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PARISH COUNCIL AND THE COMMUNITY

In June 2016 The Admin of this Blog posted , on my behalf, an email that I had sent to the Parish Council.  You can read the details Here.

I have now received the following email in response:


“From: Gill Hodgson
Date: 24 September 2016 at 11:21:50 BST
To: Graham Williams
RE: Whittington Parish Council

Dear Mr. Williams,

Thank you for your correspondence dated June 2016 and may I offer apologies for the delay in responding promptly, however the Parish Council were unable to discuss your suggestions of the 13th June until the latest meeting, which was held last Monday evening.

It was agreed that, as you suggest, a simple timetable be produced to make residents aware when meetings were to be held, agendas finalised and deadlines agreed. This would not be submitted to the village website as the editor refuses to publish information relating to the Parish Council, however it will be displayed on the Village Hall/Parish Council noticeboard attached to the Village Hall and also on the noticeboard at Newton and sent to the Lancaster City Council Parish Councils webpage https://committeeadmin.lancaster.gov.uk/mgParishCouncilDetails.aspx?LS=15&SLS=3&bcr=1

The 14 day deadline for items to be submitted was not felt practicable as experience shows important items often materialise on a daily basis and indeed may be discussed at very short notice.

Special meetings are already convened, by the Chairperson, when necessary.

Parish Councillors are in agreement that the Parish Councilhas a responsibility of keeping residents informed. Draft minutes are already circulated no later than 14 days after a meeting, to the Parish Councillors, and published, along with the next meeting’s agenda, on the Vilaage Hall/Parish Council noticeboard, the noticeboard at Newton and sent to the Lancaster City Council’s website as previously mentioned.

We reiterate that the Parish Council adhere to guidelines set out in the “Local Council Administration” book by Charles Arnold-Baker, recommended by LALC – the Lancashire Association of Local Councils.

Comments are always welcome from residents like yourself and would repeat that all parishioners are welcome to attend Parish Council meetings and in particular the Annual Parish Meeting where everyone is encouraged to offer any suggestions.

Parish Councillors hope that this goes some way in addressing your concerns.

Gillian. Hodgson
Clerk to the Parish Council
On behalf of the Parish Council

As far as I am concerned the matter is now closed
Graham Williams

Village Hall Administration

I am concerned by John’s recent post about the finances of the Village Hall (Follow this Link)and am disappointed, but not altogether surprised, that the Parish Council has failed to publish a holding statement confirming that they too are concerned and detailing the action they propose to take.

There is clearly a disagreement between John and at least one Trustee over the accuracy of the accounts. The Parish Council must take action quickly to ensure a full independent audit of the Hall’s Accounts is carried out and until this has been completed and published it would clearly be wrong for any further contributions to be made from Parish Council funds to the Village Hall, even if these payments have already been authorised, they should surely be put on hold.

I feel that the position is complicated with Parish Councillors also acting as Hall Trustees and perhaps the PC should also consider the extent to which joint membership is consistent with independent oversight.

Graham Williams

VILLAGE HALL ADMINISTRATION

One of the current members of the Village Hall committee visited me today, to point out that the observations I have made about the village hall making in excess of £20,000 profit over the last six years are wrong.

It seems that whoever has filled in the Annual Return to the Charity Commission, which I reported earlier, has filed inaccurate information. I am told that, instead of returning “Income” each year they have returned the figure for “Reserves”, which is the net of Income less Expenditure plus existing balance sheet items such as 1) Cash in hand, 2). Sums held in Bank Accounts and 3) Value of Bar stock.

Let’s be clear. When a Charity makes it’s Annual Return “Income is the money (funds) it has received and “Expenditure” the money they have paid out, over the reporting year. It has nothing to do with how much they have in the Bank.

Whittington Village Hall do not need to file annual accounts because their turnover is less than £25,000. But they do need to fill in the Annual Return accurately. There are very few things that they need to do. If they where required to file proper accounts this error would have come to light years ago.

1). They are required, by law, to keep the register of Trustees up to date. That means that whenever there is a change in membership of the committee it must be reported to the Charity Commission. Whittington don’t do this.  As of today  it is still wrong.

2). You must provide email addresses where a Trustee has one.

3). You must list any other charities of which the Trustee is also a Trustee. (Eric and Helen have made such a declaration).

Before you send your Annual Return the person concerned is obliged to check that the information concerning the Charity is up to date. That is done either by reading the letter you get from the Commission in the weeks before the return is due, or by checking on the Commission’s website, the address of which, for Whittington, is here
At todays date the list of Trustees is not up to date and, as I have established above the information for Income has been wrongly reported, probably throughout the whole of this century.

The Village Blog