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LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT, 2001
Financial Procedures and Audit
Local financial year.
96. —In this Chapter “local financial year” means a calendar year or such other period as the Minister may by regulations prescribe.
The local fund.
97. —(1) Every local authority shall maintain a fund to be known as the local fund which consists of such accounts kept under section 107 as may be necessary.
(2) (a) A fund maintained immediately before the commencement of this provision by a county council, borough corporation, urban district council or commissioners of a town under section 7 or 15(1) of the Local Government Act, 1946 , or otherwise and a municipal fund maintained by a county borough corporation under any enactment relating to that corporation shall, notwithstanding the repeal of those sections or that enactment by this Act, continue to be maintained by those local authorities and each such fund shall be known as the local fund.
(b) A reference in any enactment to a county fund, municipal fund or any other fund, which was maintained immediately before the commencement of this provision, shall be read as a reference to a local fund.
(3) There shall be paid into the local fund all money received by or on behalf of a local authority, other than money received for the purposes of a community fund established under section 109 .
(4) Subject to section 99 , there shall be paid out of the local fund the expenses incurred by a local authority in the performance of its functions, other than expenses payable out of a community fund established under section 109 .
(5) A payment shall not be made out of the local fund unless it is authorised in accordance with section 99 or ordered by a court established under the Courts (Establishment and Constitution) Act, 1961 .
98. —Subject to section 106 , a local authority or joint body may enter into such arrangements, including investment arrangements, with such credit institutions authorised to carry on banking business in the State or financial institutions guaranteed by the Minister for Finance, as it deems appropriate, for the prudent management of moneys received by it.
Authorisation of payments.
99. —(1) In this section “local authority” includes a joint body.
(2) Payments may be made out of the funds of a local authority on the authorisation of the manager or an employee nominated under subsection (3) and, in each such case, the payments shall be counter-authorised by an employee, other than the manager or first-mentioned employee, nominated under subsection (3).
(3) The manager may for the purposes of subsection (2) by order nominate an employee or employees of a local authority for which the manager is responsible.
County council expenditure: town services.
100. —(1) Where a county council provides a service or carries out a function in or in relation to a town with a town council which is a rating authority within the administrative area of the county council, it shall levy a charge (in this section referred to as a “county charge”) on that town council for providing such service or carrying out such function (in this section referred to as the “provision of town services”).
(2) In determining a county charge, the county council shall prepare a statement of estimated costs expected to arise during the period ending on 31 December of the forthcoming local financial year in relation to the provision of town services.
(3) The statement of estimated costs shall allow for any income accruing to the county council in respect of the provision of town services and may include an adjustment to take account of—
(a) actual or estimated costs, and
(b) actual or estimated incomes,
as respects the provision of town services in the current local financial year or in the previous local financial year.
(4) A county council shall transmit an invoice for any county charge, accompanied by a statement of estimated costs to the relevant town council.
(5) A town council shall pay the county charge to the relevant county council within the period as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Minister or at such other time as may be agreed by the local authorities concerned.
(6) In determining costs under this section, a county council shall have regard to any guidelines or shall comply with any directions which the Minister may from time to time issue.
Expenses of certain town councils.
101. —(1) A town council which is not a rating authority shall be supplied with money required to meet its expenses by the county council in whose county the town is situated, on the basis of a demand prepared by the town council in a format prescribed by regulations made by the Minister.
(2) Expenses of the county council which are incurred in meeting a demand under subsection (1) are chargeable on the area of the town concerned and shall be known as town charges.
(3) Nothing in this section prevents a town council referred to in subsection (1) from raising money in accordance with section 109 , 110 or otherwise.
Local authority budget.
102. —(1) In this section “local authority” includes a joint body.
(2) In each local financial year, each local authority shall prepare a draft local authority budget setting out for the next local financial year—
(a) the expenditure estimated to be necessary to carry out its functions, and
(b) the income estimated to accrue to it.
(3) The draft local authority budget shall be prepared under the direction of the manager in the format prescribed by regulations made by the Minister showing the amounts necessary for the functional programmes of the authority.
(4) The manager shall, as provided for in section 133 (4)(a), consult the corporate policy group in the preparation of a draft local authority budget.
(5) Any reference in any enactment to an estimate or estimate of expenses of a local authority shall be read as a reference to a local authority budget prepared under this section and adopted under section 103 (7).
