Dan Peters 12 November 2013

'Unreasonable' cheque burden to be lifted from parish councils

The requirement for every cheque payment made by a parish council to be signed by two members is finally expected to be lifted.

A legislative reform paper published by the Department of Communities and Local Government said the two signature rule represented an ‘unreasonable burden’ because it inhibited the use of electronic payments and involved an ‘unproductive’ use of members’ time.

Local government minister Brandon Lewis said: ‘Given that there are more than 9,000 parish councils in England and 50 of them spend more than £1m every year, it was ineffective to continue with the current system.

‘Removing this red-tape that is strangling parish councils will not only free up members’ time and let them do more useful council work but also save the councils money by getting discounts for using electronic payments.’

The Government’s reform paper said it was responding to ‘developments in technology’.

It added: ‘Removal of the two signature rule from legislation will make it clearer that it is the responsibility of the council to devise and operate a sound and comprehensive system of internal control.’

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