Policy and Resources Committee Meeting
POLICY AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE AGENDA
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a meeting of Eccleshall Parish Council Policy and Resources Committee will be held on Wednesday 7th September, 2022, Eccleshall Community Centre, after the meeting of the Planning Committee.
2. To approve the minutes of the last meeting on June 8th, 2022
3. Budget update 2022/23
4. To consider preliminary planning for the budget and precept 2023/24
5. To introduce the Civility and Respect Pledge and to agree action to revise related policy documentation in order to adhere to recommendations. https://www.slcc.co.uk/news-publications/civility-respect-pledge/
6. To consider alternatives to the NatWest Online banking account.
7. To receive the updated Business Plan and consider recommendation for adoption.
8. To receive the latest Public Sector Deposit Fund factsheet.
9. Consideration of Grant Requests:-
- None were received by the date the agenda was issued.
- To consider the recommendations from the Staffing Committee with regards to staffing resource requirements.
- To consider and approve attendance costs for the Clerk to attend the SLCC National Conference 2-3 Nov (online option).
11. Items for next meeting
12. Date of next meeting
S. J. Worden………
Clerk to the Council – 01/09/2022
ECCLESHALL PARISH COUNCIL – POLICY AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE – Wednesday, September 7th 2022
A meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee was held on Wednesday, September 7th 2022, following the planning committee meeting, at 8.15pm.
1). Present were:-
Councillor P. Jones (Chair) Councillor R. Taylor
Councillor J. Jones Councillor C. Wilkins
Councillor G. Dale Councillor L. Dale
Councillor A. Reid
Mrs S. J. Worden (Clerk)
No members of the Public
1). Apologies:- Apologies were received from Councillor Perren
2). Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday June 8th 2022:-
The minutes, which had previously been noted by the Council, were agreed and signed.
3). Budget update 2022/23:-
Prior to the meeting, the Clerk circulated an updated report detailing balances and expenditure to date against the budget.
This report was accepted by members and no concerns noted. Expenditure is as expected.
4). Preliminary planning for the budget and precept 2023/24:
The current challenging financial climate was discussed and that at present it would be prudent to factor in an inflation rate of 10% into next years budget. Committees will be asked to advise planned activities and budget requirements to assist in the budget process and also to prioritise those activities. There will be a reduction in income by £2,500 to take into account due to withdrawal of the bloom grant.
The committee noted community groups may experience financial difficulties and it was agreed the Clerk will increase the grant budget to £3,000 for consideration by the council as part of the budget review.
5). Consideration of the Civility and Respect Pledge and actions to revise related policy documentation in order to adhere to recommendations:
Members were provided with a copy of the pledge which councils are being asked to sign. The pledge details agreement to the following actions:
- has put in place a training programme for councillors and staff
- has signed up to the Code of Conduct for councillors
- has good governance arrangements in place including staff contracts and a Dignity at Work policy
- will seek professional help at early stages should civility and respect issues arise
- will commit to calling out bullying and harassment if and when it happens
- will continue to learn from best practice in the sector and aspire to being a role model / champion council e.g., via Local Council Award Scheme
- supports the continued lobbying for change in legislation to support the civility and respect, including sanctions for elected members where appropriate
In order to be able to sign the pledge, the Council will need to adopt a newly revised Dignity at work Policy. It was resolved to recommend the Clerk adapts the policy template for the Parish Council and once adopted, to recommend that the Parish Council signs the pledge which will be recorded at a national level to show support for the continued lobbying for legislation.
6). To consider alternatives to the NatWest Online banking account:
Following identification that the current NatWest service is not fit for purpose, members considered alternative accounts that were able to offer the required level of security for online access as well as being highly recommended. It was resolved to recommend approval to switch both the current and reserve accounts to Unity Trust Bank. The account will cost £6/month, which will be offset by the current administration time taken to manually raise cheques and the stationery/postage costs.
7). Consideration of the proposed updated Business Plan:
The updated draft of the updated Business Plan was circulated prior to the meeting for review. It has been updated to reflect the current council structure, recent achievements, financial updates and future ideas. It was noted that the document is not intended to be restrictive and should other opportunities be presented the Council will be flexible in considering these. It was resolved to recommend adoption of the updated document, now called ‘Eccleshall, The Way Forward’. Thanks were expressed to the working group for their work. The document will be available online on a dedicated webpage and it was also resolved to recommend a small number of copies printed as library reference copies.
8). To receive the latest Public Sector Deposit Fund factsheet.
The latest report was received by the committee. It was observed that although the rate of return is lower than other commercial investment opportunities, parish councils are limited in the choice of suitable low risk investment products and that it is outperforming the standard reserve account.
9). Consideration of Grant Requests
There were no requests for consideration.
- The recommendations from the Staffing Committee with regards to staffing resource requirement was considered and it was resolved to recommend that there is no need to fill the temporary Assistant Clerk post for the remainder of the contract. Activities will be delivered with the current resource available and this will be reviewed should any large projects such as a Neighbourhood Plan review require additional support.
- Members considered the benefits of attendance for the Clerk to attend the SLCC National Conference on the 2-3rd Whilst there is an online option that allows access to a number of the sessions it was felt the Clerk and Council would gain greater benefit from attendance in person, if the Clerk is able to do this. It was resolved to recommend that the Clerk attends the conference in person at a cost of £385.
11). Items for next meeting:-
Any items for the next meeting can be forwarded to the Clerk
12). Date of next meeting:- Wednesday 7th December 2022, following the planning committee meeting.
There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 8.55pm.