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It has just come to light that our pta has not been keeping any sort of accounts/record of profit or expenditure for the past few years. The current chair has been doing his role and that of the treasurer (there was a treasurer but apparently only in name!). We have bank statements but that is all. How serious is this? Trying to move forward and a agm has been planned for September.
Is the PTA a registered charity? (if income is above 10,000 per year it needs to be). If it is, is income and expenditure being reported to the charity commission. If it isn't a registered charity, I doubt it's illegal but very poor practice none-the-less.
Thanks bananadaiquiri, income is less than 10k(only a small school). There was talk of it being a registered charity but I’m struggling to find out if it is or not?!
Do you have insurance. PTAuk are the normal insurers and v helpful .id give them a call anyway and ask for advice.
Search by your local authority and try including a key word of your school name (the village or saint name for example). You may end up with a few pages but should be able to narrow down enough to spot if you're registered.
If you're not a charity then it's still recommended you keep accounts- a simple cash book on a spreadsheet of payments in and payments out is sufficient.
If you are registered, then you definitely need something as you need to submit an annual return which is money in and money out. Again, for a small charity, simple is fine.
Are you members of PTA UK? It's usually recommended to have Chair, Treasurer and Secretary as a minimum and for the bank to require two signatories to avoid opportunity for fraud.
Thank you dropzoneone and windy Wednesday, doesn’t look like we are registered. We do now have insurance with Parentkind, so perhaps best to contact them for advice. The previous chair was a bit of a control freak and appears to have been doing the role of chair, secretary and treasurer!!!
Of you have insurance then they are really good at advice. I’m sure they hear it all.
I’m not sure it right being all roles, but it depends on your constitution. We were told there wasn’t one. It we called the charity commission and they sent us the constitution from 1992. We had to follow it and then implement the changes according to the rules.
You will be able to get advice freely. You need to if you want to move forward as you will be liable if you aren’t conforming to the constitution.
Parentkind is the new name for PTA UK. If you have their insurance then you have membership. Call them for advice. They have a standard constitution, ours is from 2002, but not much has changed!
If it is for the 'past few years' how come no-one has noticed before?
There should be an AGM yearly at which accounts should be presented and signed off.
Unless you think there has been fraud, I would draw a line under it, and start fresh next term. Maybe have 2 signatories on all cheques.
Other things to cover in AGM (along with election of committee) would be spending guidelines, e.g. Key 3 officers can agree spends of up to £50, whole committee needs to agree up to £500, and AGM needs to have agreed in advance in principle spends of over £500 (e.g. at AGM agree we are saving for ipads which will cost ~£5000, when time comes committee gives go ahead for actual payment).
I too would draw a line under it but I would arrange an AGM (assuming your control freak Chair has moved on) and ask the parents and teachers to agree a new constitution. These are possibly available from the insurers and you don’t want to reinvent the wheel by writing your own. Seek parents who wish to stand as the three separate officers and ask parents to agree a method for being open with decision making, eg. minutes of meetings being circulated, what is money being raised for, what is the social side of the pta and who will the money go to if the school closes. All of this should be straightforward and means you can demonstrate openness and honesty. All of what TernTimesTwo says is excellent advice and you/others now should run it in the correct way. I’m sure the parents and teachers will appreciate that.