Transparency Code For Smaller Authorities

What Is The Transparency Code For Smaller Authorities?

In April 2015 it became mandatory for all small authorities to comply with the transparency code. This code has been issued in order to meet the government’s desire to increase democratic accountability and it requires the online publication of key spending and governance information on the occasions specified in the Code.

Transparency fund for smaller authorities

What The Code States

The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 sets out a new audit framework for local public authorities which are currently covered by the Audit Commission system. Under the new framework, smaller authorities with an annual turnover not exceeding £25,000 will be exempt from a routine external audit. Instead of an audit, these smaller authorities will be subject to the new transparency requirements laid out in the Code. This will enable local electors and ratepayers to access relevant information about the authorities’ accounts and governance.

Who Needs To Comply?

The code applies to the following types of authorities with an annual turnover less than £25,000:

  • Parish Councils
  • Charter Trustees
  • Internal Drainage Boards
  • Port Health Authorities

See the link below to read the code in full.

Transparency Code For Smaller Authorities 

 

Local Government Transparency Code

This applies to a local authority, including Parish Councils that have an annual turnover in excess of £200,000. As you’d expect, the information that the code requires each authority to publish is more comprehensive than a smaller authority and includes quarterly reports on all transactions over £500 in addition to annual reports detailing assets, contracts, procurements, senior salaries and more.

As the code is updated from time to time we’ve provided a link to the current code in full below. Our websites provide the necessary framework to allow local authorities to discharge their transparency obligations in full.

Local Government Transparency Code 2015

Transparency Code For Councils with a turnover between £25,000 and £200,000

Surprisingly, There are currently no requirements explicitly relating to transparency for local councils with a turnover between £25,000 and £200,000.
That said,  the Local Government Transparency in England Briefing Paper issued May 2016 states –
“Parish councils with a ‘turnover’ of between £25,000 and £200,000 will be expected to follow the Local Government Transparency Code 2015” for authorities with a turnover over £200k.”

How Do Smaller Authorities Comply?

The code requires certain information to be published on a publicly accessible (free of charge) website. This information is as follows:

  • all items of expenditure above £100
  • end of year accounts (annually)
  • annual governance statement (annually)
  • internal audit report (annually)
  • list of councillor or member responsibilities (annually)
  • the details of public land and building assets (annually)
  • Minutes, agendas and meeting papers of formal meetings (minutes within a month of the meeting and agendas no later than 3 days prior to the meeting date)

The Transparency Fund

The government confirmed a £4.7 million Transparency Fund to support small parish councils and other smaller authorities to become compliant with the Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities. This funding was delivered through the National Association of Local Councils and was available fro, April 2015 for a 3-year period.

The funding programme aimed to provide support, training and guidance to assist those authorities that require support to move to online publishing of this information. This was to ensure that the authorities are accountable to their communities and have established an online presence with which they can remain transparent by publishing key information on a timely basis.

An Easy Solution

Here at NetWise, we’ve designed a complete compliance solution for smaller authorities that is both affordable and easy to use. Click here to read more about how we can help you to comply with minimum fuss.

parish council websites
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