Skipton Town Council

Annual Return and the Council's Accounts

The Local Audit & Accountability Act 2014 and the Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015 set out the responsibilities of all local councils in respect of their accounting and auditing procedures.

Each year, the Council's financial accounts and statements are examined by an independent 'internal' auditor appointed by the Council.

The Council is also required to complete an 'Annual Return' which includes the findings of the Internal Auditor, together with Governance Statements and Financial Statements. This Annual Return is then submitted to another independent 'external' auditor for examination.

As part of this process, the Council must publish the unaudited Annual Return and must make arrangements for a period in which interested persons can inspect the Council's accounts and related documents. If you are a registered local government elector (i.e you appear on the electoral register for the area covered by the Council) you can also ask questions about the accounts and object to them.

For the year ending 31st March 2016, this process has now been completed.

In due course (and by the 30th September each year) the Council must also publish a final copy of the audited Annual Return, once this is received back from the External Auditor after they have completed their examination.

Notice of Publication of Audited Annual Return

The Council's External Auditor for year ending 31st March 2016 is Messrs Littlejohn LLP of Canary Wharf, London.

They have completed their review and the Audited Annual Return has been received back by the Council.

Skipton Town Council is pleased to report that the audit is entirely satisfactory and no matters have been raised by the auditor.

The Council is now in a position to issue the formal Notice of Conclusion of Audit and to publish the final Audited Annual Return.

A copy of the formal Notice can be viewed below:

Notice of Audit Conclusion


FINAL AUDITED ANNUAL RETURN 2015-2016

Details of the Council's Final Audited Annual Return for the 2015-2016 financial year can be viewed or downloaded below.

In line with the Notice of Conclusion, the Audited Annual Return can also be viewed at the Council's offices - and copies are available on request. Please see the Notice itself (above) for more details.

The final AUDITED document comprises FOUR elements:

Annual Internal Audit Report 2015-2016

This section summarises the conclusions of the Council's Internal Auditor, Messrs Windle & Bowker.

Internal Audit Report 2015-2016

Annual Governance Statement 2015-2016

This section sets out a number of statements made by the Council itself regarding systems of internal control and arrangements for the preparation of accounting statement for the year ending 31st March 2016.

Governance Statement 2015-2016

Accounting Statements 2015-2016

This section summarises the Council's financial position as at 31st March 2016 in terms of income and expenditure.

Accounting Statements 2015-2016

External Auditor Certificate

This section sets out the view of the External Auditor and details any matters the Auditor wishes to bring to the attention of the Council.

The Council is obliged to consider any comments or recommendations made by the External Auditor - and to decide whether any action needs to be taken by the Council.

There are NO matters arising from the audit for year ending 31st March 2016

External Auditor Certificate


History of the Council

Skipton Town Council was created as part of the Local Government Act 1972, which came into force in 1974 as part of a reorganisation of local government across the country.

The reorganisation saw the abolition of the old Skipton Urban District Council and Skipton Rural District Council and created the new Craven District Council alongside Skipton Town Council.

Responsibility for Council services was split between the two new authorities, with the bulk of services being taken on by the new District Council. Skipton Town Council took responsibility for a number of services specific to the Parish of Skipton and the role of Town Mayor was created. The chains of the former Chairman of the Urban District Council passed to the new Town Council, and a new crest was added to the chain.

Over the last 40 years, the role of the Town Council has evolved, taking account of changes in the Town - and it has adopted a number of new roles and services.

The Council has had a number of operational bases, including the Old Town Hall (currently Brody's Restaurant on Sheep Street) and a suite of offices above Barclay's Bank on Skipton High Street.

From March 2016, the Council moved back to its spiritual home and now occupies newly refurbished offices on the first floor of Skipton Town Hall, immediately adjacent to the original Council Chamber.

Opening Times

Skipton Town Council's offices are based on the first floor of Skipton Town Hall, High Street, Skipton, BD23 1FD.

Our offices are open for personal visitors from 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and from 9am to 1pm on Friday.

