Fire – Core regulatory instruments
Section five of the Corporate Governance Framework sets out the financial regulations.
This is the introduction to financial regulations section of the framework:
5 – Financial Regulations
5.1.1 These Financial Regulations form part of the governing documents approved by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (Fire and Rescue Authority) for North Yorkshire. These regulations will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure they remain timely and relevant. Subsequent changes will be submitted to the Executive Board for approval.
5.1.2 These regulations apply to all staff in the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (Fire and Rescue Authority) for North Yorkshire including the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. The s.4A Fire and Rescue Authority was created following the Statutory Instrument 2018 No. 970 and came into force on 15 November 2018. The s.4A FRA is a fire and rescue authority under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 and has a statutory duty and electoral mandate to ensure an efficient and effective fire and rescue service. The s.4A FRA is referred to as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (“PFCC” or “the Commissioner”) for North Yorkshire as set out in the Scheme of Corporate Governance.
5.1.3 Appendix B provides definitions for terms used within these regulations.
5.1.4 The Treasurer of the Commissioner has a personal fiduciary duty by virtue of their appointment as the person responsible for proper financial administration under the Fire and Services Act 2004. This includes requirements and formal powers to safeguard lawfulness and propriety in expenditure (section 114 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, as amended by regulation 6 and the schedule to SI 2018/226).
The Treasurer has a fiduciary duty to the local taxpayer as they have a responsibility for securing the efficient use of public funds (which will include revenue derived from the fire precept).
The statutory responsibilities of the Treasurer of the Commissioner are set out in Part 8 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988. The qualifications set out in section 113 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 apply to the Treasurer. The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 impose further responsibilities. Taken together, and considered in the context of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, these mean that the S151 Officer of the Commissioner is responsible for:
- ensuring that the financial affairs of the Commissioner are properly administered and that the financial regulations are observed and kept up to date
- ensuring regularity, propriety, feasibility and value for money in the use of public funds
- ensuring that funding required to finance agreed programmes is available from central Government funding, business rates, precept, other contributions and recharges
- reporting to the Commissioner, the Police, Fire and Crime Panel and to the external auditor any unlawful, or potentially unlawful, expenditure by the Commissioner or officers of the Commissioner
- reporting to the Commissioner, the Police, Fire and Crime Panel and to the external auditor when it appears that expenditure is likely to exceed the resources available to meet that expenditure
- advising the Commissioner on the robustness of the budget and adequacy of financial reserves
- ensuring production of the statements of accounts of the Commissioner and confirming that they present a true and fair view of the financial position of the Commissioner at the end of the financial year to which it relates and of the Commissioner’s income and expenditure for that financial year
- liaising with the external auditor
- advising the Commissioner on the application of value for money principles by the fire and rescue service to support the Commissioner in delivering efficient and effective financial management
- advising, in consultation with the statutory officers, on the safeguarding of assets, including risk management and insurance
The Treasurer of the Commissioner has certain statutory duties which cannot be delegated, namely, reporting any potentially unlawful decisions by the Commissioner on expenditure and preparing each year, in accordance with proper practices in relation to accounts, a statement of the Commissioner’s accounts.
The Treasurer is the Commissioner’s professional adviser on financial matters. To enable them to fulfil these duties and to ensure the Commissioner is provided with adequate financial advice, the Treasurer:
- must be a key member of the Commissioner’s leadership team, working closely with the Chief Fire Officer, helping the team to develop and implement strategy and to resource and deliver the Commissioner’s strategic objectives sustainably and in the public interest
- must be actively involved in, and able to bring influence to bear on, all strategic business decisions of the Commissioner, to ensure that the financial aspects of immediate and longer tem implications, opportunities and risks are fully considered, and aligned with the Commissioner’s financial strategy
- must lead the promotion and delivery by the Commissioner of good financial management so that public money is safeguarded at all times and used appropriately, economically, efficiently and effectively
- must ensure that the finance function is resourced to be fit for purpose
- must be suitably experienced and ensure professional knowledge is kept current through continuing professional development