FINANCE AND POLICY COMMITTEE MEETING
Lytchett Matravers Parish Council
MINUTES of the Meeting held on 9th June 2014 in the Sports Club Pavilion, High Street, Lytchett Matravers at 7:30 p.m.
PRESENT: Cllrs K Norris, A Bush, M Colvey, I Maitland, J Taylor and the Parish Clerk Mr T Watton. Lynn Pritchard was present representing the Village Hall Committee.
1. APOLOGIES. Were received from Cllrs Wood and Wilson.
2. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN OF FINANCE & POLICY COMMITTEE
Cllr Norris was nominated and seconded. There being no other nominations he was duly ELECTED.
3. ELECTION OF VICE CHAIRMAN OF FINANCE & POLICY COMMITTEE
Cllr Bush was nominated and seconded. There being no other nominations he was duly ELECTED.
4. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
There was none.
5. Declarations of Pecuniary Interest; and consideration of requests for Special Dispensations under Section 33 of the Localism Act 2011.
There were none.
6. MINUTES OF THE MEETING on 14th April 2014 were ACCEPTED as a true record and signed by the Chairman.
7. 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.
Minute 6, 2nd December 2014 – £25 fee for failed HSBC cheque as a result of failure of Santander failing to act on council instructions to transfer £4000 for HSBC current account. Nothing further has been received from Santander on this matter and so the Parish Clerk has written to Santander again.
Minute 13, 2nd December 2013. Repair / replace broken handrail to bridge on Foxhills Open Space. It was reported that this has now been attended to. DISCHARGED.
Minute 13, 10th February 2014 – Quotes for removal of Cypress trees on Southern side of Recreation Ground. The contractor advises that this work will be completed during June.
8. Requirements of funders for Village Hall toilets refurbishment project.
The Parish Clerk reminded those present that he had reported to Full Council (minute 20, 2nd June 2014) on correspondence received from a Mr Chris Kelly – who had written to the Council as General Counsel to the Primrose Solar group of companies. As this has implications for the way in which the Parish Council and Village Hall Committee work together on the toilets refurbishment project, Lynn Pritchard attended this meeting to gain an initial understanding – which could then be fed back to the Village Hall Committee. It was explained that Primrose have agreed in principle to provide funding to refurbish the toilet facilities in question, and that Mr Kelly’s role is to ensure that appropriate governance is in place. The Parish Clerk has provided Mr Kelly with an outline statement of the state of the project so far (i.e. obtaining quotes for the works) and in response to this Mr Kelly had given an indication of the type of governance issues they will need joint assurances on from the Parish Council / Village Hall; i.e. that:- .
- The Council has conducted a tender process to get good value from a local supplier;
- The Council is satisfied, having made reasonable enquiry, that there has been no collusion or conflicts of interest associated with the tender or the Council’s preferred supplier;
- The Council takes full responsibility for managing the contract and for disbursing Primrose’s funds;
- The Council will only use Primrose’s funds for the purposes of this contract;
- The Council accepts that Primrose has no responsibility for ensuring that the solar system supplied by the contractor will be fit for purpose, installed properly, or will produce the results which the Parish Council hopes for;
- The Council accepts that Primrose has not been involved in selecting the preferred supplier and takes no responsibility for their suitability or otherwise;
- The Council will send Primrose a copy of the signed building contract; and
- The Council will let Primrose know when the money has been spent and the building is complete.
In the subsequent discussion, it was emphasised that the critical initial consideration is that the tender process is demonstrably a joint one open to scrutiny, avoids bias and seeks best value. It was suggested that the Village Hall Committee consider preparing a revised standard specification for tendering purposes for the works, based on a £25K budget; and to incorporate environmentally friendly / sustainable features as well as addressing the matter of ongoing maintenance. Cllr Bush indicated that he would approach a local contact to assist by working up such a standard specification. Action: Cllr Bush to approach his contact with this request.
Finally, it was also explained that Primrose are treating this as a Council-led project. Thus some formal progress reporting will need to be made at Council meetings; as well as the decision-making on the project being undertaken there. .
