POLICY AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE – September 4th 2019
A meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee was held on Wednesday September 4th, 2019 at Eccleshall Community Centre following the meeting of the Planning Committee at 8.40pm.
1). Present Were:- Councillor C. Marshall (Chair); Councillor E. Amos; Councillor L. Dale; Councillor P. Edwards; Councillor R. Taylor
Mrs S. J. Worden
One member of the Public
Apologies were received from Councillors P. Jones and J. Jones.
2). Minutes from meeting held on June 5th, 2019:- The minutes which had previously been noted by the Council were agreed and signed.
3). Matters arising from the Minutes:- There were no matters arising.
4). Budget update for 2019/20:- Mrs Worden had circulated spreadsheets detailing the spend to date for 2019/20 under the various headings, as well as the budget sumary for 2019/20. The reports were accepted by the committee. The Chair noted that Councillors will need to start to consider the budget for 2020/21. This years budget was in excess of the precept, partly due to some larger projects balanced by additional grant funding, and the use of reserves to keep them at an appropriate level. If the precept was to be kept at a similar level, this would result in a reduced budget for next year.
Members commented that consideration should be given to a significant precept rise that would support the current work of the Council rather than limit it, and that the overall impact per household would not be substantial but would ensure the Council can continue to deliver services to support the Parish.
5). To consider and approve the Investment Policy for the Council. The Clerk had circulated the draft policy for consideration. The policy clarifies the remit of the Council to invest responsibly and to clarify the type of low risk activities that can be considered. The committee resolved to recommend approval of the policy.
6).To provide an update on the working group for commemorative activities upon the death of a senior royal figure.:- Cllr. Dale updated the meeting and proposed that an open meeting be held in October to which representatives of key local organisations will be invited to discuss a plan of action. Cllr. Dale will provide the Clerk with the invitation email and a list of invitees for circulation. The committee were in favour of this course of action.
7).Update regarding the move to Rialtas Alpha finance package and adoption of new monthly reports for Parish Council meetings.:-
The Clerk was in the process of moving the accounts data over to the new accounting package, and to date has completed the input for April and May. Ahead of the meeting the Clerk circulated samples of key reports for consideration by the Committee that will be used in lieu of the current monthly accounts sheets and budget reports. The Clerk recommended that at the monthly Parish Council meeting, members will receive a bank reconciliation report, a budget spend to date report, and a list of payments to be approved. The committee resolved to recommend this course of action. In addition, the P&R committee may need further detailed reports, and this can be discussed and refined on an ongoing basis. It was noted that there was no clear summary report of expenditure of earmarked reserves provided in the sample documents, and the Clerk would look into if this is available.
8).Representation of the Council by Councillors at external meetings:- Councillors discussed whether the Clerk should attend all external meetings where significant business is discussed and produce formal meeting notes for circulation to all Councillors. This would ensure that all Councillors are equally updated on key discussions and would reduce any errors of interpretation or exposing individual councillors to risk. The committee resolved to recommend this course of action.
9).Consideration of payment for Clerks additional hours of work:- Due to an increased workload over the past 6 months created by a number of key projects and proposals, the Clerk has worked in excess of her contracted hours in order to ensure the work was completed. The Clerk has used some hours up as lieu time where possible, but it was proposed to backpay the remaining 35 hours in October. The committee resolved to recommend that the Council approve this course of action.
Until it is clear if further hours are needed per week on a permanent basis, it was also proposed that the Clerk be allowed to claim up to 10 additional hours per month on her monthly pay, if required. The Clerk does not wish to increase her contracted hours at this point in time. The Chair of the Parish Council would be advised of the number of hours, not to exceed this limit, in order to confirm approval ahead of the payroll processing. This will start from October’s payroll and the committee will review this in January. The committee resolved to recommend that the Council approve this course of action.
10). Confirmation of application for CertHE and additional costs:- The Clerk confirmed she has been offered a place to study the CertHE in Community Governance, which runs between February and October, over 2 years. Course information has been provided to confirm additional costs, which will include travel expenses to 3, 24hr residential events each year, and reference books.
Concerns were noted regarding the impact on the Council when the Clerk starts the CertHE course in February. It was advised that around 6 hours per week of study time is required, and whether additional temporary admin support will be needed to support the work of the Council. The Clerk was not able to confirm at this point how many hours would fall within work hours as some time may be work based learning and some will fall outside of this.
11). To consider the adoption of a Community Public Access Defibrillator at an annual cost of £50:
Eccleshall First Responders are asking local community groups to adopt a Community Public Access Defibrillator (CPAD) at a cost of £50 a year, which contributes towards the cost of pad replacement at £40 every two years, and a new battery which costs around £150 every four years. The sponsor company will be named on a plaque.
The Committee resolved to recommend that the Parish Council adopt a CPAD at a cost of £50 a year.
12).To accept the general consultation contact privacy notice, as amended from the Neighbourhood Plan contact privacy notice:- It was noted that minimal changes had been made to the amended document, and the Committee resolved to recommend adoption of the policy.
12). Consideration of Grant Requests:-
• No grant requests had been received.
13). Approval to release the County Council grant of £400 to Eccleshall Library CiC:- The Parish Council are holding a £400 County Council grant provided by Cllr. Pert that is earmarked for supporting the start up costs of the Community Library. The Committee resolved to recommend that the funds are released for the Library CiC, and that a card is sent to wish them well and to advise that the Parish Council wish to be supportive of their venture.
13). Any other business:- There was no further business.
14). Date of next meeting:- The next meeting was arranged for Wednesday 4th December 2019, following the planning committee meeting.
There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 9.25pm.