Annual Audit and Annual Reports
Bradwell Parish Council - Audit of Accounts

Notice of Conclusion of the audit and right to inspect the Annual Returns

Annual Return for the Year Ended 31st March 2016

Section 25 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014
Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2015

1) The audit of accounts for the Council for the year ended 31 March 2016 has been concluded.

2) The Annual Return is available for inspection by any local government elector of the area of the Council on application to Jeremy Caborn, Parish Clerk, Leo Coles Pavilion, Green Lane, Bradwell, Gt Yarmouth, NR31 8QG.

Copies will be provided to any local government elector on payment of £0.50 for each copy of the Annual Return.

Announcement made by Jeremy Caborn, Parish Clerk

Date of Announcement - 22nd September, 2016

Parish Council Report

1st April 2015 - 31st March 2016

The Parish Council conducts much of its business through a committee system. The work over the last twelve months (and the ‘ongoing’ work) of the council and its ‘main’ committees is outlined below:-

Planning & Development Committee (2015-16 membership - John Francis (Chairman), Brian Comer (Vice-Chairman), Mary Hardman, Ted Howlett, John Shaw, Steven Southey, Trevor Wainwright, Chris Wells and Peter Woolston) continues to make observations and, where appropriate, objections to local planning applications, and to question decisions made. It has been consulted on 53 GYBC planning applications between 1.4.15 and 26.1.16 - this figure compares with 62 for the same period last year, and 61 the year before.

The committee has continued to make representations regarding the applications from Persimmon Homes Ltd. and D M King Ltd. to build approximately 980 dwellings in South Bradwell - it has been particularly concerned about proposals for foul and waste water discharges from the new properties to be routed via Bradwell, and how the ‘Section 106’ monies (developers’ contributions) will be used. The concerns about foul and waste water discharges relate not only to the impact that these new dwellings, and still more dwellings planned for the longer-term future, will have on the system, but also the fact that there is an unresolved issue of ‘foul water flooding’, which has affected some properties in Bradwell during periods of heavy rainfall for nearly fifty years.

Representatives have attended the Borough Council’s Development Control Committee meetings at the Town Hall regarding the ‘section 106 monies’ issue, and also to object to proposals that two new dwellings to be built in Fell Way should have access arrangements provided via the Harpers Lane bridleway. The council has recently subscribed to membership of the Local Council Public Advisory Service, which is based in Clare in Suffolk. Members of the committee would like to extend sincere thanks to its representatives, Jayne Cole and Julia Prior, for attending one of its recent meetings, and offering excellent advice on both of the issues of concern regarding the 980 houses referred to above.

Amenities & Highways Committee (2015-16 membership - Chris Wells (Chairman), Brian Comer (Vice-Chairman), Mary Hardman, Ted Howlett, Maurice Joel, Maurice Johnson, Eddie Macdonald, John Shaw, Steven Southey and Trevor Wainwright) - the council receives an annual ‘concurrent functions grant’ from Gt Yarmouth Borough Council (£18,461 during 2015/16, reduced to £16,410 for the coming year, see ‘Finance & General Purposes’ section of this report for explanation), which it uses to maintain Green Lane Playing Field, Leo Coles Pavilion, Gipsies Green and eight bus shelters; a portion of this grant is also passed on to St Nicholas Parish Church PCC, for maintenance of the burial ground.

Two local football teams, El Sol and Gt Yarmouth Town Hall, play their home games at the Green Lane Playing Field. The visit by Circus Tyanna last August was very successful, and the Circus plans to return this August - watch out for publicity nearer the time. Two new trees, and two replacement trees for damaged ones, will be planted on Gipsies Green shortly - thanks to Borough Councillors Andy Grant and Carl Smith for funding this work via their ‘ward budgets’. Part of the path leading from the A143 Beccles Road to Gipsies Green was re-surfaced with asphalt in May 2015.

Further to new legislation being passed, the Borough Council has re-started its review of dog control measures, and this council has re-submitted requests for a ‘Dog Ban Order’ for the Green Lane Playing Field fenced play appliance area and ‘multi-use games area’, on the basis of safety and hygiene for users of those sites. It has also re-requested ‘Dog on Lead Requirement Orders’ for the entire Playing Field site, and also for the ‘Generation Wood’ area next to Mill Lane Recreation Ground, and the fairly new ‘woodland walk’ area between Woodfarm Lane and Sidegate Road. The Borough Council will consult with the general public regarding these proposals in due course.