Local authority budget meeting.
103. —(1) In this section “local authority” includes a joint body.
(2) A draft local authority budget prepared in accordance with section 102 shall be considered by the local authority at a meeting (in this Act referred to as a “local authority budget meeting” or budget meeting)—
(a) at which the manager or an employee to whom subsection (3) relates is present,
(b) which is held during the period prescribed by regulations made by the Minister, and
(c) of which not less than 7 days' notice has been given to every member of the local authority.
(3) Where the manager is unable to be present at a local authority budget meeting or, where it would be inconsistent with the due performance of his or her functions in relation to the local authorities for which he or she is manager, to be present at such a meeting, such other employee as may stand nominated for that purpose by the manager shall attend the meeting instead.
(4) Not less than 7 days before the day on which a local authority budget meeting is to be held, the manager shall—
(a) place a copy of the draft local authority budget in the principal offices of the local authority,
(b) send a copy of the draft local authority budget, together with a report outlining the provisions of that draft, to every member of the local authority, and
(c) give public notice of the fact that the draft local authority budget has been prepared and that a copy of it has been placed in the principal offices of the local authority and indicate the place, date and time of the local authority budget meeting.
(5) A copy of a draft local authority budget—
(a) shall be made available at the principal offices of the local authority,
(b) may be inspected by any member of the public during normal opening hours, and
(c) copies may be purchased at a price not exceeding the reasonable cost of reproduction.
(6) The members of a local authority may adjourn a local authority budget meeting from time to time but any such adjournment shall be to a day that is within the period of 21 days beginning on the day on which the local authority budget meeting first begins.
(7) At a local authority budget meeting the local authority—
(a) may by resolution amend the draft local authority budget,
(b) shall by resolution adopt the draft local authority budget with or without amendment, and—
(i) where it is a local authority which is a rating authority, shall, subject to section 10 of the Local Government (Financial Provisions) Act, 1978 , by resolution determine in accordance with the local authority budget as so adopted, the annual rate on valuation to be levied, or
(ii) where it is a town council which is not a rating authority or where it is a joint body, shall prepare and by resolution adopt, in accordance with the local authority budget as so adopted, the demand by a town council under section 101 or a demand by a joint body whereby the money to meet the expenses of the town council or joint body, in the forthcoming local financial year is to be obtained.
(8) A copy of a local authority budget as adopted under subsection (7)—
(a) shall be made available at the principal offices of the local authority,
(b) may be inspected by any member of the public during normal opening hours, and
(c) may be purchased at a price not exceeding the reasonable cost of reproduction.
(9) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section and section 102 , a local authority budget may be adopted and the annual rate on valuation determined in the local financial year to which that budget or that rate applies where this is in accordance with the period prescribed by regulations made by the Minister for holding the local authority budget meeting.
(10) Where a local authority budget has not been adopted in accordance with this Chapter by a local authority before the beginning of a particular local financial year, it is lawful for the local authority to use money or to incur liability in that local financial year for any particular purpose or functional programme in respect of which money was used or liability was incurred by the local authority in the immediately preceding local financial year.
(11) (a) The amount used or the liability incurred as a consequence of subsection (10) by the local authority shall not exceed one-third of the amount previously used, or of the cost of meeting the liability previously incurred by the local authority in the immediately preceding local financial year.
(b) The Minister may by order vary the fraction referred to in paragraph (a).
(12) (a) Any reference in any enactment to an estimates meeting of a local authority shall be read as a reference to a local authority budget meeting as provided for in this section.
(b) Any reference in any enactment to a rate in the pound or rates in the pound shall be read as a reference to an annual rate on valuation.
Limitation on additional expenditure.
104. —(1) In this section—
“additional expenditure” means the spending of money or the incurring of a liability not provided for in a local authority budget;
“local authority” includes a joint body.
(2) At any time after it has adopted a budget a local authority may, following a proposal under subsection (3) or otherwise, by resolution authorise the incurring of additional expenditure.
(3) Where, as respects any local financial year, the manager is of the opinion that the proper performance of the functions of the local authority concerned requires the incurring of additional expenditure, he or she shall submit to the local authority a proposal for authorisation to the incurring of such additional expenditure.
(4) (a) A local authority may by resolution adopt a scheme authorising the manager to incur additional expenditure without prior authorisation of the local authority under subsection (2); but no such expenditure shall cause the total expenditure provided for in the budget to be exceeded save in such circumstances and subject to such requirements as may be provided for in regulations under subsection (5).
