Finance & Town Centre Committee 22nd October 2013

Minutes of the meeting of the Finance and Town Centre Committee held on Tuesday 22 October at 6pm at Neston Community and Youth Centre.

Present: Cllrs Barker (Chair), Cummins, Loch, Marlow, Shipman and Spacey and Mrs A Kunaj (Town Clerk) and Mrs K Pierce (Town Centre Manager)

In attendance: Cllr Hughes and Wilkie.

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

Meeting 5

88   Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Jilani and were accepted.

89   Questions to the Committee: None.

90   Declarations of Interest: None.

91   The minutes of the Finance and Town Centre Committee meeting held on 17.09.13 were approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chair subject to some minor changes: item 65.2 The Committee considered and resolved … deletion of the words ‘to approve’ and replace with the words ‘that a ’

92       Clerk’s report: To receive the Clerk’s report.

  • RBS, Omega: The annual maintenance and support fee will increase by £10 per year effective from 01.04.14.
  • Cheshire Pension Fund Annual Report 2012-13 has been published and is available to view on the Cheshire Pension website.
  • Cheshire Pension Employer Meeting is being held on 29.11.13 in Tarporley.

93   Finance

93.1 The Committee resolved to approve the Expenditure of £7,771.23 net.

The Clerk was instructed that, for future salary expenditure items, one net figure is to be advised. For the bank statements a request will be made for the bill payments to state ‘salary’ and not name the member of staff.

93.2 The Committee noted the income of £63.07.

94   Budget

94.1 The Committee considered the budget comparisons to 15.10.13. No issues were raised.

94.2 The Committee noted that at the Full Council meeting 01.10.13 item 74.2 Council resolved to approve the formation of a Strategy Working Group comprising Cllrs Barker, Burkey, Shipman, Spacey and Wilkie and the Town Clerk. The Group will prepare a vision, strategy and operational plan for presentation to Council before the 2014/15 budget meeting. The Council Committees were asked to defer consideration of any budget requirements for the financial year 2014/15. In accordance with standing order 20b any committee desiring expenditure shall give the Proper Officer a written estimate of the expenditure recommended for the coming year no later than December.

95   Internal Audit

       Items 95.1 & 95.2 were discussed together.

95.1 & 2 The Committee received the internal audit report and considered the issues raised and recommendations made and agreed that further actions would be taken for each of the issues raised following the signing of the asset management agreement with CWaC.

96   Risk Assessment

The Committee resolved to approve the F&TC Committee risk assessments and action plan conducted by the F&TC Chairman. Issues were raised about the current arrangements for staff appraisals and the frequency of staff appraisals. Members had mixed views on current staff appraisal process.

97   Insurance

97.1 Insurance Policy: The Committee reviewed the current NTC insurance policy schedule and resolved that it meets with Council’s requirements.

98     Town Centre Manager’s Activity report and        Asset Transfer Outstanding Items schedule and proposal

98.1 The Committee received and was satisfied with the Town Centre Manager’s Activity report.  The TCM provided an overview of the discussions held at the interview that had taken place with the A-Level student from Neston High School. Objectives had been set with the TCM and the advisory group; it was suggested that they should be made available to Councillors. The market stall issue (not enough stalls) will be discussed at the next s106 meeting. A request for CWaC to investigate other funding streams for the additional purchases has been made.

98.2 The Committee received and considered the Asset Transfer Outstanding Items schedule and information. An email to request support to resolve these issues to CWaC’s senior officer has been made. It was confirmed to the Clerk that the figures requiring investigation, in order to establish if the £30k grant was sufficient to cover NTC’s needs for the asset transfer, had not been identified.

98.3. The Committee approved for Cllr Shipman to attend the Localities Annual Convention Training and accept the offer of the free place for one day plus any associated costs, which will be covered by the training budget.

99   Management Agreement

99.1 The Committee noted the responses from Noel O’Neill CWaC.

99.2 The Committee noted that a negotiation working group meeting has been arranged for 31.10.13.

100 Trading for Councils

The Committee noted that the working group had not met. –  See item 113 below – ‘Town Councillor Item’.

101 – This item was not listed on the agenda.

102 Section 106

               The Committee noted that the next s106 meeting has been scheduled for 31.10.13.

 103 Asset Transfer Town Allotments

103.1 Allotments

a) Members noted that in order for CWaC to deal with allocations of the plots for the interim period CWaC have been provided with the NTC allotment lists.

b) Members noted 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’

c) The Committee resolved to approve to accept the ownership and control of the Marshlands, Parkgate and Raby Park Road allotment sites. The Committee agreed that this did not require Full Council authority for this, as the provision of allotments is a statutory duty of the Council.

103.2 Allotments Operation

The Committee considered if they should appoint an allotments working group or sub-committee, or a named member of the committee to lead on matters to the allotments. No volunteers in order to take these actions forward were found.

The Committee agreed to delegated authority to the Clerk and the F&TC Committee Chairman to seek volunteers from outside and within the Council to assist with the running and management of the allotments.

104 Clayhill

      Members noted the design examples received regarding the new signs at Clayhill.

105 Network Rail

The Committee considered the response received from CWaC and requested that the Clerk investigates the issues surrounding the netting on the bridges.

106 Neston Recreation Centre, s106 boundary

The Committee considered the response received from Mr Robinson (CWaC Chief Executive). The Committee resolved that a request for the details of the plans for the High School and for Council to be included in the project as a non-funding stakeholder is to be made.

107 Pension (LGPS)

107.1 The Committee received and considered;

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

107.2. The Committee noted that the information listed in item 107.1, has been forwarded to the NTC payroll contractor.

108     Policies relating to Staff

108.1 The Committee considered the SLCC advice regarding lone workers.

108.2 The Committee considered the draft Lone Worker Policy. The TCM will investigate what measures can be taken to address safety issues around the TCM office door. A report for the Committee’s consideration will be produced.

109Public Art Steering Group

109.1 The Committee received and considered the Public Art Steering Group meeting minutes 12.09.13.

109.2   The Committee retrospectively approved nomination of Cllr Spacey and Katy Pierce (TCM) as Public Art Steering Group members.

110 WREN Grants

110.1 Members note that;

  • the next availability of grant funding from WREN is February 2014, and
  • NTC do not meet the criteria in order to make application

Item 110.2 was carried forward by common consent to follow item 113 – see below

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

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


112 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

 113 Town Councillor Item (Cllr Loch)

 Trading for Councils: It was suggested that perhaps an existing local CIC could be used as an arm’s length trading company for the Council.  The Committee agreed for Cllr Wilkie to join the current working group to investigate the options available.

Item 110.2 was carried forward by common consent – see above

110.2 Members requested that the Trading working group investigate if any of the local groups wish to take advantage of the WREN funding opportunity.

 114 Insurance

The Committee considered alternative companies’ insurance policy schedule and quotations and also considered if a transfer would be in the interest of the Council. One of the quotations included a 30% discount if taken before 31.03.14. A request for a discount from the current insurance contractor will be made.

115 Date of next meeting: The date and time of the next meeting was confirmed as 26 November 2013.

Meeting closed at 7.52pm