9. Receipt of Latest bank reconciliation and accounts for 2013/14 to date.
Bank Reconciliation and accounts update for 2014/154 had been circulated in advance. A copy is attached at Appendix 1 to these minutes. The council noted a discrepancy of £98.67 had been identified, but that it is anticipated that this is due to an error in the starting figure for the year. The Parish Clerk will clarify this with Mrs White. In the meantime it was noted that there is nothing to recommend to Full Council at this time.
10. Consideration of Year end Accounting Statements 2013/14
It was noted that Mrs White had completed the year-end accounting statements to the specification agreed with Cllrs Bush & Norris and the Parish Clerk. Thanks were offered to Cllr Bush for liaising with Mrs White on the formats for these.
It was considered that the year-end financial statement should not be formally accepted by the Council until after the Annual Return has been approved by the External Auditor.
It was also agreed that the Parish Clerk would work on a draft commentary “Annual Report” to go with this. Action: Parish Clerk to act accordingly.
11. Consideration of Grant applications for 2014/15.
It was noted that to date four grant applications had been received, of which one (the Village Fayre, £500 award) had already been RESOLVED. The other three applications received were:
Lytchett Minster Age Concern Group £800
Citizens Advice Bureau £1400
Lytchett Matravers Twinning Association. £300
It was resolved to RECOMMEND to Full Council the payment of all of the above. A copy of the Grant Control Schedule for 2014/15 is attached at Appendix 2 to these minutes.
It was also noted that the Sports Club had discussed requirements for a grant but had not actually applied yet. Similarly, Cllr Colvey was aware that the Purbeck Film Festival would also be applying to the Parish Council for a grant.
It was remarked that nothing had been received from the Village Scouts this year.
12. Consideration of resourcing of post of Editor of Lytchett Link.
Cllr Taylor clarified that he is happy to design the layout of each edition, and to assemble it. He will also produce a schedule based on 4 editions per year. It was emphasised that Councillors would be responsible for producing any agreed articles in time to meet the schedule for each edition.
The Parish Clerk agreed to undertake the proof reading of each assembled edition.
13. Update on Council investment.
It was noted that the Prudential had forwarded the “cooling off” letter despite the fact that the Council is still awaiting the actual investment certificate and detail of the number of units purchased – as well as confirmation of the date the investment commenced. The Parish Clerk was advised to “expect” these investment papers.
14. Neighbourhood Plan – update.
It was noted that PDC have produced a Service Level Agreement between the Parish Council and PDC regarding Neighbourhood Planning. It is supported by a workshop being offered by PDC to discuss its content and implications.
Cllr Bush advised that the School sub-group met 2 weeks ago, and considered some ideas regarding the traffic and parking issues. A further meeting is planned for Wednesday 11th June.
Cllr Bush remarked that consideration needs to be given to the best means for each of the three Neighbourhood Planning sub groups to operate and report on their work. This will be considered at the next main Neighbourhood Planning meeting. In the meantime, and as an illustration, he indicated that the School sub group would work to distil all ideas under its consideration and then develop a draft plan for its area of focus, to be incorporated into the Neighbourhood Plan itself.
Cllr Maitland has indicated that he will join the School and Amenities sub groups.
Whilst discussing the above items, Council members referred to the recent site meeting with a DCC Officer (Mr Brown) – which had evidently resulted in a proposal to remove the bus shelter adjacent to the school and to install a section of double yellow lines. A discussion between Council members took place within this agenda item on the merits of these ideas – whilst also noting that the bus shelter roof is damaged.
Cllr Taylor wondered what progress had been made on obtaining the grant money for Neighbourhood Planning. Cllr Bush reported that completion of the application is in hand.
In addition, it is understood that the former Council Chairman was progressing a grant application with PDC.
15. FINANCE AND POLICY RELATED CORRESPONDENCE
Cllr Taylor reported on concerns expressed about low hanging branches on the oak tree between the Library and the Pharmacy overhanging Library Walk. It was agreed that the Parish Clerk should contact Brighstone Landscaping to ask them to examine the tree, recommend a course of action, and give a price for this. Action: Parish Clerk to contact Brighstone accordingly.
16. MATTERS OF INTEREST AND INFORMATION RELATED TO FINANCE AND POLICY
It is understood that Mr Tapscott at PDC Planning has advised that the Rural Exception Site has been agreed in principle by PDC, although no formal proposal for a development had been put forward.
There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 21:25pm