The Financial Regulations of the Council cover how contracts are awarded and what paperwork and procedures need to be in place to comply with the Regulations. At least two written quotations must be obtained for planned expenditure in excess of £1,000, and specific arrangements cover large contracts in excess of £10,000. These regulations are reviewed regularly by the Finance Committee and any proposed changes are brought to the full Council for approval.
The Council’s budget for the period which runs from 1 April for 12 months is discussed and agreed in the previous Autumn. Councillors are mindful of the need for economy and efficiency in implementing plans and priorities. Sometimes this means taking difficult decisions (for example, restricting opening hours of the Guildhall over the Christmas period in response to low demand in previous years) and limiting the financial support and help it is able to give to other organisations or Town initiatives.
Where appropriate, increasing amounts of work are undertaken by email, and all Councillors bear the use of home computing, stationery, email and telephone costs themselves. This helps keep the costs of running Council business down. The exception is the Mayor, who in common with other Town Mayors, receives a personal allowance, of £1,850, as a contribution to expenses. These expenses may include simple hospitality for visitors, official travel, and the costs of attending civic events. The present Mayor expects such expenses to exceed this figure, but the sum available, as a contribution from the Council’s funds will remain the same.