A seat has been purchased, and will shortly be installed, for the new Bradwell war memorial site on Church Walk - thanks to Borough Councillor Hilary Wainwright funding this provision via her ‘ward budget’. An Act of Remembrance was carried out at the Memorial on Remembrance Sunday 2015. Essential repairs will shortly be carried out to the Bowling Green’s ‘Golden Jubilee Pavilion’ building, and Bradwell Bowling Club will help to fund and oversee this project. Another successful ‘additional rubbish collection day’ was held in April 2015, and another will be held on April 16, 2016. The committee continues to check that footpaths and bridleways are being maintained in good order, and recently reported some ‘flooded’ areas on Clay Lane, which appear to have been caused by works being carried out on the adjoining Persimmon building site, and a build-up of land on the site opposite.

The parish allotments continue to be popular and in demand, and many new tenants have taken on a plot this year - the committee extends its thanks to the six members of the allotments advisory committee (3 from each site), whose help in allocating plots to new tenants, and with the general running of the sites, has once again proved to be invaluable. The Cley Road site has again won ‘Gt Yarmouth in Bloom’ awards - see the ‘comments from the chairman’ report on page 2.

Finance & General Purposes Committee (2015-16 membership - Eddie Macdonald (Chairman), Peter Woolston (Vice-Chairman), John Francis, Mary Hardman, Ted Howlett and John Shaw) holds the purse strings, and keeps a close check on the Council’s finances. The Council’s draft accounts for the 2015/16 financial year will be presented at the Annual Parish Meeting.

The Parish Council has had to raise its ‘precept’ (parish rate) from £49,000 to £51,000 for 2016/17, (the first precept increase since it was in fact reduced from £54,000 to £49,000 in 2009/10), purely due to a decision by the Borough Council to remove £2,051 from its annual concurrent functions grant to the Parish Council, which was used to reimburse part of the Parish Clerk’s salary which equated to his time spent on administering concurrent functions. The Parish Council has made grants of £100 to Norfolk Citizens Advice Bureau and Age UK Norfolk.

The committee annually reviews the council’s insurance policy and risk assessment policy, and ensures that other ‘internal controls’ are carried out regularly, such as internal finance checks, and building and ‘health and safety’ checks. There are two sub-committees - ‘Public Relations and Publicity’, which oversees production of the ‘Bradwellian’ publication and provision of the website, and the ‘Crime Review Assessment Group’, which meets once or twice a year to consider measures to combat local crime - its recommendations to upgrade the council’s CCTV system are currently being implemented. The website has also received a ‘makeover’, for the first time since it was created in 2006, and is considered to be much easier to use, and ‘easier on the eye’ - thanks to John Hannant for his help with this. Another ‘thank you’ evening for ‘Bradwellian’ deliverers and Allotment Advisory Committee members was arranged in July 2015.

The Parish Council (2015-16 Chairman Ted Howlett, Vice-Chairman Chris Wells, other members were those shown as being members of the committees) meets to oversee the work of its committees; hear reports from and raise issues with County and Borough Councillors and the Local Police; receive reports from its representatives on outside bodies. The council no longer appoints School Governors to any of the local schools. An ‘internal’ training/refresher session for members took place in April 2015.

Four representatives of Anglian Water attended the council’s February 2016 meeting, to answer questions regarding the concerns about foul and waste water discharges referred to in the Planning & Development Committee report. They explained that a planned upgrading of the Morton Crescent pumping station should be completed by July next year, and that 700 of the 850 planned Persimmon houses will not have such discharges routed through this pumping station. They also responded to concerns raised by representatives of Belton with Browston, and Burgh Castle Parish Councils.

