Saturday, April 08, 2017

Oakham Mayor Councillor Adam Lowe's Allowance Expenses Charity Account

Last year I questioned why our Mayor had been paid a lump sum tax free by Oakham Town Coincil
The response because we can.

At the time I did not have a copy of the councils financial regulations, After many requests
I was sent a copy which was revised in 2016 before the payment was made.

The Regulation in my opinion confuses allowance with expenses. What is very obvious is the
Mayor should not have been paid the money in full up front.



Our current financial regulation:

17.   CHAIRMAN’S ALLOWANCE 


17.1. An allowance may be paid to the Chairman under Section 15(5) of the Local Government Act 1972 to meet the expenses of the office. 

17.2. The Chairman shall claim for any expenditure incurred on a monthly basis to the RFO. Reimbursement of expenses incurred will then be paid. 

17.3. Where appropriate, copies of receipts should be included with any claim. However, it is accepted that this may not always be possible and in particular when donations are made at Church Services. 

17.4. Any unused amount remaining in the Chairman’s Fund at the end of a civic year will be incorporated into the Council’s general reserves. Should a Chairman be elected for a second consecutive term there will be no carry over of funds. 

17.5. Although it is not the intention that the Chairman should ever be “out of pocket”, payments in advance to cover anticipated expenditure will only be made in exceptional circumstances in agreement with the RFO 

17.6. Mileage incurred in the performance of duties may be claimed by the Chairman at the rate of 45p per mile. 

17.7. The Chairman is encouraged to reclaim all out of pocket expenses for the duration of his or her term in office.


I wrote to the council asking why they had paid the Mayor a lump sum tax free and why they
had ignored my observation that the council should not have made the payment.


Cllr Adam Lowe has since responded to me and he is providing the council with receipts for all
the money spent.

In his email seen below he mentions the Mayors Charity Account. This account held by the 
town council and is not subject to any audit and no activity from this account is ever reported to the 
council. The  Oakham Town Council Mayors Charity account is not even registered with the
charity commission. I had not raised any issue about this account, so I was surprised Cllr Lowe
mentions it and states he is unable to provide receipts for the expenditure from the account.

At our next meeting we are being asked to make some changes to this financial regulation
mainly that the allowance is paid and not taxed at source. referring to the sum involved
whoever is asking for the changes thinks that Council spending is approved at the stage of
our budget setting, which is not the case as the Mayor told us at the recent setting of the 2017 - 2018
budget.

If I was contributing to any charity account I would want to know it was being run correctly
it is not difficult to obtain receipts and I question why our Mayor has not safeguarded himself
and the charity account by not obtaining receipts?



Sent: Friday, April 07, 2017 at 4:05 PM
From: "Adam Lowe"
To: "Martin Brookes" , "lucashackgreenaol.com"
Cc: "Allison Greaves" , MJHaley , "Stan Stubbs" , "Peter Ind" , "Sally-Anne Wadsworth" , "Richard Haynes" , "davidromney16@gmail.com" , "andrewbennett@talk21.com"
Subject: Re: Chairman's Allownce
Martin

Any expenditure incurred by the Chairman in regard to the allowance and the role I have fulfilled has been receipted and full disclosure of all other expenditure I have incurred is also being handed to the Clerk before the end of April.

This will include a spreadsheet regarding the nominated charity I supported this year, there will be no receipts with that though as that was a self funded charity this year and the Council did not support it in any financial capacity, I did have some support from some Cllrs on occasion and for that I am very appreciative.

The spreadsheets and receipts will be accessible via the Office through normal channels for anyone who wants to examine them, 100% transparency.

Any delay the Office have encountered is down to me waiting for receipts from one of the payees, I paid the money in March 2016 and only received receipts in March 2017.


Regards 

Adam Lowe


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