Accounts, Audit, Budget & Compliance to Transparency Code
Melksham Without Parish Council agreed their Budget for 2023/24 at the Full Council meeting held on Monday 23rd January 2023. The Council unanimously agreed to set its Precept – the proportion of Council Tax paid to the Parish Council - at £245,271.03 for the 2023/24 financial year, which is an increase of £9,581.98 (4.1%) on last year’s Precept. However, due to the additional number of houses that have been built and occupied in the parish, there are more residents contributing to the Precept. This means that the average Band D household will contribute £84.71 to Melksham Without Parish Council, a zero rise on last year. (Band D properties are used as a measure of the national average).
The parish council have strived to maintain services without increasing the burden on residents, against the backdrop of the current cost of living crisis.
The parish council run a number of facilities and services in the parish from this Precept funding and support a number of community ventures in both the parish as well as those in the Town and villages outside the Parish. It currently runs and maintains five play areas (Berryfield, Shaw, Beanacre and Kestrel Court & Hornchurch Road in Bowerhill) with two more being taken on from the developers in the new housing developments in the Bellway development on Semington Road and the Taylor Wimpey development in Pathfinder Place, Bowerhill. In addition, it also owns two playing fields, one in Bowerhill and one in Shaw (The Beeches). The parish council has taken on some additional grasscutting, on public open space owned by Wiltshire Council, to improve the cutting in some areas and for wildflower meadow areas in patches on the public open spaces. The parish council has two allotment sites, both in Berryfield, which have a full occupancy of 70+ tenants at present.
The parish council contributes to a variety of joint ventures with Melksham Town Council such as the Melksham Neighbourhood Plan, development of Shurnhold Fields mini country park and the public toilets in the Market Place. As well as joint ventures, the parish council provides grant funding (£29,150 in the current financial year with a higher amount budgeted for next year). These grants provide valuable funding for all the village halls in the parish; Shaw, Bowerhill, Whitley Reading Rooms and the new hall in Berryfield as well as wide spread of clubs, support groups, and organisations that provide sporting activities, village publications, events, and activities for young and old. The grants are for those organisations that benefit the residents of Melksham Without, so are not all contained in the parish, some are based in the Town or in other villages outside the parish. In addition, the parish council has pledged up to £11,500 to jointly commission a service with Melksham Town Council to provide additional proactive support to the most vulnerable residents in the parish. Age UK Wiltshire provide a range of support, advice, guidance and practical help to residents and the new funded service is to provide additional, tailored, dedicated support in the parish and town.
The Parish Council has received additional funding from the Government’s CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) scheme which is a levy directly on new housing developments in the parish. When budget setting the Council have not put money into Reserves for future projects that could be paid for from CIL and will look to use the CIL funding for a variety of infrastructure projects including the repayment of the Public Works Loan for the building and kitting out of the new village hall in Berryfield in association with the approved planning application of 150 houses in Land to the east of Semington Road. All the CIL received to date from the 450 houses East of Spa Road (The Acorns/Hunters Wood) has been transferred to the Town Council in this financial year; this is £315,000 which the parish council have earmarked for several years for the construction of a new community centre, east of Melksham, the transfer has a legal tie to ensure that is what the funds are still contributing to. This is following the Community Governance Review which saw the transfer of this housing development from the parish to within the town boundary.
The community funding received from Sandridge Solar Farm has been used this year, and for next, to fund cleaning of the play areas’ safety surfacing, tree works, pavement weed spraying, new street furniture, roundabout planting maintenance and the fortnightly installation of the Speed Indicator Device across the parish.
Other budgeted items are for highway improvement and speed enforcement projects working with Wiltshire Council’s LHFIG (Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group), play area repairs and a trial of Real Time Information in bus shelters.
A copy of the Minutes of the Parish Council’s Finance Committee meeting (9th January) when the Budget was discussed in detail is available to view on the Parish Council website. FINANCE MINUTES 9th January 2023.pdf and the Precept was agreed at the Full Council meeting on 23rd January 2023. Minutes here
Spend over £500
Under the Local Government Transparency Code 2015 part 2.1 (28 & 29) local authorities on a quarterly basis must publish details of each individual item of
expenditure that exceeds £500 (The threshold should be, where possible, the net amount excluding recoverable Value Added Tax).
This includes items of expenditure, consistent with Local Government Association guidance, such as:
• individual invoices
• grant payments
• expense payments
• payments for goods and services
• grant in aid
• credit notes over £500, and
• transactions with other public bodies.
Salary payments to staff normally employed by the local authority should not be included. However, local authorities should publish details of payments to individual contractors (e.g., individuals from consultancy firms, employment agencies, direct personal contracts, personal service companies etc) either here or
under contract information.
For each individual item of expenditure, the following information must be published:
• date the expenditure was incurred
• local authority department which incurred the expenditure
• summary of the purpose of the expenditure
• Value Added Tax that cannot be recovered, and
• merchant category (e.g., computers, software etc)
To see the spend over £500 for the 2023/24 financial year, please follow the links below for each quarter: