Finance & Town Centre Committee 17th September 2013

Minutes of the meeting of the Finance and Town Centre Committee held on Tuesday 17 September at 6pm at Neston Community and Youth Centre.

Present: Cllrs Shipman (Deputy Chair), Cummins, Griffiths (substitute for Cllr Barker), Jilani, Loch, Marlow, and Mrs A Kunaj (Town Clerk) and Mrs K Pierce (Town Centre Manager)

PART 1: Items considered in the presence of the press and public

At the Chair’s direction and for reasons of expedience, the items for discussion listed on agenda were changed.

Meeting 4

55   Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Barker and were accepted.

56   Questions to the Committee: None.

57   Declarations of Interest. A non-pecuniary declaration of interest was received by Cllr Spacey for item 78 Hip & Harmony, NTC support for Heritage Lottery bid.

58   The minutes of the Finance and Town Centre Committee meeting held on 16.07.13 were approved and signed by the Deputy Chair as a true and correct record.

59       Clerk’s report

  • Portable Appliance Testing for the NTC and TCM office equipment was conducted on 12.09.13.
  • Finance Training: The Clerk has made arrangements for RBS Omega to provide on-line training for the budgets for the ensuing year. The booking has been scheduled for 24 & 25 September and will cost £35 per hour.

65     Town Centre Manager’s Activity report and Proposals

65.1 Members received the Town Centre Manager’s Activity report. Members suggested that it would be helpful for the report to indicate the outcome of meetings or events, as appropriate.

65.2: – Premises Licence

a&b) The Committee considered and resolved that a Premises Licence covering the town centre, its buildings and open spaces be applied and delegated authority be given to the TCM and the Town Centre Advisory Group to define the Licence area, (which will be reported).

c) The Committee asked the TCM to submit a report for consideration indicating who the designated person would be and how this would work in real terms. The Committee agreed ‘in principal’ that in order that alcohol can be sold or made available, a Designated Premises Supervisor should be nominated and the necessary steps to acquire the Personal Licence be taken.

d) Members agreed that the cost for procuring the licences will be considered at the same time as the TCM report as outlined in item 65.2 c (above). The TCM will notify members of the updated rateable value of the Town Hall.       

e).The TCM advised that she had spoken to CWaC about the formation of an NTC hire policy and the production of hire agreement forms. The TCM will produce draft documents for consideration by the F&TC Committee.

65.3 Neston Market Trader event: Members noted that in partnership with CWaC and the Town Centre Manager, a meeting with the Neston Market traders has been scheduled for 20.09.13.

65.4 Town Centre Working Group: Members noted that Neighbourhood Plan member Ceri Lloyd has been selected to join the TCWG. The membership of working group was confirmed as per F&TC minutes 16.07.13, in addition to this the Chamber of Trade is also now represented via Cllr Spacey.

66   Town Centre Manager Office Accommodation and Facilities

BT Land Line and Broadband: Members noted that the BT installation is complete.

67   Section 106

       Members noted that further s106 meetings had not taken place since 09.05.13.

68  Asset Transfer Town Hall, Market & Market Square

Management Agreement with CWaC (item 38.1)

a) Members noted Council’s approval on 30.07.13 item 50 (3) (R1) for the negotiation and terms for the taking over of the Town Hall, Market and Market Square.

b) Members received and considered the report of the negotiations working group on their meeting with CWaC officers on 07.08.13.

c)  Updates from 07.08.13 meeting: Update for the following items were provided.

  • The acquisition of the Markets Operational manual from the CWaC Markets manager.  CWaC have provided an Events Manual as the Markets Operational Manual no longer exists
  • The cleansing contract and confirmation of the intensity of the cleaning required.  Outstanding
  • The heating replacements.  CWaC are to diarise this
  • The feasibility of Wi-Fi at the Town Hall.  To be reviewed by CWaC

d) Financial arrangements: Members noted that a meeting is required with CWaC financial officers in order to;

  • assess what needs to be set up in order to deal with the finance, and
  • assess NTC’s requirement or not to register for VAT.

Members agreed that there would be a lot of financial modelling to address.

The availability of assistance from Omega at a cost of £399 plus VAT was noted.

e) Planned works at Town Hall: The list of ‘Planned works at Town Hall’ was received. The heating repairs/replacement is not listed.

f) Insurance: The out of date inventory of Town Hall fixtures and fittings and the responses received to queries raised by the TCM was considered.

g) Management Agreement: The Committee considered the revised draft Management Agreement prepared by CWaC following the 07.08.13 meeting.

Members noted the following points; the draft agreement did not reflect the position agreed at the 07.08.13 meeting, council would wish to see the large number of outstanding issues tabled and updated before the agreement was signed, there was no inclusion of financial support. Members expressed a desire for the agreement, when updated, to be passed to a Lawyer.                                     

The Committee recommends (R1) to Neston Town Council that;

  • the key information must be received from CWaC prior to the signing of any management agreement, and
  • negotiations continue in order facilitate an asset transfer date of 01.04.14, or earlier.

The Clerk was instructed to write to Mr O’Neil (CWaC) and express Council’s disappointment at being unable to be in a position to sign the management agreement, largely due to insufficient information being supply by them. A copy of the correspondence is to be sent to CWaC Steve Robinson (Chief Executive).

h) Further Negotiations: The Committee agreed for the continuation of negotiation working group in order to make a positive recommendation for the take-over the assets in due course.

70 Council Accommodation (Cllrs Barker & Shipman) Due to common consent all items detailed in item 70 were brought forward – see below

  70.1 The Committee consider and resolved to approve the following recommendations for the allocation of available space for the efficient discharge of council business: –

a)   That the council bases its operations at the Town Hall from 1 November, or as soon thereafter as the Town Clerk is satisfied that accommodation is fit for its purpose.

b)   That notice is given to NCYC of the Council’s intentions and that any agreements are terminated in accordance with 1a above.

c)   That the three rooms on the south side of the Town Hall (shown as 1, 2 and 3 on the plan) be designated the “Town Council Suite”.

d)   That the specific use of the space allocated as “Town Council Suite” (1, 2 & 3) be determined by the Town Clerk.

e)   That meetings of the Town Council take place in the main hall.

f)    That any additional employees or agency staff employed to work as market officers be accommodated in the TCM suite.

Members agreed for room 3 to be used as the Town Clerk’s office. Improvements to the room could be made by the installation of soundproofing and the security by different security locks (break-glass locks or magnetic locks). The Clerk will make enquiries. As the management agreement was unlikely to be signed until next year, the Town Council office move was less pressing.

70.2. Timetable: The Clerk was asked to draft a timetable by which the Town Council offices will move to the Town Hall.

70.3 Negotiations Working Group

The Committee agreed that the negotiations working group should continue in order to act as a support group for Town Clerk and Town Centre Manager in effecting the successful relocation of the council and in marketing the use of the Hall to other bodies.

 69 Asset Management – Staffing* (Cllr Shipman) These items were withdrawn

a) Staffing

b) Facilities operation (one post)

c) Commercial Activities Assistant (one job)

d) Recruitment

* assuming confirmation that the Council will agree to undertake management of the asset.

70   Council Accommodation (Cllrs Barker & Shipman)

Due to common consent all items detailed in item 70 were brought forward to follow item 68 – see above                                  

72   Trading for Councils                                                                            Enclosed

72.1 Members received and considered the Clerk’s and the delegate’s notes from the Trading for Councils event and the company comparisons.

72.2 The Committee agreed for the formation of a Trading working group to investigate the feasibility of the Council forming a company in order to deal with Neston Town Hall, Market and Market Square. Cllrs Jilani, Loch and Marlow were nominated. Members noted that formal legal advice was desirable prior to entering into any trading arrangements.

73   Town Council Logo (Cllrs Barker, Shipman and Spacey)

Marketing: To consider proposal that the Committee recommends to the Council changes to the council’s logo that incorporate the principles described in the proposal document.

Due to common consent item 73 was carried forward to follow item 79 – see below

77   Local Council Advisory Service

      Members noted the one day seminar at Winsford Lifestyle Centre on Tuesday 24.09.13. The seminar covers issues topical to Local Councils, such as Health & Safety, Contract & Partnerships and cost £30 each.

78   Hip & Harmony

      The Committee agreed to note that Cllr Barker has responded to the request made to him by Hip & Harmony for Council to write a letter of support towards their bid for a Heritage grant which formed part of their funding for the Neston Female Society Ladies Day project which Hip & Harmony are working on as part of the Ladies Day working group (this had been deferred by S&C 03.09.13 item 49)

79   Town Councillor Item (Cllr Spacey)

Neston Recreation Centre, s106 boundary: The Committee considered and approved the proposal for the Town Clerk to send a robust response to Mr Robinson (CWaC Chief Executive) indicating, with the evidence provided in the supporting document, that at no time had an officer or member of CWaC made any firm, costed proposals to upgrade Neston Recreation Centre.  At no time has any Member or Officer of CWaC, acting on behalf of CWaC made any proposals known to the Council to amend the S106 boundaries, and requesting that Mr Robinson write accordingly to Mr Miller.

73   Town Council Logo (Cllrs Barker, Shipman and Spacey)

Marketing: The Committee recommends (R2) that Neston Town Council changes to the council’s logo that incorporate the principles described in the proposal document.

Due to common consent item 73 were carried forward to follow item 79 – see above

Standing orders were suspended in order to complete further agenda items

Cllrs Jilani and Spacey left the meeting

82   Exclusion of the Press and Public

The Committee resolved to approve that under the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 (as extended by s.100 of the Local Government Act 1972), the public and accredited representatives of newspapers be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 by virtue of the paragraph specified against the item.                              

           Part 2: Items considered in the absence of the press and public

83   Town Centre Manager

82.1 Members noted that the probationary period for the TCM ended on 16.09.13; the Mayor has conducted a TCM staff review.

82.2 The Committee recommends (R3) that Neston Town Council approve for the continuation of the TCM employment. Members noted that during the interview it was agreed for the TCM to attend at the two day AMT annual event in Congleton. The cost for the event is £125 if booked prior to 30.09.13.

84   Administration Officer

The Committee recommends (R4) that Neston Town Council approves for an increase of two hours per week for the Admin Officer in order to administer the new Council website, as recommended by the S&C Committee (03.09.13).

85   Town Hall Staff

       Members noted the update on arrangements for the current Town Hall member of staff.

87   Date of next meeting: The date and time of the next meeting was confirmed as

22 October 2013.

Due to time restraints the following agenda items were deferred.

60   Finance

60.1 To consider approval of the Expenditure of £23,383.90 net

60.2 To note the income of £143.85

61   Budget

a) To considered the F&TC budget comparisons to 11.09.13.

b) To note that at the end of the financial year there will be a requirement to vire funds of £2,500 from the Salaries office budget to the Salaries TCM budget to cover the TCM NI contributions.

62   Internal Audit

62.1 To receive the internal audit report.

62.2 To consider the issue raised and recommendations made and agree what actions Council will take for each of the issues.

63   Risk Assessment

To note that the F&TC Committee risk assessments are being undertaken by the F&TC Chair, and are in progress.

64   Insurance

Insurance Policy: To review the current NTC insurance policy schedule and consider if this continues to meet with Council’s needs.

71   Asset Transfer Town Allotments

71.1 Allotments

a) To note that in order for them to deal with allocations of the plots for the interim period CWaC have requested for the allotment lists (item 38.3 d)

b) To note the response from the CWaC legal team regarding the allotment site search. ‘Local searches can be undertaken by CWaC, other searches would be undertaken by third parties, all of which would be chargeable to the Town Council’ (item 38.3)

c) To consider the options available, in light of all information currently available the advisability of accepting into the ownership and control of the Council all allotments that CWaC are obliged to transfer.

71.2 Allotments Operation

a) To determine a Council policy in relation to the allotments

  • financial basis on which they should operate
  • whether additional allotment holdings should be sought
  • the manner in which vacant allotments might be allocated                               

b) To consider the appointment of an allotments sub-committee, or a named member of the committee to lead on matters to the allotments

c) To consider the most appropriate means of communication with allotment holders

74   Clayhill

      To note the responses received regarding the new signs at Clayhill (item 13)

75   Network Rail

      To consider the response received from CWaC and any updates.

76   WREN Grants

      a) To note

  • the next availability of grant funding from WREN is October, and
  • that NTC do not meet the criteria in order to make application (item 48)

b) To consider whether the committee wishes to make any suggestions for other organisations to pursue this funding opportunity.

80   Any other items which the Chairman determines are urgent for discussion or next agenda item.

81   Pension (LGPS)

a) To receive and consider;

  • the LGPS briefing and notes for employers,
  • the Important HR/LGPs Payroll Guides for Employers – LGPS 2014, and
  • the Pension Update Summer 2013 newsletter.

b) To note that this information has been forwarded to the NTC payroll contractor.

86   Insurance

To consider an alternative companies insurance policy schedule and quotation and consider if this continues to meet with Council’s needs and if a transfer would be in the interest of the Council. The new quotation includes a 30% discount if taken before 31.03.14.

Meeting closed at 8.10pm