The Council Budget

The preparation of an annual budget is one of the key statutory tasks undertaken by the council, irrespective of its size.

The budget:

• results in the council setting the precept for the year;

• gives the clerk and other officers overall authority to make spending commitments in line with decisions of the council;

• enables progress monitoring during the year by comparing actual spending against planned spending.

The Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) will prepare a draft budget for councillors to consider, discuss and amend and then the detailed final budget will be brought to a full council meeting for approval, usually in January

The key stages in the budgeting process

• review of current year budget and spending;

• determine the cost of spending plans;

• assess levels of anticipated income;

• provide for contingencies and the need for reserves;

• approve the budget;

• set the precept

The Precept

The precept is the local council tax requirement required from local electors to meet the council’s budget. Every local council has the power to levy a precept each financial year as a “local precepting authority”. The local council precept is a component of the total council tax levied on local government electors in the local council area. Local councils do not receive any direct funding from central government therefore are reliant on the local precept and any other income they generate from the services or facilities that they provide.


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