Unofficial funds are monies that do not belong to Somerset Council but for which employees of Somerset Council are accountable during the course of their employment.

All staff involved with the administration of an unofficial fund must comply with this policy.

The policy applies to all unofficial funds, but one-off charity collections, tea, lottery, and similar funds are excluded.

Minimum requirements

All unofficial funds must be clearly identified as such and the relevant Somerset Council finance manager informed of the existence of the fund and its purpose (see appendix A).

Neither the name of the fund nor the bank account should include Somerset Council.

A bank account should be opened for the fund and the bank mandate must include a requirement for two signatories to sign cheques – cheques must never be pre-signed. Unofficial fund bank accounts must not be allowed to overdraw.

All cash should be counted and reconciled in the presence of two people and all income must be receipted and banked promptly in full.

A complete set of accurate financial records must be kept either electronically or manually detailing all income received and all expenditure incurred.

Unofficial fund transactions should not be posted onto the Somerset Council ledgers (for example – SAP).

A monthly reconciliation must be undertaken using the sheet at appendix B.

Receipts and invoices that support the transactions must be retained for six years plus the current year.

Large balances should be kept in an interest-bearing account.

Somerset Council issued procurement cards must not be used for unofficial fund expenditure.

Annual independent examination

All unofficial funds should be audited at least once a year by an independent person, for example, someone not involved in the running of the funds or related to someone involved.

The fund manager is responsible for ensuring that the person undertaking the independent examination is suitably qualified.

Prior to the audit the checklist at appendix C should be completed by the fund administrator.

An audit certificate must be retained on file (see appendix D).

Any costs attributable to the independent examination should be charged to the unofficial fund.

Money laundering

In exceptional circumstances, unofficial funds could be used by a member of the public to launder money, for example by giving a donation and then asking for a refund.

If there is any suspicion that such a criminal act has been attempted it is the fund manager’s responsibility to contact Somerset Council’s Money Laundering Reporting Officer.

Last reviewed: November 2, 2023 by Sophie

Next review due: May 2, 2024

Back to top