Agenda and minutes

Policy & Finance Committee
Monday, 17th September, 2018 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, The White House, Hockcliffe Street, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 1HD.

Contact: Committee Officer  01525 631920 & Email: info@leightonlinslade-tc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

394/PF

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Schedule 12 of the Local Government Act 1972 requires a record be kept of the Members present and that this record form part of the minutes of the meeting. Members who cannot attend a meeting should tender apologies to the Town Clerk.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors J M Freeman and R Berry.

 

395/PF

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

i)     Under the Localism Act 2011 (sections 26-37 and Schedule 4) and in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct, Members are required to declare any interests which are not currently entered in the Member’s Register of Interests or if he/she has not notified the Monitoring Officer of it.

 

(ii) Should any Member have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in an item on the agenda, the Member may not participate in consideration of that item unless a Dispensation has first been requested (in writing) and granted by the Council (see Dispensation Procedure).

Minutes:

Members were asked to declare any interests, including the nature of those interests, which they had in any of the items under consideration at this meeting.

 

Councillor C Palmer declared a personal interest in agenda item 7 (Payments) as the list of payments included a payment relating to Leighton-Linslade in Bloom, of which his wife was a committee member.

396/PF

QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC (3 minutes per person; maximum 15 minutes)

To receive questions and statements from members of the public in respect of any item of business included in the agenda, as provided for in Standing Order No.s 1(f) and 1(h).

Minutes:

There were no questions from members of the public.

397/PF

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To receive and approve as a correct record the minutes of the Policy & Finance Committee meeting held on 30 July 2018

Minutes:

The Committee received the minutes of the Policy and Finance Committee meeting held on 30 July 2018 for consideration.

 

Minute reference 385/PF: a question was raised regarding the remaining £2,500 grant funding for Friends of Leighton-Linslade in Bloom and whether this had now been received.

 

Minute reference 383/PF: Committee Objectives and Work Plan – the Community Emergency Plan project had been delayed due to ill health but it was hoped this would resume in the near future. 

 

Minute reference 393/PF: Land East of Leighton Linslade – it was confirmed the Town Clerk had written to Eggington and Stanbridge Parish Councils and copied in Central Bedfordshire Council.  No response had been received yet but it was noted consultation would be taking place in January 2019.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Policy and Finance Committee meeting held on 30 July 2018 be approved as a correct record and were signed accordingly.

398/PF

COMMITTEE OBJECTIVES AND WORK PLAN pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To receive and note progress with the Committee objectives and work plan for 2018-2019 (attached).

Minutes:

The Committee received a report summarising the key responsibilities of the Committee, as well as the objectives within the Town Council’s Three Year Plan 2015-2018 which fell within the remit of the Committee. 

 

It was noted that the External Auditor’s report 2017-18 had not been received and it was hoped it would be available within the next week.

 

RESOLVED to note the Committee Work Plan and Objectives for 2018-

2019.

399/PF

RECOMMENDATIONS pdf icon PDF 370 KB

To consider the following recommendations:

 

(i)            From the Market Sub-Committee of 16 August 2018 in respect of re-profiling the market budget.

 

(ii)          From the Grounds & Environmental Services Committee of 10 September 2018 in respect of a draft policy for Unauthorised Encampment Management.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(i)         The Committee received a recommendation from the Market Sub-Committee of 16 August 2018 in respect of re-profiling the market budget (Minute reference 113/MK).

 

RESOLVED to endorse the reprofiled Street Market budget (cost centre (412) in order to address the shortfall in allocated budget to cover the cost of security.

 

(ii)        The Committee received a recommendation from the Grounds & Environmental Services Committee on 10 September 2018 in respect of a draft policy for Unauthorised Encampment Management (Minute reference 137/GE).

 

RECOMMENDED to Council to endorse the Unauthorised Encampment Management Policy as follows:

 

i)          The Town Council will by way of appropriate and measured target hardening take all reasonable steps to avoid the potential for future unauthorised encampments to take place on Town council land.

 

ii)         That delegated powers be afforded to the Town Clerk in respects of dealing with unauthorised encampments should and when they occur.

400/PF

JULY PAYMENTS pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive and note the schedule of payments made in July 2018 (attached) (approved for payment by the Town Clerk and two bank signatories).

Minutes:

The Committee received a schedule of payments which had previously been approved for payment by the Town Clerk and countersigned by two account signatories.         

 

The schedule for July, dated 19 July 2018, included BACS payments amounting to £158,510.97 (page number 2399, 2403-2416) and cheque payments amounting to £2756.24 (cheque numbers 17258-17270), including White House petty cash amounting to £33.00, Astral Park £92.39 and TACTIC £63.56.

 

The monthly salaries listing for July 2018 amounting to £96,775.23 gross was received.  A cash book report for July 2018, including details of all direct debit payments, was also received.

