AGAR – Box B

This authority complied with its financial regulations, payments were supported by invoices, all
expenditure was approved and VAT was appropriately accounted for.

Overview: This checklist is concerned with controls on procurement and the incurring of expenditure. There is a lot of testing here, but most of it should be done as part of the pre-audit. Notes below refer to the more complex / more common problem areas.

28. For smaller Councils this will normally be N/A. Its only an issue if the Council receives lots of invoices from suppliers, the obvious concern here is that Councils have a mechanism to record and monitor any outstanding balances to suppliers.

29.Same as with 28 above. Usually N/A for smaller Councils

30.We should check all the invoices selected on the payment sample PLUS any large invoices/payments in the cashbook (over £1,000 for Off Site Councils, over £5,000 for On Site Councils). Valid VAT invoices need to be provided whenever VAT is to be reclaimed. Basic HMRC requirements are that the supporting document is an Invoice, not a Quote or Delivery Note or Pro Forma Invoice, the invoice must include the suppliers VAT number. The link in the checklist gives more details.

33. The Public Contract Regulations state that ANY amount over £25,000 put out to tender must be placed on the Contracts Finder website. A Council can have a tender threshold over £25K and as long as they don’t invite public bids for Contracts over £25K they don’t have to use Contracts Finder. We recommend that they use the £25k limit so that the process is simpler.

34.A council should normally invite Tenders for contracts above the tender threshold. In some circumstances they may not, this is common for play equipment where they will chose to approach specific suppliers based on recommendations from other parishes. If they decided not to Tender that is OK as long as the decision AND reason for it is very clearly recorded in Council Minutes.

35.If a Council publicly invites bids for work over £25k by advertising on their website, or a newspaper, or by any other Public notice, then they MUST use Contracts Finder, irrespective of what their Financial Regulations say. Note that the contract value is based on total value of the Contract, so a 3 year contract at £10k per year is a £30K contract under the Public Contract Regulations. If they instead contact pre-approved suppliers directly they don’t have to use Contracts Finders, but see 34 above.

NOTE: The Contract Finder website can be searched using the name of the Council, but check the ‘Awarded Contract’ box under ‘Procurement Stage’ when submitting the query and then the ‘Closed’ box under ‘Notice Status’ NOTE: if you use the “+” key between the keywords i.e. Iver+Parish+Council this will only give you the results for that Council – otherwise you will get LOADS of results.

38. The S137 limit is the ‘Permitted Sum’ time the number of electors. I have never seen a Council exceed the S137 limit, but if you have a Council with thousands of £ of grants you should ask them to confirm that they are within their S137 limit.