FINANCE AND POLICY COMMITTEE MEETING
Lytchett Matravers Parish Council
MINUTES of the Meeting held on 13th April 2015 in the Sports Club Pavilion, High St Car Park, Lytchett Matravers at 7:00 p.m.
PRESENT: Cllrs K Norris (committee chairman), A Bush, M Colvey, I Maitland, C Wood and the Parish Clerk.
1. APOLOGIES. Were received from Cllr P Webb.
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.
Cllr Colvey declared an interest in the consideration of the grant application from the Purbeck Film Festival (considered under item 15 below) as he is a member of the Film Festival Grants Committee. He took no part in the discussion of that item, although this was not considered to be a personal pecuniary interest.
4. MINUTES OF THE MEETING on 9th February 2015 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 12, 8th December 2014 – Replacement of heaters at Club Hall. It was noted that these have now been installed. DISCHARGED.
Community grant for village hall toilets refurbishment project. It was reported that a response has still not been received from Primrose Solar to the formal application for the grant, which was sent to them on 20th February. Consequently, as agreed at a Full Council meeting, the Parish Clerk has passed a copy of the application letter to the Council Chairman to approach Primrose Solar.
6. Receipt of YEAR END bank reconciliation and accounts for 2014/15.
Bank Reconciliation update for year end 2014/15 had been circulated to members in advance of the meeting. A copy is attached at Appendix 1 to these minutes. It was noted that the £100 discrepancy had reappeared, and so it was assumed that there may have been a compensatory error on the February report. This matter has been drawn to the attention of Mrs White who is carrying out the year end internal audit.
Cllr Bush raised the matter of how and where the appreciated value of the investment with Prudential is shown. It was agreed that there was a need to clarify with the external auditors (BDO) how they expect this to be shown on the Annual Return, after which it will be clearer how it will be handled on the Council’s own Financial Statements.
Receipt of this bank reconciliation is RECOMMENDED to full council.
7. Timetable and other requirements for completion of Annual Return for year 2014/15.
It was noted that the appointed external auditors, BDO, have set a date of Tuesday 16th June for the Annual Return to be submitted to them. In order to achieve this, it was determined that the year-end internal audit, the Council’s Financial Statements, and the Annual Return inputs will need to be completed in time to be circulated for pre-reading for the June Finance & Policy Committee meeting. Mrs White is to be asked to complete these documents in time for the Full Council meeting on 18th May. As a contingency, the Parish Clerk is also to approach BDO to request a short extension to the submission date. Action: Parish Clerk to approach BDO accordingly.
8. Review of signatories on Council bank accounts.
It was confirmed that Cllr Webb has visited the HSBC branch for them to check and record his identity documents. Cllr Wood indicated that she would be visiting the HSBC branch on Saturday 18th April 2015.
9. Consideration of expenditure for:
(i) Construction and hosting Neighbourhood Planning website
(ii) Online Marketing of Neighbourhood plan / consultation process using existing channels
It was agreed to RECOMMEND to Full Council that it approves the expenditure of £600 for item (i) above and £150 for item (ii). This is in accordance with the quotation from Mr Gracey given in his email of 18th March 2015, which was copied to all Council members. This expenditure is pending the receipt of a grant for Neighbourhood Planning.
10. Consideration of proposed revised Standing Orders, Financial Regulations and Code of conduct.
Cllr Norris reported that he and the Parish Clerk had undertaken a full and detailed review of these documents. As part of this process it became clear that there was a need to utilise the latest template versions of each document available from NALC – to ensure that they are consistent with the latest legislation such as the Localism Act 2011 and that they are internally consistent across all three. Consequently, the Parish Clerk and Cllr Norris tailored the latest template versions to the Council’s requirements. These were discussed, and it was agreed to RECOMMEND to Full Council that the versions as attached at Appendices 2, 3 and 4 to these minutes are adopted.
It was noted that the Financial Regulations require that any committee responsible for consideration of expenditures should prepare, each Autumn, a rolling financial forecast looking forward for five years. It was agreed that the Finance and Policy Committee would need to give the Environment & Amenities Committee some terms of reference and a process to follow to achieve this.
11. Review and consideration of 2014/15 year end Fixed Asset Register.
The Parish Clerk referred to the Fixed Asset Register for year end 2014/15 which he had circulated to members before the meeting. It was noted that there had been no new assets acquired and none disposed of during the year. Cllr Bush made the point that the appreciation in value of the Prudential investment needed to be shown. It was therefore agreed to RECOMMEND to Full Council that the Council’s Financial Statements should recognise the appreciation in the value of the investment at year end.
Related to this, the Parish Clerk agreed to consult the external Auditors, BDO, regarding how this increase in value of this investment should be account for on the Annual Return. It was further agreed to RECOMMEND to Full Council the acceptance of the 2014/15 Fixed Asset Register, with the addition of the increase in the Prudential Investment value. This is attached at Appendix 5 to these minutes.
12. Review and consideration of 2014/15 year end Earmarked Reserves.
The Parish Clerk referred to the statement of Earmarked Reserves for year end 2014/15 which he had circulated to members before the meeting. Cllr Bush pointed out two errors on this statement: (i) the date label on the right hand column of the transfers in / out table, and (ii) that the Foxhills fund should not include the £1000 investment set-up fee; i.e. it should be shown as the invested sum of £161,926 only.
