A budget is a way of ensuring that the party focuses on its priorities for the year ahead and that money is spent on agreed targets and campaigns and within the Party Council or branch’s predicted income and expenditure. A budget is in effect a forecast of income and expenditure for the coming year. It can be modified later if necessary. It is much best to use the same headings for the budget and the accounts. Many treasurers like to show the budget alongside the accounts for each heading at meetings through the year, so that parties can check on progress against their plan. Many budget items will be the same each year – for example: Income headings – Party Councils: Society Grant; (CG Parties) Application to Activity Fund; Local fundraising; Local affiliates; Bank interest; Sale of Party merchandise Income headings – Branches: Party Council Grant; (CG Parties) Application to Activity Fund; Local fundraising; Bank interest; Sale of Party merchandise Expenditure headings – Party Councils: Campaigns & materials; Meetings’ expenses & room hire; Annual Conference – delegate fees, travel & accommodation; Regional Co-operative Party – affiliation & delegate travel expenses; Other conferences and events; Elections & candidates (e.g Constituency Plan Agreement if you have an official Labour & Co-op MP or candidate; support towards the election of Labour & Co-op councillors); Affiliations; Constituency Plan Agreements Expenditure headings – Branches: Campaigns & materials; Meetings’ expenses & room hire; Party Council – delegates’ travel (if not met by the Party Council). For CG Parties, any expenditure that is normally paid to or through Head Office, for example Constituency Plan Agreements will normally be deducted straight from the grant to save administration but should still be shown in the budget. In a major election year, such as a general election or all-out local council elections, a special budget may be needed. Specific budgets for events such as local conferences are useful in ensuring that costs can be met. Annual budgets are usually drawn up for the Annual General Meeting. It is important to discuss them in conjunction with a development plan for the year – a budget should reflect the local Party’s priorities, not the treasurer’s! Actions Ensure that a budget is drafted in conjunction with the Party Council or branch’s plan for the year, as the AGM or first meeting. Contact us if you aren’t clear about anything or would like a budget template.