The seven councils audited by the Inspectorate varied in whether they provide expense data to their councillors for review or not. To improve transparency and follow best practice in the assessing and processing of expenses claims, councils should regularly provide their councillors with expenses information for review. This allows any anomalies to be identified and encourages councillors to be more cognisant of their expenses.
The Act now requires councils to provide details of all councillor expenses reimbursements made under section 40 to the Audit and Risk Committee.27 In its draft Council Expenses Policy, LGV suggested that a quarterly report be provided to council and council’s Audit and Risk Committee, which includes:
- expenses incurred by councillors during the quarter;
- reimbursement claims made by councillors during the quarter; and
- reimbursements made by councillors during the quarter.28
If councils do this on a quarterly basis, it would provide a simpler mechanism for independent review and monitoring of expenses.
- LGV should provide guidance to councils on the definitions of the five expenses categories in the 2014 Regulations and how to report on expenses that do not fall within these categories.
- Councils should provide councillors with their expenses data for review on a quarterly basis.
- Councils should report councillor expenses and reimbursement claims to council and council’s Audit & Risk Committee on a quarterly basis.
- Councils should publish councillor expenses data on their websites on a quarterly basis, at a minimum.
27. Section 40(2) of the Local Government Act 2020
28. LGV engagement with the sector on council expenses policy