It was also noted that the Clerk’s Retirement Fund has been removed from the Earmarked Reserves the value contained within it reverted back to the general fund because HMRC have outlawed such arrangements. Further, it was noted that there is a requirement incumbent on Councils to ensure that their employees are offered the opportunity to join a pension scheme. In response, it was agreed that Cllr Norris would approach DAPTC regarding the matter of the possibility of the Council making contribution to the Local Government Pension Scheme in respect of the Parish Clerk. Action: Cllr Norris to approach DAPTC to discuss this matter.
It was agreed to RECOMMEND to Full Council the acceptance of the revised Statement of Earmarked Reserves as attached at appendix 6 to these minutes.
13. Regular review of performance of the Council’s investment with Prudential
The Parish Clerk had circulated the latest report from Prudential on the performance of this investment. It was noted that the current value of the investment had risen to £170,145.37
It was RECOMMENDED that the Finance and Policy Committee would continue receiving and considering the performance reports for this investment; and that the investment would be reviewed if its performance deteriorates.
Regarding the uses to which the Foxhills maintenance fund should be put, it was agreed that the Clerk should approach a contractor to inspect and quote for removal of the tree in the line of the Foxhills-Deans Drove path. Action: Parish Clerk to contact the contractor accordingly.
14. Consideration of quotation for ROSPA play area inspections 2015.
The Parish Clerk advised that a quotation of £186.00 (plus VAT) had been received from N W Adams for this work. Mr Adams is a registered ROSPA inspector and has carried out this work satisfactorily for the past 9 years. It was agreed to RECOMMEND to Full Council that Mr Adams quotation is accepted.
15. Consideration of grant applications for 2015-16.
The Parish Clerk referred to the Grants Control form which had been circulated to all members before the meeting. It was noted that a grant for 2015/16 had already been authorised and paid to the Purbeck CAB for the sessions they run in Lytchett Matravers library. It was agreed to RECOMMEND to Full Council the payment of grants of £200 each to the Lytchett Matravers Twinning Association and £150 to the Purbeck Film Festival, in line with their requests. A copy of the Grants control form is attached at Appendix 7 to these minutes.
16. Consideration of policy for use of land adjacent to the Allotments.
It had been reported that a resident of Castle Farm Rd adjacent to the end of Dyetts Field had written to the Council with concerns regarding the use of the portion of the field where a bee-keeper had for a number of years kept hives. Last Autumn and Winter two pigs were kept on this land owned by the Council. It was noted that this had been done without consultation with the Council, and the resident concerned had expressed a view that the presence of pigs there had caused him some nuisance.
In the circumstances, it was felt that investigation should be carried out, and so the following actions were agreed:
· Council members to urgently carry out a site visit.
· Arrange to visit the resident to discuss the matter.
· Consider how this land is used, and how the rental of it should be regulated.
· Review the rental charge.
Action: Cllrs Norris, Bush and Colvey indicated that they would undertake the site visit and report back to Council, as the first step in this process.
17. Consideration of a draft response to an enquiry about club hall licence and use of adjacent land.
Cllr Wood outlined the steps which have been taken on behalf of the Scouts to produce a revised planning application for the redevelopment of Club Hall, which addresses all of the grounds which influenced the refusal by PDC of the previous application. It is understood that this is now nearing readiness for re-submission to PDC. It was noted that the Scouts cannot apply for funding for the redevelopment project until they have (i) secured the planning approval and, (ii) agreed a long lease on the land from DCC. On the latter point, it is understood that the length of lease the Scouts would require might be something in the order of 90-100 years. The Scouts representative has requested to see the licence between the Parish Council and the Lighthouse Family Church.
An unrelated issue, but which was raised by the Scouts’ local representative with Parish Council members at the same time as the revised planning application was informally discussed, was the Venture Scouts’ evident need for more convenient space to store some of their equipment. Their representative asked if the Lighthouse Family Church could be asked if there is space to store this in the Club Hall. The Parish Clerk duly contacted the LFC to enquire about this, but it was confirmed that the whole of the building is in full use by LFC for their various sessions each week. The only storage space available is a small area of roof space over the doorway. The Clerk and the LFC representatives have asked for details of what has to be stored, so that the suitability of the roof space can be considered; but no details have yet been provided. In the meantime, the Scouts’ representative wondered if a portion of the grassed area surrounding the hall may be used to place storage containers. However, the Clerk has confirmed that the terms of the lease between DCC and the Parish Council for the land in question specifically prevents its use for anything other than a “memorial garden”. Similarly, the car park cannot be used for any other purpose either.
It was agreed that Cllr Wood would circulate a written summary of the above situation, in preparation for a formal response to be prepared to the Scouts’ representative on the matter of his request to see a copy of the licence between the Council and the LFC, and the question of the storage of their equipment anywhere on the said land in the building.
18. FINANCE AND POLICY RELATED CORRESPONDENCE
The Parish Clerk reported on the following items of correspondence:
- A regular newsletter publication from Fields In Trust.
- Advice from PDC that they have paid part 1 of the 2015/16 precept, plus the Council Tax Support Grant, into the Council’s HSBC Community Savings bank account.
Cllr Colvey confirmed that he will write to Primrose Solar regarding the lack of timely response to the Council’s formal application for the grant for the Village Hall toilets refurbishment project.
19. MATTERS OF INTEREST AND INFORMATION RELATED TO FINANCE AND POLICY
Cllr Colvey confirmed that the drafted letter to DCC Councillor Peter Finney regarding matters noted on his site visit to the village last year is now ready to send.
There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 21:04
Annotated by/on …………………………. Approved by/on ………………………