Financial Risk Assessment

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Approved at MTC 10 11 15 Agenda Item 8.7





For consideration/approval at MTC 27 10 17





For consideration/approval at MTC 08/10/18





For consideration/approval at MTC 16/03/20





Approved at Full Council 29/03/21

Agenda Item 10.3


Dec 2021



Replaced references from EU GDPR to Data Protection Act 2018/UK GDPR as approved at Full Council 06/12/21


To provide and maintain standards for Town Council services to the residents of Macclesfield

Risk Identified



The risk of legislative change which will have an impact on the Town Council’s powers, duties and funding

Town Clerk & staff keep appraised of developments

Cyber Training arranged for all Officers and Members 2020. Training database is now being maintained.

The protection of physical assets owned by the Town Council including buildings and equipment (loss or damage)

All physical assets insured

All assets checked regularly Management Systems being put in place

Concern raised about inherited assets as descriptions do not meet known items

The risk of damage to third party property or individuals as a consequence of the Town council providing services (public liability)

Public liability Insurance renewed annually


Insufficient staff or other resources to deliver the service needs

Staff have good awareness of other team members’ essential tasks and can provide cover when required.  Team meets regularly to keep each other updated. Structure was changed in 2020 to reflect changes and increased work load.

Town Clerk to formally monitor and review staff and work levels. Any concerns regarding this to then be brought to Council

New Communication and Events Officer employed 2020

To provide a safe and fulfilling working environment for staff

Risk Identified



Employees contravene H & S Regs

H & S & First Aid training, insurance, Risk Assessments regularly

checked and updated

Staff briefing on H and S in Nov 2020

Potential legal proceedings up to corporate manslaughter

Employers Liability insurance Employee training and awareness


Staff retention issues

Staff training where appropriate, regular staff meetings. Staff receive informal regular positive feedback and also formal appraisals.

Staff are supported by Town Clerk, Chair of Personnel, Mayor and Chair of all Committees.

Commitment to staff wellbeing – Town Clerk ensures an open approach to discussing any issues that arise and solving them.

Staff have been encouraged to purchase equipment they need to effectively work from home.

Ongoing process – formal Hand S briefing with Chair of Personnel in Nov 2020 to ensure staff wellbeing working from home.


To maintain financial records that are correct and comply with all recommended accounting practice

Risk Identified



Adverse audit reports, legal action and loss of confidence

in Town Council

Clerk keeps up to date with legislative changes, discusses latest

requirements with internal and external auditors

Member of Chalc which send regular briefings.

Internal audit review recommendations  actioned

Loss of income through error or fraud

Fidelity Guarantee Insurance


Town Clerk continually review controls and current procedures. Checks are in place to minimize this risk. 2 Councillors must authorise all payments and sign cheques.

Online Banking procedure agreed at Full Council 14.12.20

To ensure that all actions taken by the Town Council comply with all current Legislation

Risk Identified



Non-compliance with legislation or practice Council being ‘Ultra Vires’

Town Clerk to keep up to date with changes in legislation, seek advice from SLCC, ChALC, NALC and others as necessary


Employment Contract

Risk Identified



Compensation claims from employee for contractual employment defects (including statutory failure)

  • Contract of employment in place
  • Matters relating to staff discussed in confidential session and discussed by personnel committee
  • Town Clerk to keep up to date with employment law and seek HR advice where appropriate
  • Other policies in place


Compensation claim from employee for contractual employment defects (including statutory failure)

Supported and underwritten by Wirehouse Employer Services



Risk Identified



Loss of services of employee

By distributing knowledge and roles ensure, so far as reasonably practical, that loss of any one employee does not cause unrecoverable damage to business


Loss of key staff trained in financial systems, process or rules

Staffing arrange so that knowledge is distributed between RFO

and at least one other staff. Admin and Governance Manager can carry out the day to day payments and accounts if necessary.

External Accountancy support in place

Financial Control

Risk Identified



Inappropriate expenditure made

Procedure and controls in place to minimise this risk of inappropriate expenditure. Payments reported to Finance committee for review and corrective action if necessary

Online Banking Procedure approved Full Council 14.12.20

Financial Regulations become out of date with change in technology, regulation or business

  • Council to review financial regulations once a year
  • The RFO and Clerk react to any changes in legislation or other areas in order to ensure the regulations are fully compliant and also provide a strong framework compatible with Council`s practices


Lack of budgetary overview/overspend against budget


  • Quarterly review of nominal ledger
  • Monthly review of income and expenditure
  • Seven week review by finance Committee


Lack of finance to meet unbudgeted, urgent commitments ( with safety or other critical implications)

  • Contingency included in budget
  • Reserves equivalent to at least six month`s spend available


Risk of fraudulent VAT numbers from new suppliers

VAT numbers for all new suppliers with an expected supplies/services value of £1,000 or more in a financial year will be checked with HMRC register


