What did Bleadon Parish Council Spend Half a Million On

Posted on 11th July, 2022


Bleadon Parish Council (BPC) has demanded nearly £500K taxes from Bleadon residents, yes half a million pounds, in the last 11 years since 2011, what have they spent it on?


Bleadon Parish Council (BPC) has demanded nearly £500K taxes from Bleadon residents, yes half a million pounds, in the last 11 years since 2011. This doesn't include include any additional income or windfall payments, what have they spent it on


For a period of 30 days only, Councillors are inviting residents to view the councils' accounts, you can ask BPC to view last years accounts before Friday 22 July 22. (BPC Notice and previous Rights)


NB: The notice to view the annual accounts still has not been posted on the village noticeboards four weeks into the six week process. This process is also known and minuted as AGAR (Annual Governance & Accountability Return). The additional Public Rights information has been removed compared to the three page AGAR Notice 2019.


Despite BPC's public statements to the contrary, BPC is the Custodial Trustee of the Halls, park and the land under the Youth Club. These are managed, and financially accountable, as three different charities:

  • BPC are Custodial Trustees of The Coronation and Jubilee Halls, which are managed by the independent Halls Management Committee (Charity No: 1042602), who signed a protocol agreement with BPC in 2010 to hold quarterly public meetings. Where are these meetings announced, and where are the minutes published on the BPC website?
  • The Park is managed by BPC as a Playground Charity (Charity No: 304491), who appear to have spent nothing on the park in the last 5 years, yet the finances to date via the minutes indicate there has been money spent on monthly play area inspections, e.g. June expenditure #204
  • The Youth Club is managed and financed independently by the Bleadon Youth Club (Charity No: 304492

This year BPC has demanded from residents an increased £54K precept, and has given itself a budget of £64K (Jan Min 349.3), yet in 2011 BPC had financial reserves of £84K (Annual Report 2012 pg6), so what are the reserves now, as they're not published in the monthly minutes, despite previous requests and verbal agreements? Recent Minutes state, 

  • "General Reserves were seriously depleted. Steps should be taken to reduce some of the unused Ear Marked Reserves." (May 2022 Min 353.13.1)
    • UPDATE: "To Resolve to note the current level of Reserves - The Clerk advised the members of the current perilous level - not considering the ERMs [Ear Marked Reserves] of the General Reserve showing a deficit figure of £450.00. When asked what immediate positive steps need to be taken. The response was to formally resolve what ERMs are not required and as a result transfer them back to the General Reserve." (Jun 2022 Agenda Min 354.7.3
    • UPDATE: "To resolve to move the following EMRs into General Reserves" (July 2022 Agenda Min 355.7.1) NB no EMRs were stated? How is this transparent?

Why is some expenditure and authorisation seemingly missing from the agenda. For example,

  • items 24-27 are missing from the agenda, who authorised them? Compare May Agenda Min 353.14 to May Minutes Min 353.14 Items 16-27, who authorised (May 22 Min 353.14)
  • Items 35-47, who authorised? (Jun 22 Agenda Min 354.8)

BOB has been asking BPC to be more open and transparent for many many years in its finances especially the reserves, asking it to reinstate its Finance Committee, which was abandoned after 2019. Also, to reinstate the publication of its finances in its newsletter, and fter 8 years it seems it may be about to do it! BPC is yet to publish the April 22 resident APM minutes, usually published a year later, but in its May minutes BPC wrote:

"It was noted that due to one report being unavailable it had not been possible to produce the Minutes for confirmation. Resolved that in future the Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting (Annual Report) would be produced as a booklet and to be included in the Bleadon Village News." (May Min 353.15.12)

  • NB1 - These should be noted as DRAFT minutes, as Residents should confirm the April APM minutes, not BPC. Approval is made/or not by residents at the next resident APM meeting, scheduled for Apr 2023. Although, as BPC reference them in their May meeting, BOB/residents believe that residents should have access to the minutes as soon as possible.
  • NB2 - APM minutes are not the same as BPC's Annual Report. The minutes are supposed to be the issues, questions, discussions raised by residents at the meeting. The Annual Report is what the council chooses to say at the meeting, and includes what it has been doing over the previous year, which usually dominates the residents' APM meeting time, but it should at least include a financial report.
  • NB3 - Is the proposed booklet an additional cost, or is it included in the budget allocated for its newsletter this year, published by its independent Village News Editor?
    • Budget: Editor for 4 Editions £1,600 + Printing last year £4,600 = £6,200
    • The newsletter budget for this year 2022-23 has to be guessed, as BPC seems to have reduced the quarterly financial information available to heading totals only compared to Q3-2021/22?
    • UPDATE 11JUL22: If the 'independent' newsletter costed £6,200, it's interesting to note that BPC appears to be transferring £7,697 from the Special Reserve (purpose unknown) to the General Reserve to cover the £7,697 budget deficit created in January this year (Min 349.3). NB: This can't be confirmed until BPC publish their July minutes, which might not be until September, as they don't usually meet in August, and don't usually release their minutes until the week before the next meeting !!

If BOB gets any clear answers, we'll let you know.



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