West Buckland Parish Council has a vacancy for a councillor

If you are interested in being co-opted onto the council please apply to Jill Larcombe, Clerk to the Parish Council, saying why you are interested in becoming a councillor. Please also provide some information about your background and the skills you feel you could bring to the role of a councillor by either emailing westbucklandclerk@gmail.com or writing to 6 The Old School, Chapel Street, Tiverton, EX16 6ND

The closing date for applications is Monday 19th October.

You can obtain further information on becoming a councillor from the Clerk 01884 252647 or the Chairman, Cllr Margaret Blogg 01823 663378.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday 29th September at 7.30pm and you might like to attend as a member of the public. Please contact the Clerk for the link to the meeting.

 

 

Notice of Public Rights & Publication of Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return

West Buckland Parish Council

 NOTICE OF PUBLIC RIGHTS AND PUBLICATION OF UNAUDITED ANNUAL GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY RETURN

ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2020

Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 Sections 25, 26 and 27

The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/234)

The Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/404)

NOTICE NOTES
1. Date of announcement 23rd August 2020 (a)

2. Each year the smaller authority’s Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) needs to be reviewed by an external auditor appointed by Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd.  The unaudited AGAR has been published with this notice. As it has yet to be reviewed by the appointed auditor, it is subject to change as a result of that review.

Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2020, these documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to:

Mrs Jill Larcombe, Clerk/RFO to West Buckland Parish Council

6 The Old School, Chapel Street, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 6ND

Email westbucklandclerk@gmail.com

Tel 01884 252647

commencing on (c) Monday 24th August  2020 and ending on Tuesday 6th October 2020

3. Local government electors and their representatives also have the opportunity to question the appointed auditor about the accounting records; and the right to make an objection which concerns a matter in respect of which the appointed auditor could either make a public interest report or apply to the court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful. Written notice of an objection must first be given to the auditor and a copy sent to the smaller authority.

The appointed auditor can be contacted at the address in paragraph 4 below for this purpose between the above dates only.

4. The smaller authority’s AGAR is subject to review by the appointed auditor under the provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and the NAO’s Code of Audit Practice 2015.  The appointed auditor is:

PKF Littlejohn LLP (Ref: SBA Team), 15 Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf, London         E14 4HD (sba@pkf-littlejohn.com)

5. This announcement is made by (e) Jill Larcombe, Clerk/RFO

 

 

 

(a) Insert date of placing of the notice which must be not less than 1 day before the date in (c) below

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b) Insert name, position and address/telephone number/ email address, as appropriate, of the Clerk or other person to which any person may apply to inspect the accounts

(c) Insert date, which must be at least 1 day after the date of announcement in (a) above and at least 30 working days before the date appointed in (d) below

 

(d) The inspection period between (c) and (d) must be 30 working days inclusive and must start on or before 1 September 2020.

(e) Insert name and position of person placing the notice – this person must be the responsible financial officer for the smaller authority

LOCAL AUTHORITY ACCOUNTS: A SUMMARY OF YOUR RIGHTS

 Please note that this summary applies to all relevant smaller authorities, including local councils, internal drainage boards and ‘other’ smaller authorities.

 The basic position

The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (the Act) governs the work of auditors appointed to smaller authorities. This summary explains the provisions contained in Sections 26 and 27 of the Act. The Act, the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and the Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 also cover the duties, responsibilities and rights of smaller authorities, other organisations and the public concerning the accounts being audited.

As a local elector, or an interested person, you have certain legal rights in respect of the accounting records of smaller authorities. As an interested person you can inspect accounting records and related documents. If you are a local government elector for the area to which the accounts relate you can also ask questions about the accounts and object to them. You do not have to pay directly for exercising your rights. However, any resulting costs incurred by the smaller authority form part of its running costs. Therefore, indirectly, local residents pay for the cost of you exercising your rights through their council tax.

The right to inspect the accounting records

Any interested person can inspect the accounting records, which includes but is not limited to local electors. You can inspect the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records. You can copy all, or part, of these records or documents. Your inspection must be about the accounts, or relate to an item in the accounts. You cannot, for example, inspect or copy documents unrelated to the accounts, or that include personal information (Section 26 (6) – (10) of the Act explains what is meant by personal information). You cannot inspect information which is protected by commercial confidentiality. This is information which would prejudice commercial confidentiality if it was released to the public and there is not, set against this, a very strong reason in the public interest why it should nevertheless be disclosed.

When smaller authorities have finished preparing accounts for the financial year and approved them, they must publish them (including on a website). There must be a 30 working day period, called the ‘period for the exercise of public rights’, during which you can exercise your statutory right to inspect the accounting records. Smaller authorities must tell the public, including advertising this on their website, that the accounting records and related documents are available to inspect. By arrangement you will then have 30 working days to inspect and make copies of the accounting records. You may have to pay a copying charge. Legislative changes have been made as a result of the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus for the 2019/20 reporting year which mean that there is no requirement for a common period for public rights.  The period for the exercise of public rights must however commence on or before 1 September 2020. The advertisement must set out the dates of the period for the exercise of public rights, how you can communicate to the smaller authority that you wish to inspect the accounting records and related documents, the name and address of the auditor, and the relevant legislation that governs the inspection of accounts and objections.

The right to ask the auditor questions about the accounting records

 You should first ask your smaller authority about the accounting records, since they hold all the details. If you are a local elector, your right to ask questions of the external auditor is enshrined in law. However, while the auditor will answer your questions where possible, they are not always obliged to do so. For example, the question might be better answered by another organisation, require investigation beyond the auditor’s remit, or involve disproportionate cost (which is borne by the local taxpayer). Give your smaller authority the opportunity first to explain anything in the accounting records that you are unsure about. If you are not satisfied with their explanation, you can question the external auditor about the accounting records.

The law limits the time available for you formally to ask questions. This must be done in the period for the exercise of public rights, so let the external auditor know your concern as soon as possible. The advertisement or notice that tells you the accounting records are available to inspect will also give the period for the exercise of public rights during which you may ask the auditor questions, which here means formally asking questions under the Act. You can ask someone to represent you when asking the external auditor questions.

Before you ask the external auditor any questions, inspect the accounting records fully, so you know what they contain. Please remember that you cannot formally ask questions, under the Act, after the end of the period for the exercise of public rights. You may ask your smaller authority other questions about their accounts for any year, at any time. But these are not questions under the Act.

You can ask the external auditor questions about an item in the accounting records for the financial year being audited. However, your right to ask the external auditor questions is limited. The external auditor can only answer ‘what’ questions, not ‘why’ questions. The external auditor cannot answer questions about policies, finances, procedures or anything else unless it is directly relevant to an item in the accounting records. Remember that your questions must always be about facts, not opinions. To avoid misunderstanding, we recommend that you always put your questions in writing.

The right to make objections at audit

You have inspected the accounting records and asked your questions of the smaller authority. Now you may wish to object to the accounts on the basis that an item in them is in your view unlawful or there are matters of wider concern arising from the smaller authority’s finances. A local government elector can ask the external auditor to apply to the High Court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, or to issue a report on matters which are in the public interest. You must tell the external auditor which specific item in the accounts you object to and why you think the item is unlawful, or why you think that a public interest report should be made about it. You must provide the external auditor with the evidence you have to support your objection. Disagreeing with income or spending does not make it unlawful. To object to the accounts you must write to the external auditor stating you want to make an objection, including the information and evidence below and you must send a copy to the smaller authority. The notice must include:

  • confirmation that you are an elector in the smaller authority’s area;
  • why you are objecting to the accounts and the facts on which you rely;
  • details of any item in the accounts that you think is unlawful; and
  • details of any matter about which you think the external auditor should make a public interest report.

Other than it must be in writing, there is no set format for objecting. You can only ask the external auditor to act within the powers available under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

A final word

You may not use this ‘right to object’ to make a personal complaint or claim against your smaller authority.  You should take such complaints to your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, local Law Centre or to your solicitor. Smaller authorities, and so local taxpayers, meet the costs of dealing with questions and objections.  In deciding whether to take your objection forward, one of a series of factors the auditor must take into account is the cost that will be involved, they will only continue with the objection if it is in the public interest to do so. They may also decide not to consider an objection if they think that it is frivolous or vexatious, or if it repeats an objection already considered. If you appeal to the courts against an auditor’s decision not to apply to the courts for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, you will have to pay for the action yourself.

For more detailed guidance on public rights and the special powers of auditors, copies of the publication Local authority accounts: A guide to your rights are available from the NAO website. If you wish to contact your authority’s appointed external auditor please write to the address in paragraph 4 of the Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return.

 

 

Recycling sites update

From Monday 1 June, all 16 recycling sites will be returning to standard summer opening hours. Opening hours information will be updated on the Somerset Waste Partnership website from Monday morning.

From Monday, we will also be ending the odds and even number plate access system for all sites.

All other restrictions remain in place – no extra materials are being accepted compared to this week, max two people per household, wearing gloves, trailers and 3.5 tonne vans only between 4pm and 6pm on weekdays.

While this is a key step towards business as usual, we are avoiding making too many changes at once so we do not create an unmanageable or unsafe situation for residents or staff.

There will be further phases to get us back to as close to usual as possible.

We will continue to highlight that queues are to be expected due to the social distancing measures that are in place, and will remind people to turn off their engines if waiting, and that trips should only be made if they are really necessary.

 

Temporary Road Closure: Wrangcombe Road

The County Council of Somerset propose to make an Order PROHIBITING ALL TRAFFIC from proceeding along Wrangcombe Road for a distance of approximately 420 metres. This order will enable Somerset Highways to carry out Drainage works.

The Order becomes effective on 11th June 2020 and will remain in force for
eighteen months. The works are expected to commence on 15th June 2020 and last for 19 days.

Please visit one.network for further information on the alternative route.
For information about the works being carried out please contact Somerset
Council on 0300 123 2224.

Full details  Wrangcombe Road TRC 15th June

Walking and cycling manifesto for Somerset

Somerset Climate Action Network has recommended that the five principal authorities in Somerset ‘Remove barriers and lead joint funding bids to plan and develop effective cycling and walking infrastructure in all Somerset towns and key rural locations’.

This manifesto sets out its signatories’ requests of the County Council as Highway Authority.

We ask the County Council to:

Policy
  1. Reverse its historical prioritisation, which puts predicting and providing for cars first, with pedestrians and cyclists equal third.
  2. Stop all investment based on ‘predict and provide’. Future expenditure on Highways should only be for maintenance and safety improvements.
  3. Establish a specific and substantial budget with a lead officer at Assistant Director level for the development of walking and cycling networks across the County.
  4. Adopt current best-practice guidance as policy:
    1. Manual for Streets Vols 1 and 2
    2. Cycling [what is it?]
  5. Accept that the County Council does not have the capacity, nor the granular local knowledge, to control and manage everything that needs to be done for sustainable transport. Having set the appropriate standards, the Council should devolve to District and Local Councils where appropriate.

    Detail

    1. Establish a standard for cycle routes between settlements, which might include designation of existing roads as ‘quiet lanes’ or other regulatory measures, and adoption of the Knooppunten or similar system for wayfinding.
    2. Promote the connection by safe cycle routes of all settlements in Somerset of over 2,000 population. The actual routes to be agreed by all the local councils through which the route passes and/or the local District Council.
    3. Support the use of off-road routes and former railway lines by (if powers are delegated to SCC) giving financial assistance to landowners under s1(1) of the Agriculture Bill 2020 or by using compulsory purchase and Highways Act 1980 powers where necessary.
    4. Support longer-range cycle routes, liaising with neighbouring authorities as necessary.
    5. Prohibit pavement parking across the County.
    6. Introduce 40 mph [Devon say 50 mph] limits on all single carriageway rural roads, and 20 mph limits within built-up areas.

    More?

    1. 20-minute neighbourhoods (ie 10 minutes’ walk there, 10 back, 800 m distance)

    Initial draft produced jointly by Mike Ginger (Taunton Area Cycling Campaign), Gary Perrett, (Bridgwater Area Cycling Campaign) and James Hood (Bruton Town Council), 14 May 2020

    Appendix: specific locations

    1. Reappropriate the disused infrastructure of the Somerset & Dorset Rail Line where possible across the entire county creating a level multiuser off road track that would also allow good disabled access, linking up many villages and towns.
    2. Create links with Devon County to extend this effort allowing a usable multiuser track connecting the coast all the way to Bristol and Bath for better work and tourist links.

    3    Recommend refusal of any significant proposal for development that               does not include upgrading its pedestrian and cycling connections with          local facilities to the standards set out in 4 above.

  6. Comments on the draft manifesto, to be received by 12 June 2020;

The draft manifesto can be found as a Google Document at this link. It’s easiest to comment directly on the document (by selecting the text to which the comment applies, then clicking the small plus sign that appears in the right hand margin) but email comments are also welcome.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_ueN8j9AZznL7j7Ch359a1v1bNB0yQambO617Ufd8C4/edit?usp=sharing

 

Recycling Centre Re-opens & Garden Waste Collections Resume

Wellington recycling site will reopen on Monday 11 May for essential visits only- in line with updated guidance – and garden waste collections will resume from the same day. To ensure social distancing, protect public and staff and limit numbers, there will be a range of temporary restrictions; queues and delays are likely. Government guidance states visits
should only take place if waste cannot be stored safely at home without risking harm or ill-health, or harm to public health and amenity. If not an essential journey, please wait until sites are back to normal. Delays are likely.

It will be open six days a week: 9am-6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9am-4pm Saturdays and Sundays; all closed
Thursdays. Access is one in, one out, a number plate system will be
used: Odd numbers only Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays. Even numbers only Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays

Other restrictions include:
 Maximum two people per household
 No people with COVID-19 symptoms, or who have been asked to shield
 No large vans (3.5 tonne or heavier), no trailers
 Gloves to be worn outside vehicles

Only these materials will be taken:
 Refuse usually put in your rubbish
bin, and bulky items, such as furniture
 Garden waste
 Large electrical items, such as
cookers, fridges, TVs etc
 Hazardous chemicals, such as those
from garden sheds or garages
Not taken until further notice:
 Anything involving payment, such as
charged-for hardcore, soil, tyres, gas
bottles or vehicle parts (compost will
not be available to buy)
 Commercial waste
 Asbestos or plasterboard
Please do not take unless essential (as
it will be landfilled):
 Anything usually recycled kerbside –food, cardboard, paper, cans, glass
etc
 Wood, metals, small electrical items
 Plastic pots, tubs, trays, Tetra Paks

Collection of garden waste restarts from Monday 11 May. Subscriptions for
2020-21 will run until mid-May 2021.  Many subscribers collection day and
dates have changed. It’s important that people reread the letter that came with their bin sticker or check this via My Collection Day at
www.somersetwaste.gov.uk.

Collections will only be made from 2020-21 subscribers using bins with lids
closed and the correct year sticker, or in paid-for garden waste bags.

Advice about ransomware, phishing, working from home and online fraud

Avon and Somerset Police have produced some advice about ransomware, phishing, working from home and online fraud. These are the most prevalent attacks that the UK police forces are seeing right now due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

 The documents include a quick reference guide, a presentation and a written information document, which are meant to be read together side by side, but the written document can be read separately.

 Please pass on these documents and distribute it throughout your contacts in order to remain safe and secure during this Crisis. Threat actors are increasingly targeting individuals, businesses and organisations and using the pandemic as a manipulation tool to install malware and steal personal information. The attached documents will advise the reader of the current threats and how to create a stronghold for themselves while working from home or using the internet for personal reasons.

COVID19 Advice doc

COVID19 Adivce presentation

COVID19 Quick Tips