Bank accounts should be held in the name of the PCC. The PCC Treasurer should ensure that the list of authorised signatories is kept up to date and approved by the PCC. The list should be reviewed at regular intervals. In particular, the list should be reviewed whenever there is a change of Incumbent. It should also be reviewed when there is a change of any signatory e.g. on the elections of new churchwardens. You can download a Nat West PCC Change of Signatory Mandate from the Banking and Investment webpage.
Two signatories should sign any cheque on the PCC account, but the list of signatories should be as short as is practicable.
There should be no practice of pre-signing blank cheques. A signatory should never be asked to sign a blank cheque.
All cheques (and instructions to the bank to make payments from PCC funds) must be signed by two authorised signatories, of whom the Treasurer may be one.
- The payee of a cheque should never be a signatory of that cheque.
- All cheques should be signed by two persons, with the invoice to hand and verified by the signatories.
- The invoice or payment request slip should then be signed and dated with details of the payment made.
Supporting documents (e.g. invoices) should be produced to cheque signatories who should ensure that they are endorsed ‘PAID’ to prevent re-presentation, especially where there are several alternative signatories.
Church bodies wishing to open accounts with banks or building societies, and in so doing enjoy the special regimes which are offered to charities, may be asked for their charity registration number. Church of England PCCs are charities subject to UK charity law and have all the benefits of charitable status. PCCs currently with annual gross income greater than £250,000 per annum are required to register with the Charity Commission; PCCs with income less than £250,000 per annum are ‘excepted’ from the requirement to register. These PCCs have no charity registration number which can cause occasional issues. The Registered Charity number of the Bath and Wells Diocesan Board of Finance Ltd should not be quoted in this context.
The British Bankers’ Association have issued the following guidance to all clearing banks and building societies: ‘Churches are in general excepted by law from registering as charities and will not therefore have a registered number. Their identity can be verified by reference to the appropriate headquarters or regional organisation of the denomination.’ (i.e. the Diocesan Secretary). This guidance should enable banks and other financial institutions to grant to church bodies the rates etc. appropriate to charities.
Bank reconciliations should be done regularly for all bank accounts, preferably monthly. A list of holders of all safe keys, bank paying-in books, cheque books (preferably only the current one) and copies of all bank mandates should be held by the Treasurer and at least one other independent person.
For those PCCs who bank with Nat West, the Diocesan Cash Management Scheme enables a higher rate of interest.
Business Quick Deposits is a quick and easy way to pay in cash and cheques via the branch without having to wait whilst the deposit is checked.
The Charity Commission recommend that all payments, including those made online, have dual authorisation.
Nat West Bankline offers this facility. Bankline is a chargeable platform, with a monthly service fee. Faster Payment fees are 40p/transaction. To apply, PCCs should call the Sales Line on 0345 030 3109 who will prepare the appropriate forms. This is open 0900-1700 Monday to Friday.