RESOURCES POLICY AND STRATEGY MEETING
The Minutes of the Community Council Meeting held on Thursday November 9th 2017 at Myland Community Council 101 Nayland Road Colchester, commencing at 7.30pm
Council Members present
Chairman: Councillor P Hewitt Yes
Councillor R Beauchamp Yes
Councillor D Clouston Yes
Councillor Mrs A Jay Yes
Councillor D King Yes
Staff Present: Locum Clerk to the Council Denise Humphris
Assistant Clerk Katherine Kane
RP098/17 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE None received
RP099/17 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST None
RP100/17 MINUTES OF THE COMMITTEE MEETINGS HELD ON 5th OCTOBER 2017
RESOLVED: (unanimously) to approve the minutes as a true record for signature by the Chairman (previously circulated)
RP101/17 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION No members of the public were present.
RP102/17 CLERK’S REPORT : The Clerk reported as follows:
Three cheques need to be issued urgently in accordance with Financial Regulations. The Locum Clerk had mistakenly thought these were paid by Standing Order or Direct Debit. They have all been approved for payment at Full Council meetings in September/October and just require cheques issuing.
Copy IT Solution £43.39
Essex County Council Pension Fund £560.02 and £1119.97
Expenditure under Clerk’s delegated authority: Office Lights not working repair/replace £155.
Assets of Community Value: Received notice that the Bricklayers Arms is to be sold with 6 week moratorium period ending 17th November to enable interested community groups to bid.
RP103/17 FINANCIAL REPORT: No financial report is yet available from the Locum Clerk as we still do not have access to online banking. The Bank has confirmed they have received all the forms for authorisation but need some additional personal details and I.D for councillor signatories. Once this is returned the Locum Clerk is all set up for online access so subject to councillors organising their own forms quickly this should be available within the next two weeks.
RP104/17 OFFICE REFURBISHMENT
Further To Full Council meeting 25th October 2017:
a) IT Modernisation:
IT is outdated. Software has not been updated since 2010, the wi-fi does not work, the broadband speeds are slow and the existing broadband contract has not been reviewed since 2003. The Outlook e-mail regularly crashes.
The quote has been reviewed by Councillor D Clouston and it was RESOLVED: that as proposed expenditure to upgrade IT was within the Office IT and equipment budget which has £3381 of the £3500 budget available, this could proceed in accordance with the quote from Whitebarn:
Total hardware and installation costs £2438.20
Updated software, back up and electronic storage with cloud enabled sharing for all councillors to access all council documents – December to March 2018 £75 (Office software) Installation costs £65 per hour up to maximum of 4 hours.
The existing telephone contract is expensive but is in place until May 2020 with a £700 exit fee for early termination of the contract. It was agreed that no further action would be taken on this at present. This may be reviewed at a later date.
The property has not been maintained on a regular basis or to an acceptable standard for many years and is in urgent need of painting.
The proposal is to simply paint walls ceilings and woodwork throughout (excluding the kitchen). Three quotes were reviewed previously by Councillor Goss and whilst it is within this Committee’s delegated spending authority to approve this, for transparency and scrutiny, it was RESOLVED to recommend to Full Council that the quote from Grant Borroff be accepted and delegate to the Locum Clerk responsibility for organising the works. Funds are available on both the buildings and maintenance budget or the contingency budget which could be used for this purpose.
The office floor is worn beyond repair and curtains/blinds are beyond their useful working life having been in place for more than 10 years. The cost of new carpet to be laid over the worn floor in the office only and new blinds for the office and meeting room windows is £750 and this can be accommodated from the Buildings Maintenance Budget and it was therefore RESOLVED: to approve the expenditure on the basis that this is within this Committee’s delegated spending power and funds are available within an agreed budget. It was further resolved that the Locum Clerk be delegated authority for organising this.
d) General Maintenance/Other items
It was recognised that there may be further expenditure required for modernising the office and for exterior of the property and it was agreed that this will be deferred for full review alongside budgets and available funds at a later date.
RP105/17 COMMUNITY ACTION PLAN
A discussion about the Community Action Plan and its associated estimated budgets took place together with a review of this Committee’s delegated powers to act. After some debate it was agreed that this Committee’s understanding is as follows:
This Committee can receive, consider and decide upon grant applications received from Community groups that are within this year’s budget for grant expenditure (£8000) and within this Committee’s maximum delegated spending authority of £2000 per request.
Community Action Plan Expenditure The remainder of the Community Action Plan was also agreed by the Council but the associated suggested expenditure had not been debated at length or formally agreed line by line. In the event this Committee were running all or any of the suggested projects, such expenditure should be agreed by the Full Council before proceeding. This Committee has delegated powers to spend up to £2000 within set budgets but it was agreed that, as at present there is no formally agreed budget for the Community Action Plan, any expenditure on these matters would be ‘outside budget’ and therefore outside of this Committee’s delegated power to spend and would therefore need approval by Full Council.
RP106/17 COMMUNICATIONS PROJECT
MCC Newsletter. RESOLVED (unanimously) that this committee take full responsibility for the publication and circulation of the recent newsletter which had not been through the correct process for approval of the leaflet and associated costs. Processes are in place to ensure this does not happen again and it was RESOLVED (unanimously) that the printing bill of £680 is approved by this Committee, together with the bill for the costs of distribution of £210 under its delegated spending authority with funds available in the Mylander and Newsletter budget to cover this.
