Annual Governance Statement an annual report prepared, approved and published with the financial statements that reviews the council’s overall governance arrangements.

Best Value the legal duty introduced in the Local Government Act 1999 that requires councils to make arrangements to continuously improve the way in which its functions are exercised and to have regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

Billing authority a local council that directly bills council tax and business rates in its local area. Budget gap where the estimates expenditure is higher than the estimated income in a budget or other financial plan, there is said to be a ‘budget gap’.

Biofuels – Fuels produced from organic matter that can be replanted or replenished, for example sugar beet, and gases from sewerage and water treatment.

Budget outturn the actual income or expenditure compared to the budgeted sum at the end of the financial year. This is usually reported to councillors soon after the close of the financial year in the ‘outturn report’.

Business rateable value the annual assumed rental value of a business property.

Business rate multiplier the annual amount established by central government used in the calculation of the business rates bill. This amount is multiplied by the businesses rateable value to derive the size of the business rates bill for the year.

Business rates pools an agreement between neighbouring councils to add together combine their business rates activities in a pool. This is designed to maximise the ability for councils to retain business rates locally.

Capital receipts the proceeds of sale from the disposal of assets such as land and buildings.

Carbon Footprint The amount of carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere because of the electricity and fuel you use.

Council tax base the total amount of council tax due to the council. This is calculated by multiplying the number of domestic properties in each of the 8 council tax bands and then adding the resultant figures together. The tax base can increased by building new homes as well as by increasing the council tax demand itself.

CO2 emissions Carbon dioxide (CO2) gas that is given off when we burn oil, gas or coal to make energy.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme – As part of Welfare Reform, from 1st April 2013, the Government abolished Council Tax Benefit and replaced it with a new local financial support scheme, called Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS)

DECC – Department of Energy and Climate Change, UK government department.

De-minimis literally means ‘too small’. Councils will usually set a de-minimis level where small value assets (usually equipment) are treated as revenue expenditure rather than capital expenditure.

DCO – Development of Consent Order – A consent by a Minister for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) will take the form of a ‘development consent order This will combine a grant of planning permission with a range of other separate consents, such as listed building consent. A development consent order can include rights to compulsorily purchase land. There are also special procedures relating to cases such as commons, National Trust land, and land protected under the Green Belt (London & Home Counties) Act 1938. Issued when a government minister approves that a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) may go ahead.  This will combine a grant of planning permission with a range of other separate consents, such as listed building consent

Discretionary services a range of services that councils provide which they are not required to provide by law.

Development Plan Documents (DPD) are spatial planning documents that are subject to independent examination, and together with the relevant Regional Spatial Strategy,  form the Development Plan for a local authority area.They can include a Core Strategy, Site Specific Allocations of land, and Area Action Plans (where needed).

Earmarked reserves an amount of money that has been set aside to be spent on a defined activity or manner at some point in the future. Also known as specific reserves.

EIA Environmental Impact Assessment – An assessment of the possible positive or negative impact that a proposed project may have on the local environment, including social and economic impact.

Foodbank A foodbank gives nutritionally balanced food and support to people experiencing emotional or financial crisis.

Fossil Fuels Fuels such as coal, oil and gas formed by the decomposition of prehistoric plants and animals.

Foyer Foyers are projects for young people that provide “a springboard to independent living,training and work”. Based on a French model, Foyers in Britain tend to contain accommodation and a range of support facilities in one building.

GDF – Geological Disposal Facility – An underground area where radioactive waste is stored and monitored.

General fund the council’s main account detailing its expenditure and income on services, except those arising from the provision of housing accommodation directly by the council.

Green Deal – UK government initiative that aims to enable households and businesses to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.

Housing Revenue Account (HRA) a separate account to the General Fund, which includes the expenditure and income arising from the provision of housing accommodation directly by the council.

Infrastructure – All the services and structures that a society needs to run smoothly, for example roads, railways and canals, public transport, water supply and sewerage, power supply and telecommunications

Internal borrowing where a council decides to use its reserves to finance expenditure rather than borrow externally.

Internal control a system of rules, systems and procedures intended to make sure that the council’s financial activities are well managed.

Local government settlement the annual announcement by Government of the amount of grant funding to be provided for the forthcoming year. The provisional settlement is usually announced in mid-December, with a final settlement confirmed in mid to late January.

Local Land Charges Register – A Local Land Charges Register is maintained by every local authority in England and Wales (with the exception of County Councils)

Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) a budget estimating income and expenditure at a high level over at least three forward financial years.

Narrative report an element of the council’s annual financial statements providing an overview of the council’s finances and financial provision in an accessible format.

Planning Inspectorate – A division of the UK Government’s Department of Communities and Local Government. Responsible for assessing and approving nationally significant infrastructure projects (NISPs).

PPA PLanning Performance Agreement – An agreement between a local planning authority and an applicant for a specific development proposal. Planning Performance Agreements (PPAs) were formally introduced into the planning system on 6 April 2008 and are about improving the quality of planning applications and the decision making process through collaboration.

Precept the amount which a local authority which cannot bill the council tax directly requires to be collected on its behalf by the relevant billing authority.

Prudential borrowing/The Prudential Code the CIPFA Code of Practice that regulates local council capital spending and financing. Requires all borrowing to be both affordable and prudent.

Public Realm – Public realm is defined as any publicly owned streets, pathways, right of ways, parks, publicly accessible open spaces and any public and civic building and facilities

Responsible financial officer the proper name for the ‘Section 151 officer’. Every council, by law will designate an individual officer as having legal responsibility over providing effective financial management and advice across the council. The post holder must be a qualified member of one of the main accountancy bodies in the UK.

Revenue Support Grant the main grant paid to councils by central government. The amount of this grant has been severely reduced since 2010.

Section 151 officer another name for the responsible financial officer. Derived from the fact that section 151 of the Local Government Act 1972 requires there to be such an officer at every council.

Self-insurance the process used by many councils to use a specific reserve to set aside money to repair or replace any damage that occurs where there is no external insurance policy to cover the loss.

Specific Government Grant money provided by central government to local government where there are specific requirements for councils to spend the money on certain defined activities.

Statutory services services which councils must provide by law.

Responsible financial officer a senior officer who is legally responsible for the overall administration of the council’s financial systems, controls and procedures. Also known as the ‘Section 151 officer’

Ring-fenced funding, budgets etc income and expenditure budgeted and spent on certain defined activities and cannot be used elsewhere.