Agenda and minutes

Policy & Finance Committee - Monday, 18th November, 2019 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

57/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 Councillor D Scott.

 

 

58/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. No declarations were made.

59/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 3(f) and 3(g).

Minutes:

There were no questions from the public.

 

60/PF

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 89 KB

To receive and approve as a correct record the minutes of the Policy & Finance Committee meeting held on 16 September 2019.

Minutes:

The Committee received the minutes of the Policy and Finance Committee meeting held on 16 September 2019 for consideration.

 

Minute reference 48/PF Planning Policy: a question was raised regarding the decision to defer any further consideration of a Neighbourhood Plan for twelve months.  It was noted that a six-month delay had originally been proposed, but that as Central Bedfordshire officers were not due to present an update to the Partnership Committee until February 2020, a twelve month delay had then been proposed as being more realistic. It was hoped that Central Bedfordshire officers understood that the Town Council expected something substantial from them in February 2020 to justify the decision to set aside progression of a Neighbourhood Plan. It was agreed to chase up Central Bedfordshire Council on the proposed workshop with stakeholders, which needed to take place prior to the Partnership Committee meeting on 6 February 2020.

 

Minute reference 51/PF Communication Update: it was suggested that the electronic signs, although considered successful in terms of helping to provide information to the community, had been received with mixed views by residents.

Also on Communications, a query had previously been raised about the cost of printing and delivering paper copies of the About Town newsletter to households. The Committee was advised that distributing six editions of the newsletter to every house in the Parish would cost in the region of £17,000.

 

Minute reference 53/PF Policing: a question was raised regarding appropriate accommodation for the police in the town.  Chief Inspector David Boyle was due to speak at the Council meeting in January 2020.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Policy and Finance Committee meeting held on 16 September 2019 be approved as a correct record and were signed accordingly.

 

61/PF

COMMUNITY GOVERNANCE REVIEW

By invitation, Brian Dunleavy of Central Bedfordshire Council will attend the meeting in respect of boundary reviews.

Minutes:

By invitation, Brian Dunleavy of Central Bedfordshire Council attended the meeting to discuss the issue of a Community Governance Review in respect of ward and parish boundaries. The Council had effectively been barred from taking any further action in respect of a Governance Review until the current Electoral Review had been completed. This had originally been due for completion by August 2020 but was now delayed until November 2020, due to the General Election.

 

Once the Electoral Review was complete, Central Bedfordshire Council would anticipate the Town Council approaching them to request a Governance Review. This would be difficult for the local authority if no such approach had also been made by Eggington Parish Council. A decision on a Governance Review would be made by the Central Bedfordshire General Purposes Committee.

 

Discussion took place on elector numbers in the parish and surrounding wards and the impact of the housing growth in the eastern urban extension.

 

The Committee agreed that requesting a boundary review was a matter of urgency for Leighton-Linslade and that a representation should be made to the Boundary Commission at the earliest possible opportunity. It was proposed a Working Party be formed with Councillors Bowater, Freeman, Goodchild, Jones and Scott to ensure the Council’s representations were put forward urgently.

 

It was agreed the Town Clerk would write again to Eggington Parish Council to move this forward.

 

RESOLVED to form a Working Party on Boundary Review, comprised of Councillors Bowater, Goodchild, Jones, Freeman and Scott. 

 

 

62/PF

POLLING DISTRICTS pdf icon PDF 39 KB

To consider a response to the Central Bedfordshire Council consultation regarding polling districts.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received and considered the Central Bedfordshire Council consultation regarding polling districts and polling stations. It was noted that this was a first stage and that a further consultation might be required depending on the outcomes of the Electoral Review.

 

RESOLVED to note the current Central Bedfordshire Council consultation regarding polling districts and polling stations.

 

63/PF

SUB-COMMITTEE MINUTES pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To receive the following draft minutes and to consider any recommendation/s contained therein:

 

(a)  Personnel Sub-Committee 14 October 2019

(b)  Community Safety Sub-Committee 21 October 2019

(c)  Grants and Awards Sub-Committee 4 November 2019

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the draft minutes of the Personnel Sub-Committee held on 14 October 2019.

 

Item ref 18/PR Astral Park Task and Finish Group: it was confirmed the organisational change process would begin next week.

 

RESOLVED to receive the draft minutes of the Personnel Sub-Committee held on 14 October 2019.

 

The Committee received the draft minutes of the Community Sub-Committee meeting held on 21 October 2019.

 

Minute reference 16/CS Homeless Service Update: Councillor Harvey informed the Committee that due to pre-election purdah, no communications on Homelessness or rough sleeping were currently being issued by Central Bedfordshire Council.  The Leighton-Linslade Homeless Service was developing its own communications.  In order to provide information to residents about the support services available to those in need, a page had been added to the Town Council website.

 

Minute reference 21/CS Operational Policing: it was noted that the accommodation available at the Hub would be discussed again in January 2020.

 

RESOLVED to receive the draft minutes of the Community Safety Sub-Committee held on 21 October 2019.

