Certificate of Exemption – AGAR 2020/21 Part 2

To be completed by smaller authorities where the higher of gross income or gross expenditure did not exceed £25,000 in the year of account ended 31 March 2021, and that wish to certify themselves as exempt from a limited assurance review under Section 9 of the Local Audit (Smaller Authorities) Regulations 2015

 

There is no requirement to have a limited assurance review or to submit an Annual Governance and Accountability Return to the external auditor, provided that the authority has certified itself as exempt at a meeting of the authority after 31 March 2021 and a completed Certificate of Exemption is submitted no later than 30 June 2021 notifying the external auditor.

Chittlehampton Parish Council

certifies that during the financial year 2020/21, the higher of the authority’s total gross income for the year or total gross annual expenditure, for the year did not exceed £25,000

 

Total annual gross income for the authority 2020/21:                    £13,295.45

Total annual gross expenditure for the authority 2020/21:         £11,457.94

 

There are certain circumstances in which an authority will be unable to certify itself as exempt, so that a limited assurance review will still be required. If an authority is unable to confirm the statements below then it cannot certify itself as exempt and it must submit the completed Annual Governance and Accountability Return Part 3 to the external auditor to undertake a limited assurance review for which a fee of £200 +VAT will be payable.

 

By signing this Certificate of Exemption you are confirming that:

• The authority was in existence on 1st April 2017

• In relation to the preceding financial year (2019/20), the external auditor has not:

   • issued a public interest report in respect of the authority or any entity connected with it

   • made a statutory recommendation to the authority, relating to the authority or any entity connected with it

   • issued an advisory notice under paragraph 1(1) of Schedule 8 to the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (“the Act”), and has not withdrawn the notice

   • commenced judicial review proceedings under section 31(1) of the Act

   • made an application under section 28(1) of the Act for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, and the application has not been withdrawn nor has the court refused to make
       the declaration

• The court has not declared an item of account unlawful after a person made an appeal under section 28(3) of the Act.

 

If you are able to confirm that the above statements apply and that the authority neither received gross income, nor incurred gross expenditure, exceeding £25,000, then the Certificate of Exemption can be signed and a copy submitted to the external auditor either by email or by post (not both).

 

The Annual Internal Audit Report, Annual Governance Statement, Accounting Statements, an analysis of variances and the bank reconciliation plus the information required by Regulation 15 (2), Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 including the period for the exercise of public rights still need to be fully completed and, along with a copy of this certificate, published on the authority website/webpage* before 1 July 2021.

By signing this certificate you are also confirming that you are aware of this requirement.


 I confirm that this Certificate of Exemption was approved by this authority on this date:  05/05/2021 as recorded in minute reference: No.9

Signed by the Responsible Finance Officer           Date                       

Alvin Scott                                                                               28/05/2021       

Signed by Chairman                                                           Date                         

M J Ives                                                                                      28/05/2021                     

Generic email address of Authority                                                   

External link opens in new tab or windowchittlehamptonclerk@gmail.com                                                       

*Published web address

www.chittlehamptonparishcouncil.co.uk

Telephone number: 07810 832863

ONLY this Certificate of Exemption should be returned EITHER by email OR by post (not both) as soon as possible after certification to your external auditor, but no later than 30 June 2021. Reminder letters incur a charge of £40 +VAT


Link to scan of Certificate of Exemption

Certificate of Exemption 2020-2021.pdf

Link to Annual Internal Audit Report 2020-2021

Annual Internal Audit Report 2020-2021.pdf

Link to Annual Governance Statement 2020-2021

Annual Governance Statement 2020-2021.pdf

Link to Accounting Statements 2020-2021

Accounting Statements 2020-2021.pdf

Link to Bank Reconciliation Form 2020-2021

Bank Reconciliation 2020-2021.pdf

Link to Explanation of Variances 2020-2021

Explanation of Variances 2020-21.pdf

Reconciliation between box 7 and box 8 of AGAR 2020-2021

Reconciliation between box 7 and box 8 on AGAR 2020-2021.pdf

CHITTLEHAMPTON PARISH COUNCIL

 

NOTICE OF PUBLIC RIGHTS AND PUBLICATION OF ANNUAL GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY RETURN (EXEMPT AUTHORITY)

ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2021

 

Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 Sections 25, 26 and 27

The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/234)

The Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/404)

NOTICE

NOTES

 

 

1. Date of announcement (a)    18th June 2021                                                   

2. Each year the smaller authority prepares an Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR).  The AGAR has been published with this notice. It will not be reviewed by the appointed auditor, since the smaller authority has certified itself as exempt from the appointed auditor’s review.

Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the AGAR, the accounting records for the financial year to which it relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2021, these documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to:

 

(b)   Alvin Scott (Parish Clerk)

       Email: chittlehamptonclerk@gmail.com

       c/o Corner Cottage, The Square, Chittlehampton, Devon EX37 9QW

 

commencing on (c) Tuesday 30th June 2021

 

 

and ending on (d) Wednesday 10th August 2021  

 

3. Local government electors and their representatives also have:

 

·       The opportunity to question the appointed auditor about the accounting records; and

·       The right to make an objection which concerns a matter in respect of which the appointed auditor could either make a public interest report or apply to the court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful. Written notice of an objection must first be given to the auditor and a copy sent to the smaller authority.

 

The appointed auditor can be contacted at the address in paragraph 4 below for this purpose between the above dates only.

 

4. The smaller authority’s AGAR is only subject to review by the appointed auditor if questions or objections raised under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 lead to the involvement of the auditor.  The appointed auditor is:

 

PKF Littlejohn LLP (Ref: SBA Team)

1 Westferry Circus

Canary Wharf

London E14 4HD

(External link opens in new tab or windowsba@pkf-littlejohn.com)

 

5. This announcement is made by (e)

Alvin Scott (Responsible Financial Officer)

 

 

(a) Insert date of placing of the notice which must be not less than 1 day before the date in (c) below

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

(b) Insert name, position and address/telephone number/ email address, as appropriate, of the Clerk or other person to which any person may apply to inspect the accounts

 

(c) Insert date, which must be at least 1 day after the date of announcement in (a) above and at least 30 working days before the date appointed in (d) below

 

(d) The inspection period between (c) and (d) must be 30 working days inclusive and must include the first 10 working days of July.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 (e) Insert name and position of person placing the notice – this person must be the responsible financial officer for the smaller authority

 

LOCAL AUTHORITY ACCOUNTS: A SUMMARY OF YOUR RIGHTS

 

Please note that this summary applies to all relevant smaller authorities, including local councils, internal drainage boards and ‘other’ smaller authorities.

 

The basic position

 

The External link opens in new tab or windowLocal Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (the Act) governs the work of auditors appointed to smaller authorities. This summary explains the provisions contained in Sections 26 and 27 of the Act. The Act, the External link opens in new tab or windowAccounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and the External link opens in new tab or windowAccounts and Audit (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 also cover the duties, responsibilities and rights of smaller authorities, other organisations and the public concerning the accounts being audited.  

As a local elector, or an interested person, you have certain legal rights in respect of the accounting records of smaller authorities. As an interested person you can inspect accounting records and related documents. If you are a local government elector for the area to which the accounts relate you can also ask questions about the accounts and object to them. You do not have to pay directly for exercising your rights. However, any resulting costs incurred by the smaller authority form part of its running costs. Therefore, indirectly, local residents pay for the cost of you exercising your rights through their council tax.

The right to inspect the accounting records

 

Any interested person can inspect the accounting records, which includes but is not limited to local electors. You can inspect the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records. You can copy all, or part, of these records or documents. Your inspection must be about the accounts, or relate to an item in the accounts. You cannot, for example, inspect or copy documents unrelated to the accounts, or that include personal information (Section 26 (6) – (10) of the Act explains what is meant by personal information). You cannot inspect information which is protected by commercial confidentiality. This is information which would prejudice commercial confidentiality if it was released to the public and there is not, set against this, a very strong reason in the public interest why it should nevertheless be disclosed.

