Mar 6th, 2019

A meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee was held on Wednesday March 6th, 2019 at Eccleshall Community Centre following the meeting of the Planning Committee at 8.30pm.

1). Present Were:- Councillor G. Garner; Councillor P. Alcock; Councillor L. Dale; Councillor P. Mullee;
Councillor T. Price; Councillor D. Jacques; Councillor R. Langford
Mrs S. J. Worden
No members of the Public

Apologies were received from Councillors Marshall, Amos, P. Jones, J. Jones and P. Edwards.

2). Minutes from meeting held on Dec 5th, 2018:- 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 2018/19:- Mrs Worden circulated spreadsheets detailing the proposed budget for 2019/20 and spend to date for 2018/19 under the various headings. The budget had been amended to reflect recent resolutions which included the subsidising of a morning bus service and match funding Cllr. Pert to provide additional gully cleansing. The budget now includes the full estimated cost of the vehicle activated signage project, as no spend will be incurred in the current financial year. The grass cutting was updated to reflect accurate costings due to the submission and acceptance of tenders for the upcoming year. The committee were happy to accept the update.

5). Earmarked Reserves for 2019/20:- The Clerk circulated a breakdown of the proposed earmarking of reserves for 2019/20 and provided an explanation of the proposal.

The Committee resolved to recommend to the Council that the proposed earmarking of reserves be accepted.

6). To review and accept the revised format of the finance risk assessment:- The finance risk assessment had been updated to reflect the format of the previously accepted property and assets risk assessment. The committee resolved to recommend adoption of the amended document.

7). To review and accept the updated Publication Scheme:- The publication scheme had been updated to reflect changes in the number of newsletters published annually and the increased availability of documents via the council website. The committee resolved to recommend adoption of the amended document.

8). To consider the adoption of the following policies:
• Equality and Diversity Policy. The committee resolved to recommend adoption of the policy.

• Grant Awarding Policy. The committee resolved to recommend adoption of the policy. The application form is unchanged and is incorporated within the policy. The expanded policy document provides further information and clarity on the scope of the grants scheme and the eligibility criteria for applicants, which was welcomed by the committee.

9). To consider a Parish Council protocol for the death of a Monarch:
The Clerk circulated a proposal that outlined suggestions for marking the death of a Monarch or senior member of the Royal Family. It was noted that any mandatory protocol falls within the responsibility of the Borough Council, and any actions the Parish Council wish to take are optional. Options considered by other councils include the wearing of black armbands. The committee suggested contacting the church to check their planned protocols for flag raising and bell ringing. Other points raised included whether arrangements should be in place for the laying of floral tributes and a special church service, as it was felt important to have appropriate plans in place to mark the occasion. The committee resolved to recommend the convening of a working party with representatives from local organisations to discuss ideas for appropriate activities, so that a plan is in place for when it is needed.

10). To note and accept the pensions contributions rate for 2019/20:- The annual increment from 23.4% to 24.6% for 2019/20 as required by the current pensions scheme was noted.

11). Consideration of accounting Software packages for future use:- The Clerk had recently been advised that due to the complexity of the parish accounts currently held on spreadsheets, that the Parish Council may benefit from moving to a bespoke accounts package. This would provide several benefits, including a comprehensive set of reports, less chance for errors due to spreadsheet formulas, and easily generated VAT submissions and annual reporting, reducing admin time for the Clerk. The Clerk has made some initial enquiries into the 3 most popular packages, which all offer a package in the range of £350/year (average cost). The committee resolved to recommend that the Clerk proceed with looking into the packages in more detail and to prepare a proposal for consideration by the Council. It was noted that each company should be able to advise how financial data would be provided to the Council should it choose to discontinue the package at any time.

12). Consideration of Grant Requests:-
• Eccleshall Neighbourhood Watch, speed watch equipment. The Neighbourhood Watch group have applied to the Safer Roads Partnership to fund the cost of the speedwatch equipment and are hopeful that the full amount will be provided via this grant. If they are not successful with this application, the group will resubmit an application to the Parish Council.
• Broughton WI – Well Dressing Festival. A grant of £100 is requested to cover the cost of the clay needed for the proposed 6 well dressings, which will be used in the outreach programme with Eccleshall Guides, who will be involved in producing the well dressing boards. The committee resolved to recommend the grant for £100 is approved.

13). Any other business:- There was no other business.

14). Date of next meeting:- The next meeting was arranged for Wednesday 5th June 2019, following the planning committee meeting.

There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 9.05pm.