Financial Systems & Records

Risk Identified




The RBS Omega accounts system is used which is an accepted accounts package

  • A back up is also made to the main server at the end of each day 
  • Hard copies linked to council reports are held on file together with bank reconciliation reports, invoices/receipts/payments and cheques issued
  • Documents are retained for 12 years



The RBS Omega system incorporates a Vat schedule which is an accepted package which allows differentiation between tax rates etc. which is itemised in a full report relating back to the original item within the accounts

  • Vat is applied to all mileage payments at the rate applicable at the time as advise by HMR&C
  • Vat returns are lodged on an annual basis in line with accepted procedures
  • Procedures will be provided to HMR&C every three/four years for comments and approval




Shires payroll services in place for complete payroll function

  • The Clerk authorises any overtime, mileage or special duty payments, on a monthly basis
  • Backups are made to the server
  • Hard copies linked to pay roll reports are held on file together with payslips, BACs payments and cheques issued to the pension fund and IR
  • Shires payroll service and fund invoices are retained on file with a record of payment.
  • Payments can only be issued for the nominated employees, which must be authorised in advance of the payment
  • Documents are retained for 12 years
  • Annual pension and year end payroll returns are issued in a timely manner to the appropriate bodies that inspect the information and highlight any discrepancies


Banking Arrangements & Procedures, Banking Security/Access to Finances

Risk Identified



Barclays Bank is used



one bank account used on a daily basis


Reviewing how much is placed into a higher rate deposit account



Each cheque from the main account must be signed by 2 Councillors and the Town Clerk as detailed on the bank mandates (which are amended when required to ensure that sufficient signatories are available at all times)



Monies may be transferred between the Councils accounts by the Clerk


Bank Reconciliation

  • All accounts are reconciled using the RBS Omega system within 5 days of receipt of any statement
  • Any discrepancies are immediately reported to the bank for investigation


Separation of Duties

The Town Clerk is responsible for the cash security in the Town Council offices


Access to the main bank accounts

As detailed under Banking arrangements & Procedures above, no one person has access to monies held in the main accounts



All invoices are checked by the Clerk in advance of payment and if related to an order, this has passed through the ordering procedure.


Access to petty cash accounts

The Financial Regulations specify maximum balances to ensure that individuals do not have access to large amounts of money

No petty cash system in operation


  • All payments must be authorised by the RFO before any cheque is issued. The RFO is to sign the invoice to confirm and record that the cheques have been authorised.
  • Only payments or transfers below £250 are normally accepted and are reported to Finance Administration & Personnel Committee


Petty Cash – Cash Payments

  • All payments made in cash must be substantiated by an invoice etc. which has been authorised by the Clerk
  • All payments are reported to Finance with a full reconciliation report

No petty cash system in operation

Hire Charges

  • Council agree the charges
  • The office must abide by these rates and any requests for preferential rates must be made by the hirer to Council for their approval
  • All bookings must be paid for in advance to avoid bad debts other block bookers are invoiced or given the option of paying the sites on a weekly basis


Hire charges received within the office

  • All invoices are logged by an Officer and any payments received are processed by RFO

  • All cash received from hirers that visit the office is itemised on the Accounts system


Cash collected from community events

  • All cash collected at events is collected by appointed staff and a receipt is always issued (eg markets income)
  • At the office the cash is emptied and counted manually within one working day by at least two members of staff


Processing and banking

  • When the money is received it is balanced within the office against any receipts/invoices and any discrepancies are followed up
  • When the monies have been balanced, it is input onto the RBS Omega system and all entry references are printed out and retained
  • The hire charges are banked when received The cash element is usually below £500
  • A unique pay in reference is applied to each batch of banking
  • which is loaded onto the RBS Omega system which is then checked against the bank reconciliation


This is a strict routine that ensures that any booked hire cannot proceed without receiving the payments and guarantees that all monies are accounted for


Financial Administration

Risk Identified



Records non-compliant or inadequate

  • Internal auditor reviews record keeping annually
  • Advice taken from internal auditor, external auditor, accountant, SLCC + NALC on changes in regulation


Expenditure/income coded incorrectly

  • Town Clerk checks nominal ledger every quarter
  • Items are coded


Standing Orders


Standing orders are reviewed and approved by Town Council on an annual basis at the AGM

The Clerk reacts to any changes in legislation, requests from Town Council or other areas in order to ensure the regulations are fully compliant and also provide a strong framework compatible with Council practices


Non-compliance with statutory deadlines for the

completion/approval/submission of accounts and other financial returns

Programme of meetings to meet statutory deadlines                                


Invoice payment without authority

  • All payments reviewed
  • Town Clerk authorises two councillors sign cheques and Administration personnel review


Incoming cash and cheque misappropriation

Individual receipts to be issued for all cash payments and for cheque payments on request


Theft of funds

  • Bank statements reconciled monthly, Fidelity Insurance in place against theft of funds by staff, Councillors and other persons

  • Cash and cheques stored securely and aim to bank within 5 working days of receipt