Access to our reception is via the main staircase at the front entrance of the Town Hall. Ramped access to the Town Hall is available via the new side entrance on Jerry Croft. A lift is available to our first floor reception and this is located opposite the Tourist Information Centre. The lift is available during office hours and for access to some evening Council meetings.

The Council's main telephone number is (01756) 700553 and our switchboard is open during normal office hours.

If you wish to see a specific member of staff, it is always advisable to call in advance to make an appointment.

If you wish to see a Councillor, you should bear in mind that they are not generally based at our offices. Please refer to the Your Councillors section for contact details.

Council Committees

Skipton Town Council has 16 Councillors. They meet, as a FULL COUNCIL, approximately six times a year. The Full Council oversees the work of all the Council's Committees and ratifies the decisions they make. It is the ultimate decision making body of the Council.

The bulk of the work of the Council is undertaken by four 'Standing Committees' and a small number of Management or Working Groups. Generally, each Councillor will sit on two of the four Standing Committees.

The FINANCE & POLICY COMMITTEE makes overall policy decisions on what the Council should be doing and how and what it spends its money on. This Committee is also responsible for setting the Councils budgets and recommending the level of the ‘precept’ – the amount of money charged by the Council as its element of your Council Tax. This Committee meets around every two months.

The PUBLIC SERVICES COMMITTEE looks after the bulk of the Council's services and sets the policies and systems on which these services operate. The Council's officers then run the services, on behalf of the Council, based on the decisions made by this Committee. The Committee meets once a month.

The ENVIRONMENT & PLANNING COMMITTEE considers matters relating to Skipton and its environment. It also deals with the Council's responsibility as a 'statutory consultee' for any planning applications submitted in the Parish of Skipton. Although Craven District Council is the Planning Authority, the Town Council has the legal right to comment on any application and the Planning Authority must take its views into account. The Committee itself meets formally approximately every two months but, because of the volume of planning applications submitted, a separate 'Planning Working Group Sub-Committee' meets to consider applications. Any major or contentious applications are referred to the main Committee.

The final committee, AUDIT & SCRUTINY analyses the work of the other committees and makes the appropriate checks to ensure that things are being done correctly. This committee also looks at any complaints or similar issues and can investigate and make recommendations to the Full Council. This Committee meets approximately every two months.

The meetings of all four committees and the Full Council are open to the public. Full details of the dates and times of meetings, together with agendas and minutes of recent meetings can be found HERE

In addition to the main Committees, the Council operates a 'Markets Management Group' of Councillors to oversee the operation of Skipton Market.

The Council may set up other 'ad-hoc' Working Groups as it sees fit to deal with specific issues.

Skipton Town Mayor

The title of Town Mayor is adopted by the Chairman of the Town Council, a position elected each year at the Council's AGM. Other than chairing formal meetings of the Council, the role is largely ceremonial, with the Town Mayor attending a range of civic functions across Skipton during the year of office.

The current Town Mayor is Councillor Martin Emmerson

The current Deputy Town Mayor is Councillor Andrew Rankine

Inviting The Mayor To A Function

If you would like the Town Mayor to attend an event or function you are organising, you will need to make a formal invitation.

The Mayor's secretary is Wendy Allsopp who works from the Town Council's offices and organises the Mayor's diary. You should contact Wendy in the first instance, and she will be happy to advise on the various protocol involved.

You should send your invitation as early as possible as the Town Mayor's diary does fill up very quickly. In certain instances, the Deputy Mayor may attend where the Mayor is unavailable.

If your event is being held outside of the Parish of Skipton, additional protocols need to be observed - so it is even more important that you notify the Council as early as possible.

Download the application form for inviting the Town Mayor of Skipton to your event:

Mayoral Invite Form

Download a copy of the current Mayoral Engagement Diary:
Mayoral Engagements 2015-16



The current Mayor will be announcing his charity support shortly.

Council Staff

The Council employs a number of permanent staff in its offices at Skipton Town Hall, together with members of the Grounds Maintenance team who operate from the Council's depot at Middletown.