 

When smaller authorities have finished preparing accounts for the financial year and approved them, they must publish them (including on a website). There must be a 30 working day period, called the ‘period for the exercise of public rights’, during which you can exercise your statutory right to inspect the accounting records. Smaller authorities must tell the public, including advertising this on their website, that the accounting records and related documents are available to inspect. By arrangement you will then have 30 working days to inspect and make copies of the accounting records. You may have to pay a copying charge. The advertisement must set out the dates of the period for the exercise of public rights, how you can communicate to the smaller authority that you wish to inspect the accounting records and related documents, the name and address of the auditor, and the relevant legislation that governs the inspection of accounts and objections.

 

The right to ask the auditor questions about the accounting records

 

You should first ask your smaller authority about the accounting records, since they hold all the details. If you are a local elector, your right to ask questions of the external auditor is enshrined in law. However, while the auditor will answer your questions where possible, they are not always obliged to do so. For example, the question might be better answered by another organisation, require investigation beyond the auditor’s remit, or involve disproportionate cost (which is borne by the local taxpayer). Give your smaller authority the opportunity first to explain anything in the accounting records that you are unsure about. If you are not satisfied with their explanation, you can question the external auditor about the accounting records.

The law limits the time available for you formally to ask questions. This must be done in the period for the exercise of public rights, so let the external auditor know your concern as soon as possible. The advertisement or notice that tells you the accounting records are available to inspect will also give the period for the exercise of public rights during which you may ask the auditor questions, which here means formally asking questions under the Act. You can ask someone to represent you when asking the external auditor questions.

Before you ask the external auditor any questions, inspect the accounting records fully, so you know what they contain. Please remember that you cannot formally ask questions, under the Act, after the end of the period for the exercise of public rights. You may ask your smaller authority other questions about their accounts for any year, at any time. But these are not questions under the Act.

You can ask the external auditor questions about an item in the accounting records for the financial year being audited. However, your right to ask the external auditor questions is limited. The external auditor can only answer ‘what’ questions, not ‘why’ questions. The external auditor cannot answer questions about policies, finances, procedures or anything else unless it is directly relevant to an item in the accounting records. Remember that your questions must always be about facts, not opinions. To avoid misunderstanding, we recommend that you always put your questions in writing.

The right to make objections at audit

 

You have inspected the accounting records and asked your questions of the smaller authority. Now you may wish to object to the accounts on the basis that an item in them is in your view unlawful or there are matters of wider concern arising from the smaller authority’s finances. A local government elector can ask the external auditor to apply to the High Court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, or to issue a report on matters which are in the public interest. You must tell the external auditor which specific item in the accounts you object to and why you think the item is unlawful, or why you think that a public interest report should be made about it. You must provide the external auditor with the evidence you have to support your objection. Disagreeing with income or spending does not make it unlawful. To object to the accounts you must write to the external auditor stating you want to make an objection, including the information and evidence below and you must send a copy to the smaller authority. The notice must include:

 

·       confirmation that you are an elector in the smaller authority’s area;

·       why you are objecting to the accounts and the facts on which you rely;

·       details of any item in the accounts that you think is unlawful; and

·       details of any matter about which you think the external auditor should make a public interest report.

 

Other than it must be in writing, there is no set format for objecting. You can only ask the external auditor to act within the powers available under the External link opens in new tab or windowLocal Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

 

A final word

 

You may not use this ‘right to object’ to make a personal complaint or claim against your smaller authority.  You should take such complaints to your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, local Law Centre or to your solicitor. Smaller authorities, and so local taxpayers, meet the costs of dealing with questions and objections.  In deciding whether to take your objection forward, one of a series of factors the auditor must take into account is the cost that will be involved, they will only continue with the objection if it is in the public interest to do so. They may also decide not to consider an objection if they think that it is frivolous or vexatious, or if it repeats an objection already considered. If you appeal to the courts against an auditor’s decision not to apply to the courts for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, you will have to pay for the action yourself.

 

For more detailed guidance on public rights and the special powers of auditors, copies of the publication External link opens in new tab or windowLocal authority accounts: A guide to your rights are available from the NAO website.

If you wish to contact your authority’s appointed external auditor please write to the address in paragraph 4 of the Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return.