Please would you state what the requirements upon County Councillors are in respect of ensuring that grant monies (to parish councils) given by them are properly spent and accounted for.
All locality grants are given with the expectation that a ‘feedback form’ is completed to document the benefits achieved and confirmation that the whole payment has been used for the agreed purpose. A declaration with relevant Terms and Conditions is also required to be signed by a representative of the organisation that any funding will not benefit any individual or private business and will only be used for the purposes specified, that monies must be spent before 31 March of the relevant financial year and any unspent/uncommitted monies will be returned to the Council promptly.
In addition, an annual report is presented to the Councils Scrutiny Committee showing the spend per Councillor on locality budgets.
Please state how and where these requirements are promulgated and what, if any, confirmatory records have to be submitted as proof of proper disposal of such grants.
Guidance on locality budgets is available on the website and also in the Council’s Constitution, via the links provided above. The reporting back forms are registered onto spreadsheets and retained. Officers also remind recipients who have not responded to complete the reporting back forms. The terms and conditions referred to above also say that recipients will provide the Council with a statement of how the funding has benefited the organisation/local community. The Locality Budget system is predominately overseen by the County Councillors as the recipients are from their local area.
Please also state whether or not councillors are required to respond expeditiously and comprehensively to any related enquiries made by or on behalf of parishioners? Would repeatedly completely ignoring such enquiries constitute a breach of the code of conduct?
A councillor’s primary role is to represent their ward or division and the people who live in it and provide a bridge between the community and the council. Part of that role will be responding to enquiries and / or signposting. How individual Councillors manage that casework is a matter for them. Councillor contact details are available online.
Every alleged breach of the code of conduct would be investigated on its own merits, with the full facts and in consultation with the Independent Person, as required and in line with the Councils councillors complaints process.