It was agreed that the setting up of a suitable website fell within the remit of this Committee but that ongoing management and maintenance may be better suited to the new Community Engagement Committee. With only one quote available at present it was RESOLVED: that no further action will be taken on this matter now. Whilst not brilliant, the existing website could be kept updated and new ideas and quotes could be considered at a later date, when a full project proposal with associated costings can be prepared and presented to the Council for review.
RP108/17 UPDATED GOVERNANCE AND POLICY DOCUMENTS
a)Standing Orders and Financial Regulations
For transparency and clarity the Locum Clerk has suggested that the most up to date ‘model’ of Standing Orders and Financial Regulations be adopted to ensure that all councillors are clear about governance of all meetings and processes and procedures in place for authorising payments. This Committee will review the suggested documents and prepared a draft for review at the next committee meeting. The documents can then be recommended for adoption for the following Full Council meeting.
b)Committee Structure and Terms of Reference
For transparency and clarity the existing Committees, Membership and Terms of Reference detailing delegated powers are to be re-affirmed at the next Full Council Meeting.
(i) Resources Policy and Strategy Committee
Membership – maximum 7 members. Membership of the Committee confirmed by Full Council May annually. There are currently 5 members of the Committee: Councillor P Hewitt; Councillor D King; Councillor Mrs A Jay, Councillor D Clouston and Councillor R Beauchamp. Other councillors wishing to join this Committee may put themselves forward at the next Full Council meeting for approval.
Meetings – Every 6 weeks.
Terms of Reference and delegated spending powers – set by the Committee and approved in May each year by Full Council. Unchanged from existing adopted document.
Membership – maximum 7 members. Membership of the Committee confirmed by Full Council May annually. There are currently 6 members of the Committee: Councillor J Stewart; Councillor P Hewitt; Councillor Ms L Gray; Councillor J Dickson; Councillor Mrs A Jay and Councillor R Johnstone. New members require Full Council resolution to join the committee.
Terms of Reference – set by the Committee and approved in May each year by Full Council. Unchanged from existing adopted document.
(iii) Community Engagement Committee
Membership – Maximum 7 members. This is a new committee and so membership will need to be approved at the next Full Council meeting.
Terms of Reference – New Committee to draw up draft Terms of Reference at their first committee meeting for approval by following Full Council meeting.
(iv) Working Groups
Myland Access Group and Neighbourhood Plan Group. These are not formal committees and should operate as advisory or task and finish groups, making recommendations to Full Council for any actions they wish to take. They do not have the ability to have any delegated powers to act on behalf of the Council or to have delegated spending powers.
(v) Personnel Sub-Committee of RP&S Committee
In order to comply with legal regulations and staff confidentiality requirements with regards to managing staff, and in accordance with NALC/EALC recommendations it was RESOLVED: to approve the personnel sub-committee to deal with all personnel related matters.
Membership – maximum 3 members to be appointed at the next RP&S meeting from RP&S committee (giving other councillors with an interest in personnel an opportunity to join RP&S committee at next Full Council with a view to being appointed to the sub-committee)
Meetings – as and when required but at least once per annum for appraisals and annual salary reviews.
Terms of Reference and Delegated Powers Resolved: to recommend for approval the document presented, along with the related Staff Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure.
RP109/17 BUDGETS/PRECEPT 2018/2019
– To advise all councillors that draft budgets are being prepared and to ask for them to advise of anything they wish to be included in the budget;
– Locum Clerk to pull together all information and produce draft discussion document for next RP&S Committee Meeting on December 7th 2018.
– RP& S to finalise the document and proposed budgets/precept for forwarding to MCC December meeting for consideration and approval.
RP110/17 LOCAL GOVERNMENT PENSION SCHEME
The LGPS administrators at Essex County Council have advised that the minute from the October meeting (No. RP079-17 (i)) was not worded specifically enough for their purposes. It was therefore RESOLVED: to minute as follows: that the post of Clerk to the Council at Myland Community Council is a pensionable post and subject to personal choice and eligibility of the job holder, that person, will be admitted to the Essex County Council Local Government Pension scheme with effect from the first date of employment.
RP111/17 EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC
RESOLVED: to exclude the press and public under s.1. (2) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 because of the likelihood that confidential personnel information could be disclosed:
a) Payment of Staff Salaries
Resolved: to approve payment of monthly salaries by Bank Standing Order to commence November 2017. Monthly payments are still subject to audit and monthly reporting as per existing arrangements.
b) Office Opening Hours
With a reduction in clerical hours it has been necessary to review office Opening Hours. After consultation with staff it is RESOLVED to recommend the following new office opening hours.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8.30am – 1pm
Tuesday 8.30am – 11.30am
Thursday – Office Closed.
New Saturday Opening: Opening alternate Saturdays commencing Saturday 11th November 9am – 11am.
c) Recruitment of New Clerk
Resolved: to approve the advert for the Clerk’s role which is to be sent to Essex Association of Local Councils for advertising starting week commencing 13th November with closing date of Monday 11th December 5pm. Interview dates to be agreed.
Resolved: to recommend approval of the interview panel as follows:
Chairman Councillor Stewart; Chairman of RP&S Councillor Hewitt and one other councillor to be appointed at next Full Council meeting.
Resolved: interview panel be given delegated authority to review applications for suitable candidates for interview and then to appoint following interviews.
RP112/17 TIME AND DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Thursday 7th December 2017 at 7.30pm at Myland Community Council 101 Nayland Road Mile End Colchester.