(b) A local authority may, from time to time, by resolution amend a scheme under this subsection or make a new scheme.
(5) The Minister may make regulations for the purposes of subsection (4).
(6) Nothing in this section shall prevent a manager from incurring additional expenditure—
(a) where he or she is of the opinion that such additional expenditure is necessary to avert or minimise a threat to public health, public safety, property or the environment, or
(b) in respect of a particular service or function where additional funding which would substantially offset such additional expenditure is made available to the local authority by the Minister or any other public authority for that service or function.
(7) Where the manager has incurred additional expenditure under subsection (6), or to which a scheme under subsection (4) applies, he or she shall inform—
(a) without delay, the Cathaoirleach of the fact, and
(b) the members of the local authority of the fact at the next practicable meeting of the local authority following the incurring of additional expenditure,
giving details of the additional expenditure and its implications for the local authority budget.
Submission of financial statements and reports.
105. —(1) A local authority or a joint body, may by resolution require the preparation and submission to its members of statements of the financial position of the local authority or joint body, as the case may be.
(2) In the case of a county council or city council, its corporate policy group may, where a resolution has not been passed under subsection (1), require the preparation and submission to it of statements of the financial position of the county council or city council.
(3) A statement of financial position submitted as a consequence of either subsection (1) or (2) shall contain such detail and shall be prepared and submitted at such intervals as may be specified in—
(a) the resolution of the local authority or joint body, as appropriate, or
(b) the requirement of the corporate policy group.
Borrowing and lending of money.
106. —(1) (a) In this section—
“local authority” includes a joint body;
“appropriate Minister” means—
(i) if the relevant borrowing or lending is in respect of matters which relate to the responsibility or interest of only one Minister of the Government other than the Minister, that Minister of the Government,
(ii) if such matters relate to the responsibility or interest of 2 or more Ministers of the Government (none of whom is the Minister), such one of those Ministers of the Government as has the greater or greatest interest in the matters, and
(iii) in all other cases, the Minister.
(b) If in relation to paragraph (ii) of the definition of “appropriate Minister” there is any doubt as to which of 2 or more Ministers of the Government has the greater or greatest interest, the doubt shall be determined by the Minister and the decision of the Minister shall be final.
(2) Subject to subsections (3) and (8) and any regulations made under subsection (5), a local authority may borrow money in any manner which it considers suitable for the effective performance of its functions.
(3) (a) Borrowing by a local authority under this section shall only be with the sanction of the appropriate Minister.
(b) Paragraph (a) does not apply to borrowing which the appropriate Minister may exempt for the purposes of this subsection.
(4) Any application for the sanction of the appropriate Minister under subsection (3)(a) shall be in such format as may from time to time be specified by the appropriate Minister.
(5) The Minister may, after consultation with the Minister for Finance, make regulations in relation to borrowing by local authorities.
(6) (a) A local authority may lend money to another local authority on such terms as to repayment and other matters as it considers proper.
(b) Where a sum which consists of either—
(i) a portion of a loan advanced under this section by a county council to a town council that is not a rating authority but is situated within its county, or
(ii) interest on any such loan,
(7) A decision to borrow or lend under this section is a reserved function.
(8) The appropriate Minister may, after consultation with the Minister for Finance, sanction borrowing by a local authority in a currency other than the currency of the State.
(9) Except in accordance with this section, a local authority shall not—
(a) borrow money, or
(b) lend money to another local authority.
Keeping of accounts.
107. —(1) Subject to subsection (2), every local authority or joint body shall each keep all proper and usual accounts of moneys received or spent by it, including an income and expenditure account and a balance sheet.
(2) Every local authority and joint body shall each establish and maintain financial systems, accounts, reporting and record keeping procedures, including the preparation of an annual financial statement, which are consistent with such accounting code of practice, or amendments to it, that the Minister may issue from time to time.
(3) Any accounting code of practice issued by the Minister which is current on the date of the commencement of this provision, shall be deemed to have issued in accordance with this section and be applicable to every local authority and, where appropriate, to every joint body.
Consideration of annual financial statement.
108. —(1) In this section, additional expenditure has the meaning given to it by section 104 (1).
(2) Every local authority or joint body shall prepare an annual financial statement in accordance with the accounting code of practice issued by the Minister under section 107 .