The Council's Chief Officer is Dave Parker. He is the Council's senior officer and acts as the Clerk to the Council and as the Responsible Financial Officer.

Les Chandler is the Council's Estate Manager with overall responsibility for looking after the Council's assets and property.

The Council employs a Town Centre Manager. Their main role is to oversee the many events, festivals and marketing initiatives which take place in the Town each year. Thy also has a managerial role in the operation of Skipton Market. This post is currently vacant

Jill Peacock is the Council's Interim Resources Manager looking after the Council's contractual and financial matters.

Stefan Bodnarczuk is the Market Officer and looks after the day-to-day operation of Skipton Market.

Judy Probst is the Council's Town Centre Ambassador Supervisor overseeing the operation of the Ambassadors scheme and co-ordinating volunteer Ambassadors.

Wendy Allsopp, Elaine Rushworth and Lee Dickinson look after the general administrative matters and assist key Officers in their work. Wendy is also the Mayor's Secretary handling the Town Mayor's diary and civic engagements.

The Ground Staff team comprises Larry Mowlam, Mark Robinson, Ron Bownass and Josh Daley. They work under the direction of the Estates Manager, delivering services on the ground around the Parish.

All members of staff can be contacted via the Council's offices. You should bear in mind that some only work on a part-time basis.

How To Become a Councillor

Except where a by-election is called to fill a Casual Vacancy on the Council, Members are elected once every four years.

The latest elections took place in May 2015 and the next are scheduled for May 2019.

Councillors are unpaid and Skipton Town Council does not pay any expenses to its Councillors, however they undertake a vital role in the community, shaping local policies and helping to improve the Town for its residents.

Being a Councillor will occupy some of your spare time - and there is a legal requirement to attend meetings. It is possible, though, to become a Councillor alongside a full-time job.

If you are interested in becoming a Councillor, you should contact the office for further information. The Council's Chief Officer will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

You do not have to represent any political party, individuals can stand in their own right as independent Members of the Council. If you do wish to represent a political party, you will need to have their approval and should contact them direct.

Financial & Transparency Information

Under the Local Government Transparency Code 2014 the Council is obliged to publish certain elements of information including, for example, details of any items of expenditure in excess of £500, details of any tenders or contracts exceeding a value of £5,000, details of any land or building assets owned by the Council and details of any grant funding given to community groups and voluntary organisations.

This legislation came into force in May 2014 and information will be posted to this section of the website on a minimum quarterly basis.

Payments Over £500

The following downloads show, on a month by month basis, any individual item of Council expenditure in excess of £500 in value (excluding VAT).

Payments Over 500.00 - July 2014
Payments Over 500.00 - August 2014
Payments Over 500.00 - September 2014
Payments over 500.00 October 2014
Payments over 500.00 November 2014
Payments over 500.00 December 2014
Payments over 500.00 January 2015
Payments over 500.00 February 2015
Payments over 500.00 March 2015
Payments over 500 April 2015
Payments over 500.00 May June 2015
Payments over 500.00 July and August 2015
Payments over 500 September 2015
Payments over 500 October 2015
Payments over 500.00 November 2015
Payments over 500.00 December 2015
Payments over 500.00 January 2016
Payments over 500.00 February 2016
Payments over 500.00 March 2016
Payments over 500.00 April 2016
Payments over 500.00 May 2016
Payments over 500.00 June 2016


Grants to Community Groups

The Council is required to publish details of any grant funding provided to local community groups or voluntary organisations.

In August 2014, the Council awarded a small number of grants as part of its annual 'Community Grants Scheme'. Details of the grants awarded can be viewed or downloaded below.

The Council is currently reviewing its policy on the provision of grant funding ahead of any decision as to whether the Scheme will operate again.

It is unlikely that the Council will make any further awards of grant funding available during the current financial year.

Please contact the office if you require any further information.

Grants to Community Organisations - 2014

Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014

New regulations published by the Government on 5th August 2014 give members of the press and public additional rights in the way the proceedings of a local council can be reported. This includes the provision to record and/or film at a meeting of the Council or its Committees.

