WHEATLEY PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE EXTRA ORDINARY MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL
HELD ON WEDNESDAY 24TH JUNE 2015 IN THE MERRY BELLS HALL AT 8.00PM
PRESENT: Councillors: G Stephens (Chairman), R Bell, P Hood, A Davies,
T Davies, P Willmott, Coveley, A Walkey, P Gregory, P Bignall and
OFFICERS: Gareth Morris, Clerk to the Parish Council
Also present: One member of the public
27. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE had been received from Cllrs Carr, Coleridge and Reilly
28. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – None
29. MINUTES OF THE AGM AND ORDINARY MEETING HELD ON 18th May 2015 (circulated previously)
i) Page 3 Open Forum – PCSO James Hopkins Add a second paragraph:
“In reply to a question from Cllr Gregory, James said that the CCTV camera in the High Street should be back up and running but unfortunately the only PCSO who that knew how to operate it has been transferred. They would have to get him back to show them how to operate it”
ii) Page 5 Minute 21(iii) Insert ‘A Davies’ between ‘Cllr’ and ‘had’ in the first line
30. TO RECEIVE THE FINAL ACCOUNTS FOR THE FINANCIAL YEAR 2014-2015
i) To approve and sign the final accounts for the financial year 2014-2015
The clerk explained that the Internal Auditor had been in to look at the accounts and the papers distributed were no longer ‘draft’ documents.
The clerk went through the Register of Assets, The Notes to the Accounts, the Balance Sheet and the Income and Expenditure Accounts. The Internal Auditor was happy that all the figures were accurate and would be sending his formal Audit Report shortly.
Cllr Hood proposed and Cllr Gregory seconded that the final accounts for the financial year 2014-2015 be received. This was AGREED unanimously.
ii) To receive and approve SECTIONS 1 (Statement of Accounts) and SECTION 2 (Annual Governance Statement) OF THE ANNUAL RETURN FOR THE FINANCIAL YEAR 2014 -2015
The clerk explained that the Parish also had to submit an Annual Return to an External Auditor (BDO Ltd).
The Internal Auditor was happy with all the figures in Section 1 and had ‘agreed’ with all the Internal Control Objectives (though as Cllr Gregory pointed out he had signed it for 2016!)
The Council agreed that the Chairman could answer ‘yes’ to the nine statements in Section2 ((Annual governance statement 2014-2015
Cllr Willmott proposed and Cllr Newman seconded that SECTION 1 (Statement of Accounts) and SECTION 2 (Annual Governance Statement) OF THE ANNUAL RETURN FOR THE FINANCIAL YEAR 2014 -2015 received and approved.
This was AGREED unanimously
8.30pm – Open Forum – The Chairman declared the meeting out of session and invited the District Councillor and the member of the public
District Cllr T Newman – The application by Taylor Wimpey re the housing development on London Road had been submitted to SODC. Consultation would run for 28 days
From September kerbside recycling would include clothing and small electrical items.
SODC would be operating from its new offices at Milton Park (135 Eastern Avenue) from Monday 29th June
He also drew attention to OCC’s Consultation Document on subsidised bus services across the county. [The clerk would put this on the Agenda for the council meeting on 6th July and circulate the details to all councillors.}
Mr Johnson – asked when the 28 days would run from. Cllr Newman replied that it runs from when the application is made public.
8.45pm – The Chairman declared the Council back in session
31. RESOLUTION FROM CLLR T DAVIES – received 18TH MAY 2015
Suggestions concerning the Process of future meetings
Frequency of meetings: PC meetings should be monthly not once every two months. (This requires point 6 to be amended to read “Eight additional meetings shall be held on the first Monday in the months of February, April, June, August, October and December.”)
Sub-Committees: (With monthly meetings, the need for additional sub-committee meetings is reduced)
Planning: These need to be held monthly and need to held to fit into the SODC’s timetable of meetings.
F&GP: With the full council meeting monthly and with discussion papers being circulated in advance we question the need for having a separate sub-committee. If on occasion there is a need a pre-appointed sub-group could be convened.
TRAC: Given this is a non-decision making group and in 2014 only met once in the first six months it appears to be unnecessary. Sub-groups could be appointed to research specific matters and report back to the main committee.
Minutes Content: The current minutes contain the minimum amount of required information and could be significantly improved. Going forward minutes need to reflect the main points of any discussion with names, and include action points with reporting dates. Amend Point 13 to read “The clerk shall record the names of the members who voted so as to show whether they voted for or against it.” In addition it should be extended to read “The minutes must reflect the main points of discussion and show agreed action points with the name of the councillor(s) responsible for the action and a date for reporting.”
Minutes Timing: Should be circulated within a week of the meeting not a week before the next meeting. If the Chair has not approved them they should be circulated as a Draft. (No reference could be found as to when these should be issued – suggest MINUTES is added as a new heading after VOTING and a new Point 15 is inserted “Minutes will be circulated within one week following a meeting.”
Meeting Agendas: All agendas should include Any Other Business allowing points to be brought forward. These should be added to the agenda on the Friday before the meeting.
Briefing /Discussion Papers: Councillors either reporting on an issue or raising an issue should circulate a paper to all members a week in advance of the meeting. Point 20 under Resolutions Moved on Notice states “ Except as provided by these Standing Orders, no resolution may be moved unless the business to which it relates has been put on the Agenda by the Clerk or the mover has given notice in writing of its terms and has delivered the notice to the Clerk at least ten clear days before the next meeting of the Council”. It is suggested that this is amended to three working days which allows time for the resolution to be circulated to all members and if not on the agenda they can be brought up under Any Other Business.
