Finance

E - External arrangements

1

Partnerships

1.1

Partnerships are likely to play a key role in delivering community strategies and in helping to promote and improve the well being of the area. The County Council works in partnership with others – public agencies, private companies, community groups and voluntary organisations. The County Council will continue to provide direct services, but also has a leadership role to bring together the contributions of other partners.

1.2

The main reasons for entering into a partnership are:

a) the desire to find new ways to share risk

b) the ability to access new resources

c) to provide new and better ways of delivering services

d) to forge new relationships.

1.3

A partner is defined as either:

a) an organisation (private or public) undertaking, part-funding or participating as a beneficiary in a project, or

b) a body whose nature or status gives it a right or obligation to support the project.

1.4

Partners participate in projects by:

a) acting as a project deliverer or sponsor, solely or in concert with others

b) acting as a project funder or part-funder

c) being the beneficiary group of the activity undertaken in a project.

1.5

Partners have common responsibilities:

a) to be willing to take on a role in the broader programme appropriate to the skills and resources of the partner organisation

b) to act in good faith at all times and in the best interests of the partnership’s aims and objectives

c) to be open about any conflict of interests that might arise

d) to encourage joint working among themselves, and promote the sharing of information, resources and skills between public, private and community sectors

e) to hold confidentially any information received, as a result of partnership activities or duties, that is of a confidential or commercially sensitive nature

f) to act, wherever possible, as ambassadors for the project.

1.6

The Cabinet and Executive members are responsible for approving partnership arrangements with other local public, private, voluntary and community sector organisations to address local needs.

1.7

The Cabinet and Executive members can delegate functions – including those relating to partnerships – to officers. These are set out in the scheme of delegation that forms part of the County Council's Constitution. When functions are delegated, the Cabinet and Executive members remain accountable for them to the full Council.

1.8

The Chief Executive is responsible for ensuring due diligence and legality for all partnership arrangements.

1.9

The Head of Corporate and Legal Services is responsible for promoting and maintaining the same high standards of conduct with regard to partnerships that apply throughout the County Council.

Responsibilities of the County Treasurer

1.10

The County Treasurer must ensure that accounting arrangements adopted relating to partnerships and joint ventures are satisfactory and that the overall corporate governance arrangements are satisfactory when contracts are arranged with external bodies. The County Treasurer must ensure that the risks have been fully appraised before agreements are entered into with external bodies.

1.11

To advise on effective controls which will ensure that resources are not wasted.

1.12

To advise on the key elements of funding a partnership arrangement. They include:

a) a scheme appraisal for financial viability both in the current and future years

b) risk appraisal and management

c) resourcing, including taxation issues

d) audit, security and control requirements

e) carry forward arrangements.

1.13

To ensure that the accounting arrangements are satisfactory.

Responsibilities of chief officers

1.14

Chief officers are responsible for ensuring that appropriate approvals are obtained before any negotiations are concluded in relation to work with external bodies.

1.15

To maintain a register of all arrangements entered into with external bodies in accordance with procedures specified by the County Treasurer.

1.16

To ensure that before entering into agreements with external bodies, a risk management appraisal has been prepared for the County Treasurer.

1.17

To ensure that such agreements and arrangements do not adversely affect the County Council’s services.

1.18

To ensure that all agreements and arrangements are properly documented.

1.19

To provide appropriate information to the County Treasurer to enable a note to be entered into the County Council’s statement of accounts concerning material items.

1.20

Before entering into an agreement, to consult the Chief Executive on its legality.

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2

External funding

2.1

External funding is potentially a very important source of income, but funding conditions need to be carefully considered to ensure that they are compatible with the County Council’s aims and objectives. The County Council continues to work closely with other agencies and private service providers. Funds from external agencies such as the National Lottery provide additional resources to enable the County Council to deliver services to the local community. However, although the scope for some of this type of external funding has increased, it comes with tight specifications and may not be flexible enough to link to the County Council’s overall plan.

Responsibilities of the County Treasurer

2.2

To ensure that all funding notified by external bodies is received and properly recorded in the County Council’s accounts.

2.3

To ensure that the match-funding requirements are considered before agreements are entered into, and that the agreements and future revenue budgets reflect these requirements.

2.4

To ensure that audit requirements are met.

Responsibilities of chief officers

2.5

To ensure that all claims for funds are made by the due date.

2.6

To ensure that the project progresses in accordance with the agreed project and all expenditure is properly incurred and recorded.

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3

Work for third parties

3.1

Current legislation enables the County Council to provide a range of services to other bodies. Such work may contribute to fixed overhead costs, maintain economies of scale and existing expertise. Arrangements should be in place to ensure that any risks associated with this work are minimised and that legal powers exist to carry it out.

Responsibilities of the Chief Executive

3.2

To issue guidance on the financial aspects of third-party contracts and the maintenance of the contract register.

Responsibilities of chief officers

3.3

To ensure that proposals are costed properly in accordance with guidance provided by the County Treasurer.

3.4

To ensure that contracts are drawn up using guidance provided by the County Treasurer and that the formal approvals process is adhered to.

3.5

To ensure that the approval of the County Treasurer and the Head of Corporate and Legal Services is obtained before any negotiations are concluded to work for third parties.

3.6

To maintain a register of all contracts entered into with third parties in accordance with procedures specified by the County Treasurer.

3.7

To ensure that appropriate insurance arrangements are made.

3.8

To ensure that the County Council is not put at risk from any bad debts.

3.9

To ensure that no contract is subsidised by the County Council.

3.10

To ensure that, wherever possible, payment is received in advance of the delivery of the service.

3.11

To ensure that the department/unit has the appropriate expertise to undertake the contract.

3.12

To ensure that such contracts do not adversely affect the County Council’s services.

3.13

To ensure that all contracts are properly documented.

3.14

To provide appropriate information to the County Treasurer to enable a note to be entered into the statement of accounts.

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