The regulations also require the publication of certain decisions made by Council Officers.

Recording the Proceedings of the Council

By law, any member of the public (or the media) now has the right to record and report on the proceedings of a Council meeting as it takes place.

Skipton Town Council is committed to making access to meetings for this purpose as easy as possible but, in doing so, it must ensure that the proceedings of the meeting itself are not disrupted.

To assist with this, the Council has agreed a protocol which sets out what facilities the Council will provide, together with any procedures which will be followed to ensure the smooth running of meetings.

A copy of the protocol can be downloaded below.

Further information can also be found in the Council Meetings section.

Protocol for Recording at Council Meetings


Press & Public Relations

The Council works closely with local media outlets and is always happy to answer media enquiries, which should be directed to the office in the first instance.

From time to time, the Council will issue Press Releases and Press Statements. Any current items will appear in this section of the website.

Current Job Vacancies

There are no current staff vacancies.

Any vacancies which do arise will appear in this section.

Publication Scheme

Skipton Town Council is obliged to make certain information available under what is known as a 'Publication Scheme'.

There are various ways in which the information can be supplied, either as hard copy, which means we are required to provide the information as a printed document on request, through our website or to allow the public to inspect documents at our offices.

We aim to provide as much information as possible through this website - and we aim to expand the amount of information available without the need to contact the office.

The information we are obliged to provide under the scheme is divided into a number of 'classes'. These are shown below, together with details of how to obtain that information:

Class 1 - Who We Are and What We Do

Contact details for the Town Clerk (Chief Officer) and Council Members:
Councillor details are available on the website or in hard copy on request from the office.

The Chief Officer is Dave Parker he can be contacted at Skipton Town Council, Skipton Town Hall, High Street, Skipton, BD23 1FD or by calling (01756) 700553.

Location of Main Council Office and Accessibility Details:
The Council's offices are located on the first floor of Skipton Town Hall. Access is through the main front entrance and up the main stairs to reception.

Lift access is available to the Town Council's reception. Ramped access to the Town Hall is available via the side entrance on Jerry Croft. The lift to the Council's offices is located opposite the entrance to the Tourist Information Centre inside the Town Hall itself.

The address for the Council is:
Skipton Town Council
Town Hall
High Street
SKIPTON
North Yorkshire
BD23 1FD


What We Do
Details of the services provided by the Council can be found on this website in the 'Council Services' section.

Staffing Structure
Some detail on Council staffing is shown on this website. A staff structure chart is available on request from the office.


Class 2 – What We Spend and How We Spend It

Annual Return and Audit Reports:
These are available in hard copy on request from the office.

Financial Statements, Budgets and Details of Precept:
These are available in hard copy on request from the office.

Financial Standing Orders and Regulations:
These are available in hard copy on request from the office.

Grants Given and Received:
These are available in hard copy on request from the office. Details of grants made to voluntary and community group via the Council's Community Grant Scheme will also be detailed on the website.

Current Contracts Awarded and Value of Contract:
These are available in hard copy on request from the office. Details of contracts over £5000 in value will also appear on the website.

Members’ Allowances and Expenses
Members of Skipton Town Council do not receive any allowances, other than for the position of Town Mayor. These are available in hard copy on request from the office.

Class 3 – What Our Priorities Are and How We Are Doing

Report to Annual Town Meeting:
This is available in hard copy on request from the office.

Audit Reports
These are available in hard copy on request from the office.

Class 4 – How We Make Decisions
Details of all Council meetings for the current civic year, together with agendas and minutes are available from this website. Minutes and agendas of meetings from previous years are available on request from the office. Copies of any reports prepared by officers are available on request from the office, although it should be noted that copies of confidential reports cannot be supplied.

Class 5 – Our Policies and Procedures

Procedural Standing Orders:
These are available in hard copy on request from the office.

Members Code of Conduct:
These are available in hard copy on request from the office.

Policy Statements:
These are available in hard copy on request from the office, as appropriate.

Complaints Procedures
Details of the Council's Complaints Procedure are available from this website or on request from the office.

