SPC logoClerk's Briefing
6-13 2013-14 Accounts, Second Quarter Briefing

1. This report has been produced to make members of the Finance Committee aware of the use of funds against the 2013-14 budget up to the end of the second quarter of the financial year at 30/09/13. See Monthly Totals to end September 2013 and Second Quarter Income and Expenditure.

2. The 2013-14 budget income at £10,790 (excluding precept and Council Tax grant) has been exceeded at £16,803.83. This is almost entirely due to the increased grant income. The budget figure was for expected grant income from Rother DC of £8,500 (in addition to the £5,000 2012-13 grant from the same source) and an anonymous donation towards the cost of the MUGA of £1,000. However, the Council has obtained not only these grants but also a £7,000 grant from Locality for employment of a planning consultant in connection with the Neighbourhood Plan.

NHP grant monitoring reports have to be made on 1) 15/11/13 (from start of project to 31/10/13); 2) 14/02/14 (November 2013 to January 2014); 3) 15/04/14 (February to March 2014).

An end of grant form and further information needs to be forwarded to Rother DC in connection with the total of £13,500 granted from the Rother Community Fund.

Also of note are lesser amounts ie a slightly increased income for cutting the car park grass on behalf of Rother (Agency income) and the probability of a reduction in interest income because of the closure of the Co-operative Bank Corporate Guaranteed Investment Account.

3. Worthy of note on the expenditure side of the accounts are:

  1. Probability of an overspend against "printing" now that the Bulletin is being printed at Fastprint & Design. However, this will mean there is a almost corresponding reduction in "copier" charges because less toner will be required. The usual printing of the Annual Report and Directory takes place in the final quarter of the year.
  2. There will be a saving on audit costs.
  3. The computer and software budget of £250 is in hand in case of breakdowns or updates.
  4. The insurance figures shows a small saving.
  5. The miscellaneous figure is showing an overspend because of the purchase of several copies of The Highway Code for members, and books Local Council Administration and the Clerk's Manual for the Clerk.
  6. Clerks' salaries have been granted a 1% increase backdated to 01/04/13, the first increase since 2009. Because the Clerk is at the top of the salary scale, she has not received any change in salary since 2009.
  7. The grounds maintenance costs to be paid to Kent County Supplies are expected to be roughly in line with the budget. The final payment is due in November 2013. A quote for next year has been requested.
  8. See here for details of the Neighbourhood Plan expenses (actual and estimated). As reported under 2 above, an additional £7,000 grant has been obtained for Neighbourhood Plan purposes and, therefore, despite the 2013-14 budget showing total expenditure of £7,500 under Neighbourhood Plan, expenditure for this financial year is expected to be in the region of £14,500. The final expenditure figure will depend on whether printing costs from now on can be kept within about £2,500. Otherwise, provision will need to be made in the 2014-15 budget for additional costs. The £7,000 grant for employment of the Planning Consultant needs to be spent before the end of the financial year.
  9. The Red Barn Field budget is likely to show an underspend because David Blowey has agreed to cut the field free of charge and money had been set aside for this work.
  10. Dog bin emptying will show an underspend because of a lower cost than expected.
  11. Some budgets include provision for tree inspection/work which will probably be required.
  12. The Parish Council's grant aid of the Playing Field Trust may be able to be repaid if it becomes possible for the Trust to raise funds through the hiring out of the MUGA. Both a tennis coach and the Football Club have shown an interest.
  13. The cost of the MUGA has ended up within budget for this financial year even taking account of additional partial payment for new tennis posts and purchase of a closure spring for the gate. See here for details.
  14. Although the budget shows the use of £4,000 on work to one or both accesses that the Council is responsible for contributing towards, this money may still remain in hand at the year end.
  15. The Finance Committee will consider additional expenditure at its meeting on 15/10/13.

4. Funds in hand

  1. There was £11,775 remaining in the Neighbourhood Plan Fund at the end of September 2013.
  2. The MUGA Fund was empty.
  3. The Access Fund held £4,000.
  4. The Clerk's Gratuity Fund held £31,340. The Fund will cover not only the Clerk's Gratuity which is set at two years' salary in accordance with her contract dated 1979 backdated to 1975 but there is also an allowance for National Insurance payments that may be required from the Council at the time of the payment of Gratuity.

5. Funds expected to be in hand at the financial year end at 31/03/14

  1. At the end of 2012-13, there was £15,661 in general funds.
  2. Notification was received from John Steed, builder, on 07/10/13 that the cost of the Parish Council's contribution towards the top coat of Ladybird Lane will be £808. Council to consider how much should be retained in the Access Fund.
  3. If income and expenditure are in accordance with the budget figures, an increased amount of £18,282 is expected to be in general funds at the end of 2013-14. This can be accounted for mainly by the unexpected receipt of a Council Tax Grant of £2,172. This grant may not be received in the next financial year. The usual percentage recommendation for general funds is one half to one third of precept. With a £41,000 precept this year, the recommendation is £13,667 to £20,500 and, therefore, the budget's figure appears about right.

    It should be noted that, following the final payment on Ladybird Lane, the general fund may be increased.

6. It should be noted that Sedlescombe would not normally keep so much money in its current account (£56,472 at the end of September) but, with the closure of the Co-op Account on 06/09/13, following concerns about whether this was a safe place to keep the funds, no suitable place has yet been identified for the funds (mostly the Clerk's Gratuity). Unfortunately, Parish Council's finances are not safeguarded under the Financial Compensation Scheme as an individual's is.

Apart from the Barclays Current Account, the only savings account currently held is with the West Bromwich Building Society.

P J Raymond
Sedlescombe Parish Council