Agenda and minutes

Policy & Finance Committee - Monday, 21st June, 2021 7.30 pm

Venue: Astral Park Sports & Community Centre, Johnson Drive, Leighton Buzzard LU7 4AY

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

Items
No. Item

235/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 had been received from Councillor Owen ( substituted by Councillor P Snelling).

236/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:

Councillor Palmer declared a personal interest as a member of Friends of Leighton-Linslade in Bloom (referenced in the payments and budget monitoring reports).

 

No pecuniary interests were declared and no dispensations were requested.

237/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).

 

Members of the public are very welcome to attend the meeting but are asked to note that attendance numbers must be limited to mitigate for Covid-19 risks. Please contact us to advise if you wish to attend before 4pm on the day of the meeting. Written representations may also be submitted before 4pm on the day of the meeting

Minutes:

There were no questions from the public.

238/PF

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 321 KB

Minutes:

(a)       The Committee received the minutes of the Policy & Finance Committee Meeting held 19 April 2021.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Policy & Finance Committee held on the 19 April 2021 be approved as a correct record and were signed accordingly.

 

(b)       Any updates needed would be covered in the meeting.

239/PF

APRIL & MAY PAYMENTS 2021 pdf icon PDF 811 KB

To receive and note the schedule of April invoices paid in May 2021 and May invoices paid in June 2021 (attached) (approved for payment by the Town Clerk and two bank signatories).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Committee received schedules of payments for April 2021 and May 2021 which had previously been approved for payment by the Town Clerk and countersigned by two signatories.  There were no anomalies or matters of concern to draw to the attention of the Committee.

 

The schedule for April 2021 dated 26 April 2021 included BACS payments amounting to £223,405.92 (page numbers 2878-2894) including petty cash payments to TACTIC of £85.10 and The Whitehouse of £124.28. The monthly salaries listing for April 2021 amounting to £93,387.62 gross was received.   A cash book report for April 2021, including details of all direct debit payments, was also received.

 

The schedule for May 2021 dated 26 May 2021 included BACS payments amounting to £141,302.57 (page numbers 2896-2907). The monthly salaries listing for May 2021 amounting to £94,021.51 gross was received.   A cash book report for May 2021, including details of all direct debit payments, was also received.

 

RESOLVED to receive the schedules of payments for April and May 2021, which had been approved for payment by the Town Clerk and two councillor signatories.

240/PF

COMMITTEE OBJECTIVES AND WORK PLAN pdf icon PDF 295 KB

(a)   To receive and consider the draft Committee work plan and objections for 2021-22 (attached).

 

(b)   To consider a request to move Tendering & Procurement to the September 2021 meeting (officers due to undertake SLCC training in July 2021) and to replace this with the mid-term review of the Five Year Plan & Objectives in July 2021.

 

Minutes:

 

(a)       The Committee received the Committee work plan and objectives for 2021-22.

 

RESOLVED to note the committee work plan and objectives for 2020-21.

 

A question was raised regarding the Winter Salt policy due to be discussed at the September meeting and whether the Town Council was liaising with Central Bedfordshire Council on this matter.  This work had not yet been started but contact would be made before the September meeting.

 

(b)       The Committee received a request to move Tendering & Procurement to the September 2021 meeting, due to officers receiving SLCC training in July 2021. It was suggested in its place to bring forward the mid term updates to the Five Year Plan & Objectives at the July 2021 meeting.

 

RESOLVED to move Tendering & Procurement to the September 2021 meeting and replace with the mid-term update of the Five-Year Plan & Objectives in July 2021.

241/PF

SUB COMMITTEE TERMS OF REFERENCE pdf icon PDF 135 KB

To review and consider whether any changes are required to Sub-Committee Terms of Reference (attached).

 

Minutes:

The Committee received and considered whether changes were required to the Sub-Committee Terms of Reference. A minor change was made to the Grants & Awards Sub Committee, to replace Honorary Burgess award with Community Volunteer Award.

 

RESOLVED to replace the wording in the Grants & Awards Sub Committee from Honorary Burgess award to Community Volunteer Award.

242/PF

MAKING MEETINGS ACCESSIBLE POLICY pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To review and consider recommending to Council approval of a Making Meetings Accessible Policy (draft attached).

 

Minutes:

The Committee received the new Makings Meetings Accessible Policy and considered whether to recommend to Council to be endorsed.   Some minor amendments were suggested one to the Meeting details section regarding choice of seats and the other for wording in the Hearing impairment section. 