 

The Committee received the draft minutes of the meeting of the Grants & Awards Sub-Committee held on 4 November 2019 and gave consideration to the recommendations contained therein, in respect of Guaranteed Grants and General Grants Schemes from 2020-2021 and Community Awards from 2021 (Minute reference 09/GA).

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(i)           No changes be made to grant criteria and guidelines for 2020 onwards, beyond minor amendments to ensure consistency and to bring up to date.

(ii)          No changes be made to the four year term of Guaranteed Grants.

(iii)        No changes be made to the £500 maximum for General Grants.

(iv)        No change be made to the annual budget of £10,000 for General Grants at this time (demand to be monitored).

(v)          The budget for Guaranteed Grants for 2020-21 be increased to a maxiumum of £35,000 (to be reduced thereafter if not fully allocated to approved applicants).

 

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)           To launch the Leighton-Linslade Community Volunteer Awards in 2021.

(ii)          That nominees for the award should have given at least 5 years of voluntary service to the benefit of the town.

(iii)        To remove the current prohibition on nominations for those who had served on the last Town council administration

(iv)        That awards be presented each year at the Civic Service.

(v)          To continue the tradition that normally a maximum of three awards would be given each year (giving scope to increase this in extraordinary circumstances).

(vi)        To maintain the existing budget provision of £300 per year.

(vii)       To delegate to the Town Clerk authority to determine the nature of the actual award to be presented.

(viii)     To invite the TACTIC Youth Forum to put forward suggestions for a suitable award scheme for young people.

 

 

Minute reference 11/GA (Nominations for 2020 Honorary Burgess Award): the recommendation for approval of three nominations for the 2020 Honorary Burgess Award would be taken forward to the next Policy and Finance Committee Meeting on 20 January 2020 to enable more detail to be received and consent obtained  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63/PF

64/PF

COMMITTEE OBJECTIVES AND WORK PLAN pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To receive and consider the committee work plan for 2019-2020 (attached).

Minutes:

The Committee received and considered the Work Plan and Objectives for 2019-2020.  A query was raised regarding the content. It was noted that some actions were on work plans for other standing committees and that other actions would be added as a result of the decisions made by Committee at this meeting.

 

RESOLVED to note the Committee Work Plan and Objectives for

2019-2020.   

 

65/PF

SIX MONTH BUDGET MONITORING REPORT pdf icon PDF 680 KB

To receive a budget monitoring report for the period April – October 2019 (attached).

Minutes:

The Committee received the six-month budget monitoring report for the period April – October 2019. No queries were raised by Committee.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

 

66/PF

OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER PAYMENTS 2019 pdf icon PDF 1014 KB

To receive and note the schedule of payments made in October 2019 (attached) and November 2019 (to follow) (approved for payment by the Town Clerk and two bank signatories).

Additional documents:

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.  There were no anomalies or matters of concern to draw to the attention of the Committee.   

     

The schedule for October 2019 dated 23 September 2019, included BACS payments amounting to £253,007.71 (page numbers 2634, 2638 to 2649 and cheque payments amounting to £633.36 (cheque numbers 174432-17450), including White House petty cash amounting to £87.90, Astral Park £222.98 and TACTIC £24.53.

 

The monthly salaries listing for October 2019 amounting to £97,447.44 gross was received.  A cash book report for October 2019, including details of all direct debit payments, was also received.

 

The schedule for November 2019 dated 14 October 2019 included BACS payments amounting to £278,940.70 (page numbers 2650-2651, 2655-2668)) and cheque payments amounting to £5,468.37 (cheque numbers 17451-17464), including White House petty cash amounting to £50.02, Astral Park £63.22 and TACTIC £19.00).

 

The monthly salaries listing for November 2019 amounting to £99,501.81 gross was received.  A cash book report for November 2019, including details of all direct debit payments, was also received.

 

A question was raised regarding the delay in completion of Pages Park Pavilion and whether the fixed price contract for these works covered any variations or if extra costs would be incurred.  The Town Clerk would confirm with the Head of Grounds as to the terms of the contract.

 

RESOLVED to note the schedule of accounts for October and November 2019.

 

67/PF

ELECTION COSTS pdf icon PDF 97 KB

(a)  To receive a breakdown of 2019 election costs (attached) and to approve (retrospectively) the payment of costs from earmarked reserves.

 

(b)  To receive a report regarding election costs and to consider the recommendation/s contained therein (attached)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a breakdown of costs provided by Central Bedfordshire Council in respect of the 2019 local council elections.

 

RESOLVED that the election costs of £34,664.45 be paid from the earmarked reserve set aside for this purpose (9029/920).

 

The Committee received a report regarding election costs and considered recommendations contained therein. At the current rate of setting aside £7,500 per year, it was anticipated that there would be insufficient funds to meet the costs of the next scheduled elections in 2023. In addition, it was proposed that funds be built up to include incidental costs resulting from the elections.

 

RESOLVED to:

 

(i)     approve an increase in the annual revenue budget line for elections (4332/20) to at least £11,000 per annum, from 2020-21 onwards.