Class 6 – Lists and Registers

Copies of any lists or registers held by the Council may be viewed on request at the Council's offices at Skipton Town Hall. These include:

Register of the Council's Assets, Land and Property
Register of Members’ Interests
Register of Gifts and Hospitality (if any)

We may not be able to allow you access to some lists held by the Council - for example a list of Allotment Tenants. These lists hold personal data and come within Data Protection Act restrictions.

If you wish to inspect any information at the Council's offices, please contact us first to make an appointment. We can then ensure that the information you require is available.

Class 7 – The Services We Offer

Full details of all the Council's services can be found on this website in the 'Council Services' section. If you need any additional information about any service, please contact the office.

COSTS
If you require copies of any information, the Council may charge for the cost of copying. A charge of 10p is made for page copied in black and white. A charge of 25p is made for each full colour copy.


Freedom of Information Requests

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires that the Council supplies to any individual the details of any information it holds on any given matter - subject to some exemptions where the information is confidential or contains data we cannot supply under the terms of Data Protection legislation.

Before you submit any formal request under the Freedom of Information Act, you should ensure that the information cannot be obtained in a less formal manner - for instance via this website or through a simple telephone call or email to the office.

If you believe you cannot find the information you require, you should make a formal Freedom of Information request to the Council.

How to Make a Freedom of Information Request
Requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 should be sent either in writing or by email. They should be addressed to the Council's Chief Officer and MUST be clearly marked as a Freedom of Information request.

Your request should include your full name, a contact address and email address (if you have one) and, preferably, a contact telephone number.

You should include as much information as possible about your request, and you should be as specific as possible about the information you require.

What Happens Next?
When the Council receives a request, it will acknowledge receipt - generally by email and will let you know if it holds the information you are requesting. The Council has 20 working days in which to respond to your request but, wherever possible, we will aim to respond more quickly. If your request is complicated and we need more time, the Council will contact you to let you know.

Can the Council Refuse My Request?
Under certain circumstances, the Council can refuse to supply information. Generally, this will be where the Council does not hold the information requested or where the information is subject to Data Protection legislation or has been validly dealt with in a confidential session of the Council.

The Council may also refuse to supply the information if it is readily available elsewhere (i.e on this website), if it is a repeat request for the same information as has been previously supplied, or if the Council believes that the request is vexatious.

Is There a Charge for the Information?
Generally, the Council will not make a charge for supplying information. However, it can do so if the amount of time needed to compile the information is likely to cause the Council considerable expense, usually anything in excess of £500. In such circumstances, a charge of £25 per hour may be levied. The Council will contact you to discuss the matter before any such work is undertaken. It may be that your request could be refined to reduce the cost.

If you require any copies of information, a charge will be made of 10p per sheet for any black and white copies and 25p per sheet for any full colour copies. The costs of any postage will be charged at the prevailing rate. The Council reserves the right to ask for any charges levied in advance before any copies or information is supplied.


Complaints Procedure

As with any organisation, from time to time, the Council may get things wrong, or you may feel that the Council hasn't acted in the correct manner.

The vast majority of problems or complaints can be resolved quickly and informally - and Skipton Town Council would always prefer to deal with any matter in this manner, rather than take a more formal route. You should contact the office with details of any issue and they will refer your problem to the most appropriate staff member.

If it proves not to be possible to resolve an issue informally, Skipton Town Council does have a formal Complaints Procedure.

Generally, any formal complaint should be addressed, in the first instance, to the Chief Officer of the Council. The Chief Officer will acknowledge your complaint and give an indication as to how long it will take to investigate the matter and respond to you. If you are not satisfied with any subsequent response, you may request that your complaint be escalated up to the Council's 'Complaints Panel' of Councillors or, ultimately, to the Full Council. Details of the procedures for various types of complaint are set out in the 'Complaints Procedure' document which can be viewed below. Copies are also available from the Council's offices.

Please note that the Local Government Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over Town or Parish Councils.

Download a copy of the Council's Complaints Procedure:

Complaints Procedure 2016/17