 

RECOMMENDED to Council to endorse the Town Council’s Making Meetings Accessible Policy once minor amendments had been made.

243/PF

INTERNAL AUDIT REPORT: FINAL UPDATE 2020-2021 pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To receive the Internal Audit Report (Final Update) for 2020-2021 (attached) and to consider any recommendation/s contained therein.

 

Minutes:

The Committee received the final internal audit report for 2020-21 and noted that no issues had been identified. It was recognised that the Council was continuing to operate a sound, pro-active approach to risk management and corporate governance issues, together with the development and management of effective internal controls and procedural documentation.  The Committee expressed thanks to officers for another excellent report.

 

RESOLVED to note the internal audit report: final update 2020-2021.

244/PF

ANNUAL GOVERNANCE STATEMENT & STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS 2020-2021 pdf icon PDF 369 KB

(a)       To receive a report following the end of year accounts for 2020-2021 (attached) and to consider the recommendation/s contained therein.

 

(b)       Further to the annual governance review presented to Committee on 19 April 2021, to consider recommending to Council approval of Section 1 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (the annual governance statement for 2020-2021) (attached).

 

(c)        To receive and consider recommending approval to Council of Section 2 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (the accounting statements for year ended 31 March 2021) (attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)       The Committee received a report regarding the outturn at the end of the financial year 2020-2021. Despite the impact of the pandemic on income, savings had also been made on expenditure, leaving the Council in a strong position at the end of the financial year. It was proposed that funds be moved into a new earmarked reserve for the purpose of facilities improvements to accommodate changes in working practices, Council meeting practices and to work towards changes resulting from the Equalities and Environmental ambitions adopted by the Council.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.

 

RECOMMENDED to Council:

 

(i)         to endorse the creation of a Facilities Improvements Earmarked Reserve of £137,754 for the purposes of making town council facilities more resilient in the wake of the pandemic and where considered appropriate to consider introducing measures to meet the town council’s environmental ambitions.

(ii)        To agree to the draw down of a maximum of £3,000 from the Facilities Improvements Earmarked Reserve to enable any Covid compliant changes to be made when considered appropriate and necessary to do so.

 

(b)       The Committee received and considered Section 1 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return which had been presented as part of the annual governance review to Committee on 19 April 202.  

 

RECOMMENDED to Council that Section 1 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (the Annual Governance Statement) for the year ended 31 March 2021 be approved and signed.                     

           

(c)        The Committee received Section 2 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return for the year ended 31 March 2021 and recommended to Council for approval.

 

RECOMMENDED to Council that Section 2 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (the Annual Governance Statement) for the year ended 31 March 2021 be approved and signed.

245/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 interest: 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: Planning Consultant Report.

 

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: Planning Consultant Report.

246/PF

PLANNING CONSULTANT REPORT

Minutes:

The Committee received and considered a report commissioned in respect of developing a planning led policy and discussed what next steps should be taken following the report.  Members agreed more time was needed to consider the information contained in the report and the implications for whichever course of action was determined.

 

It was agreed to make available additional funding for further work to inform a detailed report to the September meeting of the Committee on the advantages and disadvantages, plus the resourcing implications and costs of the recommended course of action. It was anticipated that at the September meeting, further discussion would result in recommendation/s to the September Council meeting.

 

RESOLVED to approve expenditure of up to £2,500 from the Professional Fees earmarked reserve 9035/920 for the purpose of sourcing additional planning consultancy work.

 

RESOLVED to request a more detailed report in respect of developing a planning led policy be brought to the September meeting of the Policy and Finance Committee.

247/PF

TWELVE MONTH BUDGET MONITORING REPORT pdf icon PDF 292 KB

To receive and note the 12-month budget monitoring report for the period 1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021(attached).

 

Minutes:

The Committee received the twelve-month budget monitoring report for the period April 2020 – 31 March 2021. No queries were raised by Committee. Thanks were given to colleagues for their consistent support to the Town Council during a difficult period.  Members were informed the Council was in a reasonably strong position going forward and expenditure had been reduced to counteract the fall in income during 2020-21 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

A question was raised whether any refunds or discounts had been given when services were not required due to closures during the pandemic lockdown.  Some contracts had continued (e.g. cleaning of public conveniences) but others had been paused or delayed to effect savings during closure periods (e.g. pavilions cleaning, confidential shredding).

 

RESOLVED to note the report.