(ii)   approve that four yearly election costs continue to be met from the specific earmarked reserve for this purpose (9029/920).

 

68/PF

VOLUNTEER POLICY UPDATE pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To receive a report regarding Volunteer Strategy (attached) and to consider the recommendations contained therein.

Minutes:

The Committee received and considered a report detailing the proposed timeline of activity to create a revised Volunteer Policy. It was proposed that a series of informal meetings take place with representatives of volunteer groups with which the Council currently worked closely, to discuss the proposed revised Policy and any changes which might be desired by either party.  Any significant changes would then be subject to detailed consideration by the relevant committee.

 

RESOLVED to note the report and the proposed timeline of activity in respect of revisions to the Council’s Volunteering Policy.

 

69/PF

RESERVES POLICY pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To receive and consider recommending to Council a proposed Reserves Policy.

Minutes:

The Committee received and considered a report to seek Member endorsement in respect of adopting a Town Council Reserves Policy. This would provide assurance that the Town Council continued to operate a reserves policy which was transparent and legal.

 

RECOMMENDED to Council that the Reserves Policy be adopted, thereby providing clarity and certainty in the way Town Council reserves were held and for what purpose.

 

70/PF

WHITE HOUSE LIGHTING pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To receive a report regarding White House Lighting and to consider the recommendation contained therein.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report to seek approval on the replacement of lighting in the Town Council offices with LED lighting. Current lighting was becoming obsolete and the proposed change would not only be more efficient but would also reduce carbon emissions.

 

RESOLVED to approve expenditure of up to £4,000 from the White House earmarked reserve (9041/920) to replace existing internal lighting to LED lighting.

 

71/PF

MOTION REGARDING HEALTH SERVICES pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To receive and consider  the  Motion proposed by Councillor S Owen and seconded by Councillor A Gray in respect of health services (attached)

Minutes:

 

The Committee received and considered a motion proposed by Councillor S Owen and seconded by Councillor A Gray in respect of health services within Leighton-Linslade.  It was proposed to create a Town Council Sub-Committee, Task and Finish group or Working party to enable local discussion on the Town’s input to the local health services plan.

 

After discussion the Committee agreed to form a Task and Finish Group to discuss the aims regarding health facilities within the town.  The group would comprise of Councillors Bowater, Owen, Morris, Harvey, Jones, Goodchild with Councillor B Spurr as the Central Bedfordshire representative.

 

An objection had been received from the Leighton Road Surgery Patient Participation Group regarding the wording of point 9 in the Motion report.  The Patients Participation Group are not an official body with powers to inspect or dictate policy and it cannot ‘prevent the deterioration in services’ as mentioned in this report and it was requested this statement be removed from the document.

 

It was noted that following recent activity, some things had already changed since the publication of the Motion but it was agreed by the Committee that seeking answers and progress on healthcare solutions for the town was a priority matter.

 

A suggestion was made to defer the matter until after the General Election as involving the local Member of Parliament would be important in terms of making progress. The Committee decided however to press on more quickly and that a     first meeting of the Task and Finish Group should take place before Christmas if possible, to look at its Terms of Reference and way forward. 

 

RESOLVED to form a Health Services Task and Finish Group to comprise of Councillors D Bowater, S Owen, T Morris, V Harvey, S Jones  and R Goodchild, with Councillor B Spurr invited to join as the Central Bedfordshire representative.

                       

 

72/PF

FIVE YEAR FINANCIAL PLAN pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To receive and consider the latest five year financial plan document (to follow).

Minutes:

The Committee received and considered a report which outlined the most recent position in respect of the 5 Year Financial Plan and the proposed projects which would be included in it. The Plan would continue to be the subject of ongoing review, as Council objectives were taken forward through the standing committees.

             

RESOLVED to:

 

(i)    note the report.

(ii)   note the most recent iteration of the 5 Year Financial Plan for the purposes of informing budget setting for the coming Financial Year 2020-2021.

 

 

73/PF

FIRST DRAFT BUDGET 2020-2021 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

(a)  To consider the recommendation made by the Cultural and Economic Services Committee on 7 October 2019; an increase in the annual event budgets, to commence in financial year 2020/21, by a total of £6,175 to reflect the additional costs experienced within the sector (original background report attached).

 

(b)  To receive a report and first draft of the budget for the financial year 2019-2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a recommendation from the Cultural & Economic Services Committee on 7 October 2019 to increase the annual event budgets in the financial year 2020/21, by a total of £6,715 to reflect the additional costs experienced within the sector.

 

RESOLVED to endorse the recommendation from Cultural & Economic

Services to increase the annual event budgets in the financial year 2020/21, by a total of £6,715.

 

The Committee received the first iteration of the overall draft budget for the financial year 2020-2021, along with a covering report.  The draft budget would now be presented to each standing committee for detailed consideration, prior to a final draft coming to the next meeting of the Committee.

 

RESOLVED to:

 

(i)           Note the report.

(ii)          Note that each standing committee with budgetary responsibility be presented with its own draft budget for consideration and thereafter, for the draft budget to be returned to this committee on 20 January 2020 for its further consideration.