(3) As soon as practicable after the preparation of an annual financial statement, such statement, with a report on it by the manager, shall be sent to each member of the local authority or joint body, as the case may be.
(4) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (3), a report under that subsection shall include details of additional expenditure incurred in the period to which the annual financial statement relates and of authorisations given under section 104 .
(5) The annual financial statement shall be considered at the next practicable meeting of the local authority or joint body concerned which is held not less than 7 days after the annual financial statement was sent under subsection (3).
(6) As soon as may be practicable after having been sent under subsection (3), the annual financial statement shall be transmitted to the Minister and the Director of Audit.
109. —(1) In this section “community initiative” means any project or programme which in the opinion of the local authority will benefit the local community and includes the provision or improvement of amenity, recreational, cultural or heritage facilities, the protection or enhancement of the environment and programmes to promote social inclusion and community development.
(2) A local authority may by resolution establish a fund (in this section referred to as a “community fund”) for the purposes of supporting community initiatives and may accept contributions to such fund by any voluntary, business or community group, other local authority or public authority or other person and may itself make contributions to such fund.
(3) A community fund shall be separate from the local fund.
(4) (a) The accounts of a community fund shall be accounted for separately and be part of the records and the accounts of the local authority or local authorities which established the fund.
(b) The accounts of a community fund shall contain separate records for contributions in respect of particular community initiatives as the local authority which established it may consider appropriate.
(5) A local authority may enter into an agreement with any person making contributions to the fund as regards the application of money towards a particular community initiative.
(6) A local authority may undertake itself or assist any other person in such fund-raising activities as it considers appropriate for the purposes of a community initiative.
(7) A community fund may be established jointly by resolution of 2 or more local authorities subject to such arrangements as may be agreed by the authorities concerned.
(8) The functions conferred on a local authority by this section or by section 110 shall—
(a) be subject to the exclusion of such matters, and
(b) be exercisable subject to such terms and conditions,
as the Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, prescribe by regulations.
Community initiative scheme.
110. —(1) In this section—
“community fund” has the meaning given in section 109 (2);
“community initiative” has the meaning given in section 109 (1);
“dwelling” includes a part of any premises let as a separate dwelling whether or not the person to whom it is let shares with any other person any accommodation, amenity or facility in connection with it or any other portion of the premises;
“occupier” means a person or persons who occupy the dwelling in question;
“scheme” means a scheme adopted by a local authority under this section and “draft scheme” shall be read accordingly.
(2) Where a local authority considers it appropriate it may, in accordance with this section, by resolution adopt a scheme for the making of an annual contribution by the occupier of each dwelling in the area to which the scheme applies towards particular community initiatives specified in the scheme.
(3) Annual contributions received in accordance with a scheme shall be paid into the community fund.
(4) A community initiative to which a scheme applies may be undertaken by a local community or other group, the local authority, any other person or jointly by any of them.
(5) A scheme shall—
(a) describe the particular initiative or initiatives to which annual contributions under the scheme are to be applied,
(b) provide for a separate record to be kept in the community fund as regards such annual contributions,
(c) specify the amount of the annual contribution to be paid by the occupier and different amounts may be specified for different categories of person as may be specified in the scheme,
(d) provide for the waiver or the remission in whole or in part of the annual contribution in the case of personal hardship, ability to pay or other specified circumstances,
(e) specify the period of years for which the scheme is to operate,
(f) specify the period within which an annual contribution is to be paid,
(g) specify the area to which the scheme applies, and
(h) provide for all such other matters as the local authority may consider necessary to ensure the satisfactory operation of the scheme.
(6) (a) Before adopting a scheme, a local authority shall publish a notice in at least one newspaper circulating in its administrative area indicating that a draft scheme has been prepared.
(b) The notice shall—
(i) describe the community initiative or initiatives and the area in respect of which the scheme would operate,
(ii) state the amount of the proposed annual contribution,
(iii) indicate that a copy of the draft scheme may be inspected at the principal offices of the local authority or at such other locations as may be specified and may be obtained free of charge at such offices or locations, and
(iv) indicate that any person may make submissions or observations in writing to the local authority in relation to the draft scheme on or before a date specified in the notice, and the date shall not be less than one month after the notice is first so published.
(7) (a) A local authority may by resolution decide to hold a plebiscite regarding a draft scheme in that part of its area in respect of which it is proposed to make a scheme.
