FINANCE AND POLICY COMMITTEE MEETING

Lytchett Matravers Parish Council

MINUTES of the Meeting held on 1st December 2014 in the Village Hall, Vineyard Close, Lytchett Matravers at 7:30 p.m.

PRESENT: A Bush (Vice Chairman), M Colvey, I Maitland, P. Webb, C Wood, E Wilson and the Parish Clerk.

1. APOLOGIES. Were received from Cllr K Norris.

2. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

There was none.

3. Declarations of Pecuniary Interest; and consideration of requests for Special Dispensations under Section 33 of the Localism Act 2011.

There were none.

4. MINUTES OF THE MEETING on 13th October were ACCEPTED as a true record.

5. MATTERS ARISING

Minute 12, 6th June 2011. Security of council papers & records. It was noted that one Council minute book is still with Cllr Bush, who is currently making an electronic copy. Carried forward.

Minute 6, 2nd December 2014 – Bank Accounts. It was noted that although the money from the Santander accounts had been transferred to the HSBC accounts, subsequently interest payments totalling £12.05 had accumulated in the Santander Business Direct Saver Account. After a brief discussion it was RECOMMENDED to leave this small amount where it is and to retain the Santander accounts for convenience.

Minute 10, 11th August 2014 – Footpath between Foxhills Development and Deans Drove. It was noted that the tree in the line of then fence still needs to be cut. The matter of naming of the path is to be referred to the next meeting of the Environment & Amenities Committee for consideration. Action: Parish Clerk to add this matter to the agenda of the next E&A Cttee meeting.

6. Receipt of Latest bank reconciliation and accounts for 2013/14 to date.

Bank Reconciliation update for 2014/15 had been circulated to members in advance of the meeting. A copy is attached at Appendix 1 to these minutes. Receipt of this bank reconciliation and update of the working accounts is RECOMMENDED to full council.

The investigation of the continued reported discrepancy of around £100 each month is with Mrs White. However the Parish Clerk reported that she had emailed on the day of this meeting to advise that she had been unwell for the past 2 weeks, following hospital treatment, and had not yet been able to attend to this.

7. Consideration of quotation for 1500 copies of next Lytchett Link.

The Parish Clerk reported on the quotation obtained by Cllr Norris. This was 200 copies for £120, or 1500 copies for £298. A discussion then followed about the cost of distribution of the Lytchett Link and alternative means of achieving this. There was general agreement that the Council has a duty to communicate and the Lytchett Link is an important part of doing so. The matter of physical delivery of each issue to each address in the parish was considered, and it was recognised that this is both very costly and previous experience has shown the quality of service of distributors can be disappointing. Consideration was then given to the feasibility of compiling a complete email list of residents. The work involved and practical limitations in doing so were recognised, although the idea of self-registration through the website is an option which could be explored to help build such a list. That said, it was recognised that there is still quite a large population who either do not use email or who would be unlikely to become aware of or use this process. It was suggested that doorstep delivery to the main residential roads in the village might be achieved through hand delivery by council members and other volunteers, coupled with the compilation of an emailing list of residents in back lanes and other outlying areas.

Taking the above issues into account, Cllr Webb then PROPOSED that the next two issues to be 1500 copies (one per household in the parish), to be delivered to every door. These issues should include a prominent article explaining that the Council is seeking to build a database of email addresses for future Link distribution, and asking residents to register – or alternatively to opt to read the Link online on the website. It was RECOMMENDED to include sufficient money for this in the 2015-16 budget.

8. Consideration of proposed budget and precept for 2015/16.

The Parish Clerk had prepared a spreadsheet to assist this process – which had been copied to all members as pre-reading. The spreadsheet showed a forecast of expenditure and income for each existing budget subheading for the current year. This had then been used, combined with other information and considerations, to arrive at suggested budget figures for each subheading for 2015-16 as a starting point for members’ discussions. Cllr Bush had raised questions in advance of the meeting related to a number of specific items. These were considered as the meeting worked through each item on the spreadsheet and made a number of changes. The resultant working copy of the draft Budget for 2015-16 is attached at Appendix 2 to these minutes.

It was noted that the relationship between the precept and the council tax support grant was not clearly understood and thus neither was the impact of the Council’s decision on this matter on the Council Tax per household in the Parish. Consequently, it was RESOLVED to seek clarification on this from the Finance department at PDC before formal discussion and decision on the budget and precept proposals by Full Council at its December meeting. Action: Parish Clerk to seek the advice of PDC Finance department on this matter and report back to Cllr Bush.

Other related points of note which emerged from this discussion were as follows:

  • The spreadsheet and process of constructing it was considered to be effective; but for subsequent years that Parish Clerk is asked to remove the columns showing historical budgets, and to instead include full year budgets and actuals for each subheading for the last 2 years only.
  • It was RECOMMENDED that the Parish Clerk be awarded a bonus equivalent to 10% of salary when the CILCA qualification is achieved. The “Salary” budget subhead be adjusted to reflect this together with the possibility that a pay award for Parish Clerks might be agreed at a national level between NALC and SLCC for the coming year.

9. Neighbourhood Plan – update.

It was agreed that the next report would be made at the Full Council meeting later in December.

12. FINANCE AND POLICY RELATED CORRESPONDENCE

The Parish Clerk reported that he had received an email from the Lighthouse Family Church reporting that three of the electric heaters in the Club Hall are not working. It was AGREED to respond by asking them to obtain a quotation for their repair. Action: Parish Clerk to respond accordingly.

Cllr Colvey reported on a complaint he had received regarding the poor mobile phone signal coverage in the village. It was suggested that Offcom might be approached about this.

13. MATTERS OF INTEREST AND INFORMATION RELATED TO FINANCE AND POLICY

It was noted that the meeting of the Full Council in December would need to be held in Sports Club Pavilion because a celebration is taking place in the Village Hall on the scheduled date which will necessitate access to the kitchen via the Blanchard Room. Cllr Wilson indicated that she would advise the Village Hall booking secretary that the Parrish Council would not be using their premises for this meeting.

There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 21:15pm

Annotated by/on …………………………. Approved by/on ………………………