Accountabilities: All Councillors should have specific responsibilities / interests. (Suggestions to be made but could include: Security/Law Enforcement, Support for Businesses, Website/Communication, ‘Toilet Square’ improvements, Social Events, etc
Communication: Every opportunity should be taken to consult with residents and organisations within the village. This hasn’t occurred widely enough in the past bringing condemnation from many. It is suggested that each councilor has roads assigned to them for delivering leaflets on the occasions this is necessary, the Web site is utilized and improved, an email mailing list is maintained and banners announcing events are hung outside the Merry Bells.
The Chairman suggested that with the permission of Cllr T Davies the item on ‘Communication’ be taken first. Cllr T Davies had no objection.
Cllr T Davies said there had been instances recently where residents had not been aware of Parish Council decisions and this had led to protest and dissatisfaction
There was general agreement that the Parish Council should do all it could to inform the public on its intentions. Various ideas were suggested eg a Twitter Account, a Facebook Page, a better, more informative and interactive web site, a Parish Council banner for advertising events, a Parish Council ‘Noticeboard’ page in the newsletter and leaflets in the Wheatley Newsletter.
Frequency of Meetings
The proposer said that he felt that at two months the gap between Parish Council
meetings was too long. His proposal overall would reduce total number of
meetings by 6 meetings in total by scrapping the Finance and General Purposes
Cllr Bell explained the Parish Council had moved to 6 meetings in 2000 in order to stream line decision making. It was easier to debate issues more fully in a committee of 9 members (F&GP) than 15 (full council). Some councillors felt that perhaps the F&GP committee should be kept, either meeting as and when necessary, or keep it at 12 meetings. Some councillors felt that as many were new to the council, a decision so early in the council’s life was premature.
The clerk said that he would be happy if total meetings went down, going up to over 35 meetings a year was, he felt administratively unfeasible. There was also a logistical issue with a PC meeting every month was that further meetings on Mondays would not be possible because of a regular booking of the hall.
Cllr T Davies proposed that ‘PC meetings should be monthly not once every two months. (This requires point 6 to be amended to read “Eight additional meetings shall be held on the first Monday in the months of February, April, June, August, October and December.”) There were 2 votes in favour and 9 against. The resolution was defeated.
The clerk said that putting a time period of 1 week was unrealistic. But accepted that just before a meeting was unsatisfactory. Until a meeting approved the minutes of the previous meeting, the minutes were the responsibility of the clerk. He sent s draft copy to the chairman as a courtesy and to proof read. The chairman did not approve them. He suggested that minutes be put on the website as soon as they had been written as ‘Draft Minutes, subject to confirmation’. This was accepted.
It was possible for councillors be named against action points as long as they were finding out information on behalf of the council not acting in their own personal capacity.
The Chairman circulated a template that could be used to record the names of those councillors voting, for or against or abstaining on a particular issue. Cllr Hood proposed and Cllr Newman seconded that this template be used. This was Agreed. Standing Order 13 remains in place; a councillor still has to make a request for the names of how councillors voted, to be placed in the minutes.
The proposer accepted that is was recommended by National Association of Local Councils, amongst others, that ‘Any Other Business’ be placed on an Agenda as it was not lawful to make a decision on anything that wasn’t on the agenda.
It was suggested that, ‘Items for Information’ be placed at the end of the Agenda. This was Agreed
Briefing /Discussion Papers
The clerk explained that Agendas had to go out three days before a meeting – this did not include the day of receipt, the day of the meeting or Sundays or Bank Holidays. Therefore, for example, the Agenda for a Monday meeting had to be posted on the Tuesday before. Items for an agenda should be with the clerk at least a week before the meeting.
He agreed that any papers/reports should either go out with the Agenda or at the very least be sent to the clerk before the meeting so it could be circulated by e-mail before the meeting. The Council agreed that it was unsatisfactory to have such information tabled at the meeting.
The Council agreed that this could be a way forward. Cllr Hood said she would take responsibility for the website/communication. Perhaps the Primary Academy could be involved in suggesting a design for the old toilet block area. A new name should also be suggested for that area. This to be an item for a future meeting.
32. TO DISCUSS THE FIRST STEPS REGARDING THE POSSIBLE ADOPTION OF A NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN
Cllr Tim Davies said a Neighbourhood Plan was an opportunity to reach out to the whole community and involve them not only in the issue of housing but of infrastructure In general in the village for example sewage and traffic safety.
Cllr Anne Davies suggested inviting SODC Officers to talk to the Parish Council. Cllr Newman agreed and said there were SODC Officers willing to come and talk and perhaps Parish Councils that had adopted a Neighbourhood Plan could come and talk about their experiences.
Cllr Willmott suggested that Councillors go to the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England website and look at the information on there re creating a Neighbourhood Plan. He also pointed out that the boundary for a Neighbourhood Plan can be extended beyond the Parish boundaries and multiple Parish councils can join together to devise one. Given the interest Wheatley has in the future of the Wheatley Campus of Oxford Brookes University wouldn’t it be a good idea if we asked Holton Parish Council if they wished to join us in formulating a joint plan. This suggestion received a lot of support.
It was suggested that before a decision to go ahead with a Neighbourhood Plan more information should be sought from SODC officers and councils that had already adopted their own plan. Cllr Willmott would give the clerk the link to the CPRE site and Cllr Newman would give links to councils that had adopted their own plans for circulation to all councillors. A hard copy to be kept in the Parish Office.
Cllr A Davies proposed and Cllr Hood seconded that the ‘clerk arrange an evening meeting with Parish Councillors and an officer from SODC with experience of Neighbourhood Plans, to which Holton Parish Councillors would be invited to attend if they so wish’
This was AGREED unanimously.
33. DATE OF NEXT MEETING – MONDAY 6th July 2015 – NOTED
The meeting closed at 10.15pm