Venue: Council Chamber, The White House, Hockliffe Street, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, LU7 1HD
Contact: Committee Officer 01525 631920 & Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Apologies for absence had been received and were accepted from Councillors R Berry, C Chambers, P Snelling and B Spurr.
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).
Members were asked to declare any interests, and the nature of those interests, that they might have in any of the items under consideration at the meeting.
It was noted that all Members had an interest in the agenda item Council Operations.
(a) To receive questions and statements from members of the public as provided for in Standing Order Nos.3 (f) and 3 (g)
(b) To receive questions from Councillors as provided for in Standing Order No.27, provided three clear days’ notice of the question has been given to the person to whom it is addressed.
(a) No further questions had been received from members of the public.
(b) No questions had been received from Councillors.
To receive a report (to follow) regarding the implementation of emergency operational pocedures to ensure business continuity in light of potential Government measures in addressing the current COVID-19 pandemic and to consider the recommendation/s contained therein.
Council received a verbal update in respect of the measures taken within the last four days as a result of the Government guidelines introduced on Monday, 16 March.
In response to queries raised at the Annual Parish Meeting, the Town Council had taken a role in the establishment of a Leighton-Linslade COVID-19 Task Force, developed from a Leighton-Linslade Helpers group set up on social media by two local volunteers and now with hundreds of members. Group representatives had now met twice and activity was being directed through the Central Bedfordshire emergency response team in line with their emergency protocols. This would ensure structure, a cohesive approach and protect all involved.
Whilst a Central Bedfordshire response was under development, local volunteers were taking the lead in providing emergency food parcels to those in need. ID cards and t-shirts had been ordered. It was proposed that one of the Town Council premises be used for dry temporary storage. Local businesses were being encouraged to support the community through the introduction of home delivery services. It had been suggested that the bandstand be used for open air church services with appropriate social distancing in place. Town Council vehicle insurance had been amended.
Overall, it was felt that a positive response had been given to the community within a very short space of time. In a constantly changing situation, Central Bedfordshire emergency teams would provide direction and act as a triage service for both helpers and those in need of help. Whilst information was being widely shared online, it was recognised that there was an urgent need to reach out further and it was hoped that a flyer could shortly be delivered to as many households as possible.
Council expressed huge thanks to all those involved and in particular the volunteers who had been instrumental in setting up the community response group.
Discussion took place regarding the importance of communications. It was noted that the well-meaning actions had been largely community driven and had taken place at breakneck speed since Monday. With a number of staff now home working and normal Town Council operations turned upside down within the space of a few days, this had proven difficult but it was agreed that new communications mechanisms would be put in place to keep the Council informed.
Discussion took place about the measures introduced by Government to address COVID-19 and the importance of recognising and adhering to these as far as possible was stressed.
Council had received a report in advance of the meeting regarding proposed changes to Town Council operations in the face of new pandemic measures. It was noted that very little time had been available to devise recommendations and that the situation had changed further in the two days since the report had been issued. A number of amendments were proposed and discussed.
A vote took place on the proposed changes to operations and it was noted that further changes were likely. It was likely that most resources would be diverted to ... view the full minutes text for item 89.
EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC
The Council 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:
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 staffing matters.
To receive and consider report/s in respect of staffing matters (to follow) and to consider the recommendation/s contained therein.
Council received and considered two reports regarding staffing matters.
The first report was in respect of organisational change.
(i) To note the report.
(ii) To endorse the completion of the Town Council’s organisational change process for those affected by creating two new posts of: Grounds and Environmental Services Pavilions Supervisor/Handyman (SCP 24-28) and Grounds and Environmental Services Groundsperson (SCP 17-21), taking effect from 1 April 2020.
The second report was in respect of Central and Democratic Services staffing.
(iii) The fixed term contract for maternity leave cover for the Senior Administration Officer for 25 hours/week until November 2020 be amended to full time hours from 1 April 2020 until 31 December 2020.
(iv) The cost of the amendments be partially met by utilising salary budget arising from the recent organisational change, earmarked for venue promotion and community facilitating, with the remainder met from 2019/20 revenue budget underspend for professional fees and insurance.
(v) Any underspend of professional fees and insurance budgets in 2019/20 be transferred to the Professional Fees earmarked reserve at year end, with the shortfall resulting from the proposed arrangements met from this earmarked reserve.
(vi) Proposed arrangements from 1 January 2021 to be reviewed at the October meeting of the Personnel Sub-Committee (if possible), in order for the appropriate budget recommendations to be put forward for the 2021/22 salary budget.
It was noted that recruitment for the maternity leave cover of the Administration Officer might be delayed as a result of changes to workload arising from the COVID-19 crisis.