Andy Evans, Chief Executive of HealthEast, attended the council’s August 2015 meeting, as part of a public consultation regarding GP Practice premises in Gorleston and Bradwell, and a number of concerns were raised to him. A considerable reduction in staff numbers was reported to the October meeting, in respect of Bradwell and other local Police Safer Neighbourhood Teams. There has been a good attendance of many of the Bradwell County and Borough Councillors at Parish Council meetings this year. The council meets approximately ‘bi-monthly’. There is an opportunity shortly after the start of each meeting for ‘public participation’, and a similar opportunity exists within all the ‘main’ committee meetings. Two other council committees meet occasionally - ‘Staffing & Standards’, which oversees staff appointments, terms and conditions of service and reviews, and the ‘code of conduct’ for members, and ‘Allotments Advisory’, a committee of allotment holders.

Parish Council Accounting/Governance Statements 2015/16

Bradwell Parish Council has always been very open to its parishioners about the amount of money that it receives and spends. In fact, in common with all other parish and town councils throughout the country, it is obliged by law to take a number of actions regarding what is quaintly known as ‘the exercise of electors’ rights’ in such matters.

The council’s ‘financial year’ runs from 1st April to the 31st March each year. Its annual accounts, and accounting/governance statements, must all be approved by a local independent ‘internal auditor’, and then formally approved at a meeting of the council held within three months of the end of the financial year. (‘Governance statements’ are a series of assurances that the council has formally given, to confirm that, as far as it is aware, it has discharged all of its relevant duties, and complied with all relevant laws, in the way that it has carried out its business within the financial year in question.)

The statements are then submitted to an external auditor, which is the Audit Commission or an accounting company working on its behalf - and at that point a statutory requirement for the council to provide local electors and other ‘interested parties’ with the opportunity to inspect the Annual Return and supporting documentation comes into effect. You may have seen the notices within our noticeboards which tell you how to contact us to take this opportunity, and which also outline ‘a summary of your rights’. In actual fact, the Audit Commission was abolished on 31st March last year, and we wait to see what arrangements will be made when our current external audit contract with a company called Mazars LLP expires in 2017.

By law, any interested person may ask to see the council’s accounts, and any person entitled and registered to vote in local council elections has the right to ask the appointed external auditor questions about the council’s accounts, or to challenge an item of account contained within them. Such submissions must be made within a designated timetable, so that the auditor can take them into account before ‘signing off’ the council’s accounts as appropriate. Once the auditor has ‘signed off’ the accounts, copies of the accounting and governance statements, including any comments made by the auditor, must be displayed on the noticeboards for a period of time.

The council’s figures for balances, income and expenditure (in whole pounds) for year ending 31st March 2016, with those for year ending 31st March 2015 also shown in brackets for comparison purposes, which have been approved by the external auditor, are as follows:-
31.3.16 (31.3.15)
Balance brought forward 79,992 (74,068)
Annual precept 43,240 (41,449)
Total other receipts 31,843 (31,885)
Staff costs 35,465 (34,936)
Total other costs 43,663 (32,474)

Balances brought forward 75,977 (79,992)

For year ending 31.3.16, the council applied for, and received, the same ‘precept’ income as it received the previous year - £49,000. As last year, the reason that the two figures shown above for ‘annual precept’ are lower than £49,000 is due to a new accounting requirement. The October 2015 edition of ‘Bradwellian’ gave a detailed explanation about this, and the article has been replicated on POSTED LINK - go to ‘Bradwell precept’, under ‘quick links’ heading.

The above figures show that the council’s ‘total other costs’ are substantially higher than they were last year. This is because three ‘one-off’ projects were funded, largely from underspends accrued during the previous year - £6,584 for a partial path resurfacing on the ‘track land’ between Beccles Road and Gipsies Green, £3,397 for a CCTV upgrade, and £1,746 additional budget for Golden Jubilee Pavilion and Annexe maintenance, to enable urgent substantial repairs to be made to the main building. Bradwell Bowling Club made a significant contribution towards the latter project. Borough Council ‘ward budget’ monies to the value of £3,094 were received, which were spent on two benches for the war memorial area, and two trees for Gipsies Green.

The statement also shows figures for ‘total cash and short term investments’, ‘total fixed and long term assets’, and ‘total borrowings’. The ‘fixed and long term assets’ figure, shown as being £929,735 on 31.3.16, is a total of designated values of various council assets, based mostly on insurance valuations. The council has recently been advised that such asset valuations should no longer be ‘inflation increased’ each year. Some assets are given ‘nominal’ values, to indicate the council’s intention to hold them as community assets, rather than as ‘investments’.