately following the accounting year to which it relates.
This code applies to “smaller authorities” including parish councils in England with an annual turnover not exceeding £25,000, where turnover is defined as the higher of an authority’s gross income and its gross expenditure for the accounting year. In the case of parish councils the accounting year covers the period 1 April in one year to the 31 March the following year. Slapton Parish Council meet this requirement by highlighting all expenses greater than £100 within the minutes pertaining to the meeting during which they were approved.