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Community Councils

Funding for community councils

Range of funding support streams from East Renfrewshire Council.

When a community council is established, an administrative allowance to cover administrative expenditure is awarded. The allowance is paid annually, on submission of examined and certified annual accounts together with receipts and vouchers covering the administrative expenditure of the community council for the previous financial year.

The purpose of the allowance is to cover the costs of administering community council business for 12 months and falls under the general terms and conditions relative to the disbursement of council grants. However, it is recognised that community councils may, through sound financial responsibility and prudence and without prejudicing its capacity to cover its annual  running costs in full, be in a position to consider utilising some of these funds for general community benefit.  This could be a local project or initiative it wishes to undertake.  Community councils may also consider an annual ring-fenced amount within their accounts which can be added to over successive years for a larger scale project or initiative. However, any surplus funds cannot be transferred to another community organisation, charity or individual. If in any doubt, consult the Council's Community Council Liaison Officer.

Community councils can also generate income from sources other than the local authority. This income may be applied towards expenditure not contemplated by the administrative allowance awarded by the local authority. The accounts of the community council will however, disclose all income from whatever source it is obtained and will show all expenditure even where it is not simply expenditure against the local authority administrative allowance. Where an application is made to the local authority's Community Grant Scheme or other grant funding agency, the whole financial circumstances of the community council require to be considered, to establish surplus and committed funds before an application for grant assistance can be dealt with by the local authority.  Advice and support on other grant funding agencies can be provided by Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire and a direct link is featured in an Advice Note.

As a matter of course and indeed good practice, a treasurer's report should be a standard monthly agenda Item at all community council meetings.


Accounting Procedures 

Cash

  • The community council should have a cash book and income and expenditure should be recorded in it. The date, description, amount and receipt number should also be recorded. The electronic model developed by the Council for community council's is described elsewhere in this document, under the Role of Treasurer.
  • The level of cash held should be in proportion to the monthly expenditure.
  • All income received should be banked and should not be used to meet expenditure. If funds are required for incurred expenditure, they should either be paid by cheque or alternatively, cash should be withdrawn from the bank.
  • Once a banking deposit has been made, the stamped pay-in slip should be retained and checked against the bank statement to ensure that the income has been credited correctly.

Expenditure

  • All expenditure must be approved in advance by the community council.
  • All expenditure must be accompanied by proof of purchase, either by an expenditure voucher or receipted invoice.
  • Receipts should be given a sequential number and filed accordingly.
  • Details of expenditure should be recorded in the income and expenditure ledger as soon as it is incurred. Where a receipt is not available, the person making the purchase should complete a form stating the nature of the expenditure. The form should be authorised by the community council's treasurer.
  • A current account will normally be used for day to day transactions.
  • The treasurer should await the bank statements and once received, carry out a bank reconciliation to ensure that the bank balance agrees with the balance recorded in the income and expenditure ledger. Retain all bank statements.
  • Where petty cash is issued, all petty cash vouchers should be signed by the person requesting the money and countersigned by the treasurer or other authorised signatory - this must not be the person who is requesting the expenditure. All receipts for items of expenditure should be retained and attached to the appropriate petty cash voucher.
  • Reimbursement of travel expenses should only be available to persons on official community council business. Claimants should submit a detailed record of dates, times, destination, reason for travel and mode of transport. Reimbursement of travel expenses (for example bus, taxi, train, parking fees, etc.) should only be awarded if accompanied by an appropriate receipt.
  • If the community council requires telephone calls to be made, reimbursement of costs can be made.  The person(s) concerned should submit an itemised telephone statement highlighting the calls claimed.

Annual Accounts

The following paragraphs reinforce income and expenditure matters dealt with earlier in this guidance.

  • An annual income and expenditure statement of all accounts must be prepared at the end of each financial year and must be examined by a person or persons unconnected with the fund and the community council.
  • The examined and approved accounts, together with relevant receipts and vouchers must be presented to the community council at its annual general meeting and thereafter passed to the prescribed Council officer.

Inventory

The community council must maintain an inventory detailing all the assets of the community council. The inventory should be updated on an ongoing basis for additions and deletions of assets.


Other financial support

There are other expenses associated with supporting the work of community councils, which are paid for directly by East Renfrewshire Council, independently of the administrative allowance.

These are:

Insurance

Insurance for community councils through: The Zurich Town, Parish and Community Council Insurance Policy. A copy of the Insurance Policy, with a detailed description of the cover provided is available for community councils upon request, at: listening@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk.

Data Protection Act, 1998

Registration Fees for community councils, payable to the Information Commissioner.

Photocopying

Free of charge photocopying service at all council libraries.

Meeting Venue Charges

Cost of venues for community council meetings.


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