Smaller authorities FAQs

Who needs to complete an Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR)?
These regulations apply to all local government smaller authorities including:
  • Local councils (including parish, town, village and community councils and parish meetings
  • Internal drainage boards
  • Other smaller authorities such as charter trustees, port health authorities, conservation bodies, harbour boards and crematorium boards.
What are the timescales for submission of the AGAR?
Authorities must have approved and published accounts before the first working day of July (1st July 2019). 

The relevant part of the AGAR should be sent to Moore for audit by the 15th July 2019.  

What happens if the authority misses the deadline?
An additional charge of £40 plus VAT will be incurred if Moore is required to send a reminder to any authority (i.e. if returns are not received by 15th  July 2019) 

Can an authority choose to have Limited Assurance Review even if the income or expenditure is less than £25k?
Yes.  While there is no requirement for authorities in this situation to have a Limited Assurance Review they may request one.  In these circumstances the authority should not certify itself as exempt, i.e. not complete a Certificate of Exemption, but instead complete Part 3 of the AGAR 2018/19 and return it to Moore for review.  The cost to the smaller authority for the review will be £200 + VAT.

What information do Smaller Authorities need to publish on their website?
In relation to the AGAR, smaller authorities are required to publish on their public website before 1 July 2019 the following information:

If completing Part 1
  • A copy of the Certificate of Exemption and Declaration of No Accounts
If completing Part 2
  • Certificate of Exemption
  • Annual Internal Audit Report 2018/19 (recommended)
  • AGAR Section 1 – Annual Governance Statement 2018/19
  • AGAR Section 2 – Accounting Statements 2018/19
  • Analysis of variances
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Notice of the period for the exercise of public rights and other information required by Regulation 15 (2), Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015.
  • Name and address of the External Auditor
If completing Part 3
  • Annual Internal Auditors Report 2018/19 (recommended)
  • AGAR Section 1 – Annual Governance Statement 2018/19
  • AGAR Section 2 – Accounting Statements 2018/19
  • A declaration that the accounts are as yet unaudited
  • Notice of the period for the exercise of public rights and other information required by Regulation 15 (2) Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015.
  • Name and address of the External Auditor
Additionally, in relation to AGAR Part 3 only smaller authorities are required to publish on their public website after conclusion of the exercise of public rights but before 1 October 2019 the following information:
 
  • AGAR Section 1 – Annual Governance Statement 2018/19
  • AGAR Section 2 – Accounting Statements 2018/19
  • AGAR Section 3 – The External Auditor Report and Certificate (if issued) together with a Notice of conclusion of audit.
It is recommended as best practice that you also publish the Annual Internal Audit Report to avoid any potential confusion by local electors and interested parties.

When is the Period for the exercise of Public Rights?
The legislation provides for a period for the exercise of public rights.  The period must be 30 working days inclusive, and that period must include the first 10 working days of July.  The earliest this period can end is 13th July 2019.  It follows that the earliest date the period of inspection can begin is on 3rd June 2019.  We recommend that the period commences on 3rd June, or as soon after that as is convenient to the Authority.

What happens if an elector wants to raise a question about the accounts?  
If an elector has a question about or wants to challenge any item on the accounts, you should direct them in the first instance to the National Audit Office (NAO) publication - Local Authority Accounts: A guide to your rights

More information about public interest reports can be found here.