Incorrect entries by bank

Bank statements reconciled monthly


Annual Budget & Precept Calculations

Risk Identified



The annual budget and precept calculations

  • The annual budget and precept calculations are initially calculated in October/November based upon the performance of the prior year and incorporating projected requirements which have been lodged by the office and council members
  • The Town Clerk also completes a mid-year review in October for the current year to calculate possible year end surpluses which may be incorporated within the future budget. The actual precept level is then calculated from the balance sheet assuming that the remainder of the current year’s  budget will be utilised in order to estimate the year end bank balance
  • The new budgeted income, expenditure and reserves are then set against this balance in order to calculate a budget shortfall on which the future precept is based
  • The new budget is discussed and fine-tuned through the October, November and December Council and Committee meetings after the up to date number of band D properties have been confirmed by CEC discuss & amend any highlighted budget levels in order to best achieve, an acceptable precept level
  • Comprehensive minutes are recorded at each stage to substantiate the budget development
  • The final budget is approved in December /January and CEC is immediately advised of the precept


Monitoring of Budgets

Risk Identified



Comprehensive budgets

Comprehensive budgets are set for each committee & these are loaded onto RBS Omega accounts system at the start of the new financial year



  • On-going daily expenditures have already been incorporated within the budget and the RFO monitors invoices etc. against the budget schedule to confirm that they are within the limits
  • All orders are checked against the accounts system to verify expenditure within the account code to date and the remaining budget
  • Any over expenditure is highlighted and brought to the attention of the Clerk



  • A full report of expenditures against budget is lodged with council at each Finance Committee Meeting.

  • This incorporates a print out of the income and expenditure against each annual budget and the cashbook extract

  • Any that do not meet the budget levels are highlighted by member if needed along with committed expenditure


Insurable Risks

Risk Identified



Public Liability

  • Insurance cover

Limit of cover £12,000,000

Employers Liability

Insurance cover

Limit cover £10,000,000

Theft of money by third party

Insurance cover

  • Cover varies depending on situation
  • Reviewed annually

Theft of money by employee or member

Fidelity Guarantee cover

Limit of cover £2,000,000


  • Cover for buildings & contents
  • All risks cover for selected items


Officials Indemnity

Continue with existing cover (£250k)


Libel and Slander

Continued existing cover (£250k)                                                 

Limit of cover £250,000

Personal Accident

Continue with existing cover (scale benefits)


Legal disputes

Cover for specified legal disputes

Limit of cover £100,000

Long term sickness of employee

  • Not covered
  • Liability limited by contract


Business interruption

  • Potential alternative premises, IT back-up off site and ability to restore onto hired equipment etc
  • Cover in place for excess costs

Limit of cover £50,000

Loss/destruction of financial records

Key financial data held electronically and backed up off site All electronic documents backed up daily offsite

Residual risk considered acceptable

Loss of Records

Risk Identified



Loss of documentation

Deeds and other legal documents relating to real estate stored in the office


Asset List

Risk Identified




  • An asset list is maintained by the Town Council Office on RBS SIgma
  • This is updated throughout the year from new assets which are in addition, a schedule of road furniture/bins/dog bins/bus shelters play area equipment etc., will be kept on a secondary list
  • The asset list is circulated to staff on an annual basis to ensure that all items are correct


Internal Audit

Risk Identified



Internal Audit

  • The Internal Auditor is approved annually by Council at the AGM and attends the office to complete the internal audit each year
  • The report is presented to Council for acceptance


Annual Audit

Risk Identified



Annual Audit

  • The annual auditor is appointed and directs the format and structure of the audit in line with current legislation and requirements
  • Audit costs and levels of requirement are determined by government legislation based upon the annual income or expenditure levels
  • The Town Clerk completes the year end accounts to audit trial level and prepares any additional reports required by the external auditor
  • The Town Clerk presents the completed Annual Return, Financial Statement and other documentation required to Council in line with the timescales provided by the external auditor
  • Once these have been formally adopted and signed by Council, they are lodged with external auditors
  • Any queries raised by the auditors are dealt with by the Town Clerk in the first instance
  • Final sign-off by the external auditor is presented to Council

Risk Identified



Fidelity Insurance

  • Fidelity insurance levels have been set after taking into account the possibility of fraudulent activities gaining access to the bank accounts
  • Procedures in place (as previously detailed) have been established incorporating separation of duties, cross referenced receipts of income
  • These provisions have ensured that no individual is able to gain access to withdraw funds without due process



  • Zurich has been used as a recognised Town Council provider
  • MTC are currently tied into a deal until 2021
  • Annual reviews are carried out to ensure sufficient cover is in place



Risk Identified



IT Security, safety of information/risk of loss of data

  • Microsoft Office 360 installed on all PCs
  • Allows for cloud back up of information
  • Allows for cloud storage of all council data – more secure than onsite storage.

As of October 2018. Also supports compliant UK GDPR/DPA 2018 operation and Cyber Security Training has been incorporated 2020


Reviews will take place yearly unless clearly stated differently within each section.