Every year the Council is required to put its accounts through the audit process. This consists of an auditor appointed by the Council checking the accounts and procedures of the Council, and ensuring that appropriate financial safety precautions are identified and followed. Once the auditor, and subsequently the Council, have approved the accounts they are sent to the external auditor. Currently the auditor for our area is BDO LLP. They are sent the completed audit forms in June and they then make their own assessment of the Council's financial controls. When they have completed this assessment they inform the Council of their decision, and of any problems the Council needs to correct.
The Council went through an internal audit visit around halfway through the financial year and then a final internal audit after 31st March. The internal audit was then presented to Full Council in May where it was approved. Also approved were the parts of the audit form relating to how the Council looks after its money (the Annual Governance Statement) and the figures for the year (the Accounting Statements). These documents were then sent to BDO LLP and we await the results of the audit which are expected in September. More information on this can be found on the dedicated Audit page, along with results from previous audits.
Every year the Parish Council agrees its budget for the coming year in January. The Council is responsible for running a number of services on the Parish, such as the cemeteries and allotments, as well as looking after the play areas and some of the open spaces, and putting on the Carnival each year.
Once the budget is agreed the Council then works out how to fund it. Some income is received from the cemeteries and allotments, and the rest comes from Bishopstoke's share of Council Tax. For 2023-24 Bishopstoke budgeted to spend around £360,000 (this is made up of Council Tax of around £333,000, with the remainder coming from the Cemetery and the allotments).
Work on the budget begins in September each year and the final budget is agreed at the January meeting so that Eastleigh Borough Council can be informed of the Council Tax request from Bishopstoke.
This year has been particularly affected by inflation and the Council has done its best to reduce costs wherever possible to minimise the impact of inflationary costs being passed on to residents.
The Parish Council is able to give grants to local charities and community groups. Additionally the Council now has the General Power of Competence which means that grants can be given to individuals. The applications are first considered by the Finance Committee which then makes recommendations to the Full Council.
Council procedures state that the maximum grant is £2,000 although it should be noted that the usual practice of the Council is to limit grants to a maximum of £1,000 unless it is for an exceptional project.
Additionally, Bishopstoke Carnival offers small grants to deserving local community projects. For more information go to the Carnival page or download the Carnival Grant form here.
REPORTS TO FINANCE
The Finance Committee has responsibility for overseeing the Council finances and ensuring that everything is done properly. This section has links to the latest financial reports presented to the Finance Committee, as well as the current year's purchase orders.
Budget Monitoring - download the latest report
Payments - download the latest report
Statements of Accounts - download the latest report
Purchase Orders for 2023_24 - download the latest report
For previous reports from this financial year please visit the Financial Reports page.
BISHOPSTOKE PARISH COUNCIL TAX 2023-24 - Increased by £1.31 per month (or 20%)
Bishopstoke Parish Council is funded through the Council Tax. Almost all of the money required to run the Council and fund everything it does comes from the Council Tax. The amount requested by Bishopstoke is added to the requests of the Borough Council, the County Council, the Police Commissioner and the Fire & Rescue Service, and together they make up the Council Tax.
The largest pot of money goes to Hampshire County Council, which this year is taking £1,460.25 from each Band D household in the county (Band A dwellings pay less, whilst Band H pays the most). The Police Commissioner then takes £251.46 of this year's Council Tax; the Borough Council take £132.76 from Band D houses in Bishopstoke; the Fire & Rescue Service take £80.43 and Bishopstoke Parish Council is taking £94.06 from each Band D dwelling this year.
In our newsletter in February this year (click here to open or download a copy) we explained some of the plans we have for Bishopstoke this year, and some of the increases in costs which the Council is having to pay for. These plans and increased costs mean that Bishopstoke needs to ask local residents to pay just over £1 extra per month - about the same as the cost of a loaf of bread.
The Council Tax leaflet each resident gets from the Borough can appear alarming at first, as you will have seen that the Bishopstoke Parish Council Tax has gone up by 20%, whereas the Police funding has only gone up by 6.34%, and Hampshire County Council by just 4.99%. In cash terms though, the Police funding is going up by £15 per dwelling for the year, Bishopstoke by £15.68 per dwelling and Hampshire County Council by nearly £70 per dwelling for the year.
Bishopstoke Parish Council is proud of the work it does in Bishopstoke, and is proud of its plans for the coming year. Money is being set aside to build a new Memorial Hall and completely revamp Glebe Meadow; our play areas are being upgraded where they need it and we are patiently waiting for the allotment sites at Sewall Drive and Bow Lake Gardens to be passed over to us so that we can finally offer them to Bishopstoke residents.