(b) The Minister may make regulations governing the conduct of plebiscites and matters relating to plebiscites.
(8) A local authority may by resolution, for which at least one-half of the total number of members of the authority vote in favour, adopt a scheme with or without amendment at any time after—
(a) the date specified for the purposes of subsection (6)(b)(iv),
(b) the consideration of any submissions or observations made to it under subsection (6)(b)(iv), and
(c) the consideration of the outcome of any plebiscite held under subsection (7).
(9) (a) Where a scheme has been adopted, the local authority shall in each year in which the scheme operates send to the occupier a notification to pay the annual contribution.
(b) The occupier shall pay to the local authority the annual contribution specified in the notification within the period specified.
(10) Where an annual contribution to be made by the occupier in accordance with a notification to pay has not been paid within the period specified for payment in the notification the local authority may recover such annual contribution from the occupier as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.
(11) A scheme may be made jointly by 2 or more local authorities in respect of an area specified in the scheme which includes part or all of the administrative area of each of the local authorities concerned but a scheme shall not be made in respect of any area which comprises an entire county or city.
(12) A notification to pay shall indicate—
(a) the amount of the annual contribution,
(b) the period within which it is to be paid, and
(c) the community initiative or initiative to which it relates.
(13) A notification to pay may be addressed to any occupier of the dwelling by name, but where the name of the occupier cannot be ascertained by reasonable inquiry, the notification may be addressed to “the occupier” without naming the occupier.
(14) Only one contribution is payable in respect of any dwelling in respect of a particular year.
Regulations (Chapter 1).
111. —(1) The Minister may make regulations for any or all of the following matters—
(a) the form of accounts to be kept by local authorities or joint bodies, including the functional programmes to be shown in such accounts and the matters in respect of which separate amounts are to be shown,
(b) the format of a local authority budget or a draft local authority budget,
(c) the periods for the holding of local authority budget meetings,
(d) the form and manner of any statement of estimated costs of a county council for town services, and the period for transmitting such statement to the town councils concerned,
(e) the form and manner of a demand under section 101 of a town council which is not a rating authority and the period for serving that demand to meet those expenses on the relevant county council,
(f) the serving of a demand by a joint body in respect of its expenses on the relevant county council or city council and the format and period of serving that demand,
(g) specifying the periods within which payments made to persons authorised to receive money on behalf of a local authority shall be paid to the authority,
(h) the financial and administrative procedures to apply in relation to gifts received by a local authority,
(i) such other matters as the Minister may consider appropriate in relation to financial management and procedures.
(2) Regulations under this section may make provision in respect of any matter by reference to an accounting code of practice issued under section 107 .
Obligations in case of proposal involving illegal payment, deficiency or loss.
112. —(1) Where a proposal is made at a meeting of a local authority or a joint body to do or effect any act, matter or thing—
(a) which constitutes a reserved function or is mentioned in a resolution under section 140 , and
(b) in consequence of which an illegal payment is to be made out of the funds of the local authority or joint body, or a deficiency or loss is likely to result in or to such funds,
the manager (or, in his or her absence, such other employee as may be nominated by the manager) shall object and state the grounds of his or her objection, and, if a decision is taken on the proposal, the names of the members present and voting for and against the decision and abstaining from voting on the decision shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
(2) Where, in accordance with subsection (1), the names of the persons voting for a decision to do or effect any act, matter or thing are recorded in the minutes of the meeting of a local authority or joint body, those persons shall be surcharged on any surcharge or charged on any charge that may subsequently be made as a result of the decision as if they had made or authorised the making of the payment or caused the loss or deficiency, and no other person is to be surcharged or charged.
113. —(1) Nothing in this Act (including the repeal of any enactment) affects the making, levying, collection or recovery of rates or the liability of a person to pay rates.
(2) Notwithstanding the repeal of the City and County Management (Amendment) Act, 1955 , by this Act, section 10A of that Act (as inserted by section 44 of the Local Government Act, 1994 ) shall continue to apply and have effect and for that purpose—
(a) the reference in subsection (1) of that section to “section 10(4) of this Act” and in subsection (3) of that section to “subsection (4) of section 10” shall both be read as references to section 103 (7) of this Act, and
(b) the references in subsections (7) and (8) to “Part IV of the Local Government Act, 1941 ” shall each be read as a reference to part 21 of this Act.