 

It was noted that all payments had been made within the budget and that there were no irregularities to be drawn to the attention of the Committee.

 

RESOLVED to note the schedule of accounts for July 2018.

401/PF

COMMUNICATIONS UPDATE pdf icon PDF 336 KB

To receive and note a communications update report (attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report and work plan in respect of communications, including the Town Council website, social media channels and overall communications strategy.  All websites were being reviewed with development plans being produced in conjunction with officers involved.

 

It was noted that Data Dashboards had now been implemented for all four websites and Members agreed this was an important tool to measure social media interaction. 

 

It was suggested that an on-line form be introduced to allow members of the public to raise any concerns they may have. This would be given consideration as part of the website development plan. Future proposals relating to the websites management would be presented to the Committee at its next meeting.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

 

402/PF

RISK REGISTER ACTION PLAN UPDATE pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To receive and note an update report regarding the 2018-19 Risk Register Action Plan.

 

Minutes:

The Committee received a report giving a mid-year update on the risk register action plan for 2018-2019.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

 

403/PF

EXTERNAL AUDITOR'S REPORT 2017-2018

To receive and consider the external Auditor’s report for 2017-2018 (if received).

Minutes:

The Committee was advised that the report had not yet been received but it was anticipated that this would be presented to Council at its next meeting.

404/PF

MOD.GOV - REVIEW OF FIRST THREE MONTHS

To receive and note a brief verbal update regarding Mod.gov meetings management software.

Minutes:

The Committee received a verbal update regarding the first three months use of the Mod.gov management software.  A few issues had been identified but Members agreed the transition to using Mod.gov had been smooth and any problems would be addressed.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

405/PF

CENTRAL SERVICES BUDGETS pdf icon PDF 133 KB

To receive a report regarding Central Services budgets and to consider the recommendation/s contained therein.

Minutes:

The Committee received and considered a report which proposed the re-profiling of several central services budget lines for 2019-20. 

 

RESOLVED to:

 

i)          note the report.

ii)         endorse the proposed budget reprofiling for a number of central services for 2019-2020, as outlined at 4.1 in the report (total to remain unchanged at £39,500).

iii)        endorse an increase in the IT support budget by £756 from 2019-2020, to reflect the additional email licensing costs.

406/PF

STANDING ORDERS pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To receive a report regarding Standing Orders and to consider the recommendation/s contained therein.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report to consider forming a Task & Finish Group to review potential amendments to Standing Orders, as a result of revised Model Standing Orders issued in April 2018 by NALC.

 

Councillors E Wallace, C Palmer and S Jones expressed an interest in being part of the Task and Finish group.

 

RESOLVED to establish a Task & Finish Group of no less than 4 Councillors to review existing Standing Orders and the revised NALC model Standing Orders, with a view to recommendations being made to the Policy and Finance Committee at its meeting on 21 January 2019.

407/PF

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To receive a report regarding the Community Engagement Strategy (attached) and to consider the recommendation/s contained therein.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received and considered a report to endorse the revised Community Engagement Strategy which would set out the range of ways in which the Town Council communicated with the public.

 

RESOLVED to endorse the revised Community Engagement Strategy.

408/PF

EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC

The Committee may consider it appropriate to consider the following resolution should they consider that any discussion would be prejudicial to the public interests: that, under the Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960, the public be excluded on the grounds of the confidential nature of the business about to be transacted which involves the likely disclosure of exempt information. The public and press to withdraw from the meeting during consideration of detailed discussion regarding:

 

i.              Telecomms Provider

ii.            Professional fees (attached)

Minutes:

RESOLVED that, under the Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960, the public be excluded on the grounds of the confidential nature of the business about to be transacted which involves the likely disclosure of exempt information.  The public and press to withdraw from the meeting during consideration of detailed discussion regarding:

 

i.          Telecomms provider

ii.         Professional fees

409/PF

TELECOMMS PROVIDER

Minutes:

The Committee received and considered a report in respect of telecoms provider for Council owned premises.

 

RESOLVED to -

 

1.1       note the report

1.2       endorse the renewal of our current contract to include the two additional sites (Astral Park and TACTIC) telephone lines and internet services.

1.3       note the upfront cost of £340.88 and monthly cost of £326.80 to be funded within the existing telephone budget.

410/PF

PROFESSIONAL FEES

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report regarding legal matters and was asked to consider recommending to Council, subject to its decision on 24 September 2018 regarding legal matters, to draw down funds from reserves to supplement the existing Professional Fees earmarked reserve (which presently stood at £10,000).

 

RECOMMENDED to Council that, subject to its decision regarding legal matters on 24 September 2018, up to £20,000 be drawn down from Town Council reserves to meet a likely shortfall in the Professional Fees Earmarked reserve.