MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE ESTABLISHMENT COMMITTEE HELD ON WEDNESDAY 27TH MAY 2009 AT 7.15PM IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, SIMPSON CENTRE, STOTFOLD
Committee Members present:B Collier (Chairman)
Mrs S BundockA Cooper
Mrs J Hyde
Also present:Mrs L Wilding and the Clerk
Apologies were received on behalf of Councillors Saunders and Mrs Cooper.
1944.DISCLOSURES OF MEMBERS INTERESTS
There were no disclosures of Members interests.
None to report.
None to report.
1947.TO APPROVE EXECUTIVE ACTION TAKEN BY THE CLERK IN PURCHASING A COMPUTER MONITOR AT £72.50 PLUS VAT TO REPLACE A BROKEN ONE, FROM THE OFFICE EQUIPMENT RESERVES
Resolved that the executive action taken by the Clerk in purchasing a replacement computer monitor at £72.50 plus vat be approved (funds from Office Equipment Reserves).
1948.TO APPROVE EXECUTIVE ACTION TAKEN BY THE CLERK IN PURCHASING A COMPUTER BASE SECURITY BOX WHICH FIXES TO THE DESK AT A COST OF £141.95 PLUS VAT, FROM THE OFFICE EQUIPMENT RESERVES
This matter had previously been discussed when looking at improving security measures for the offices and Council owned buildings.
Resolved that the executive action taken by the Clerk in purchasing a computer base security box which fixes to the desk, at a cost of £141.95 plus vat be approved (funds from the Office Equipment Reserves).
1949.TO CONSIDER PURCHASING/LEASING A FRANKING MACHINE
Members were previously circulated a table giving quotes from three franking machine companies with purchase and rental options available. There are several benefits from using a franking machine instead of stamps: it will help to promote a professional image of the Council and creates a good impression – the Council name and logo can be included on each item of postage, it will also save time and money as we currently have to take a cheque to the post office to purchase postage stamps - postage is discounted if using a franking machine, and the postage is updated via a telephone line and invoiced at a later date.
In response to a question over how much saving would be made with the postage discount Members were advised that depending on whether first or second class was used, and also on the size of the item to be posted, savings could be between £40 to £100 per year on last year’s postage costs.
Members felt that at this stage we should take out a lease on a franking machine, and for an initial one year period. Funds had been included in the Office Equipment Reserves for the purchase of a franking machine, and so funds for a one year lease should be taken from there. Should we wish to continue with the lease, provision should be included when considering the budgets in October.
Recommended that a lease agreement is set up with Pitney Bowes for a one year lease on the Personal Post franking machine at £17.95 plus vat. If the Clerk is able to get the reduced monthly rental rate she is to do so. Consideration of whether to continue the lease is to be taken when setting the Committee budget in October.
1950.TO APPROVE THE DRAFT GRANT APPLICATION FORM TO BE USED FOR SECTION 137 GRANTS AND OTHER GRANTS TO THE COMMUNITY, AND TO APPROVE THE CONSIDERATION OF SUCH GRANTS TAKING PLACE TWICE YEARLY – SUGGESTED APRIL AND OCTOBER
The twice yearly consideration of grants would assist with budgeting for the following year, unless an urgent request for a grant is made in which case it will be at Council’s discretion.
Members considered the draft documents before them and it was:
Recommended that the draft grant application form and guidance documents, as amended, be approved. Applications for grant are to be considered in April and October by full Council, unless an urgent request is made, in which case it is at Council’s discretion. The invitation to submit an application for grant request is to be advertised around the town and in the appropriate edition of the Stotfold News.
1951.TO CONSIDER APPLYING FOR RE-ACCREDITATION OF QUALITY COUNCIL STATUS WHEN IT EXPIRES IN OCTOBER 2009
This Council was awarded Quality Parish Status on 14th October 2005 for the first time and which lasts for a period of four years. Our current Status therefore expires on 14th October 2009 and we then have three months from that date in which to apply for re-accreditation.
Members were previously provided with a description of the ‘tests’ involved for re-accreditation, which include changes to some and the addition of three new tests. Members were also provided with a copy of the Quality Parish Status Checklist which the Clerk had annotated in draft to advise how we might meet the required tests.
Recommended that Stotfold Town Council applies for Quality Parish Status re-accreditation after October 2009, and that the Clerk continues with the work already done in putting together the application pack and evidence material required.
With regard to a criteria point in the test entitled ‘Communications – Discretionary’ regarding holding regular Councillor surgeries more than six times a year, it was
Resolved that consideration as to whether the Council holds regular Councillor surgeries more than six times a year is put on the next Council agenda.
1952.TO CONSIDER PRODUCING A STATEMENT OF INTENT OF TRAINING FOR COUNCILLORS AND STAFF
This is one of the new ‘tests’ for Quality Parish Status re-accreditation. As well as a commitment (including budget allocation) to training, what the re-accreditation panel will be looking for is evidence of some planning in the process. Starting with the expectation that Councillors and staff will undertake training, rather than individuals simply saying that they will attend something they like the look of as something arises. These training needs can be identified by staff appraisals, questionnaires, interviews and formal and informal discussions.
The statement should do more than just indicate commitment to training, and should include the following as sub headings, detailing under each one our plans as a Council in how we will tackle each issue:
1.A brief statement of your commitment to training
2.A brief outline of who your commitment to training includes and what type of training it will cover.
3.How you will identify training needs?
4.How you will resource training to meet those needs?
5.How you will measure the impact of the training attended?
Members gave the matter due consideration and it was
Recommended that the appended Statement of Intent for Training is submitted in our application for Quality Parish Status re-accreditation.
1953.TO CONSIDER UPDATING THE STANDING ORDERS
A copy of the draft re-numbered Orders was previously circulated to Members, who considered each Standing Order in turn, giving amendments, deletions and additions.
Due to the length of time taken in going through the first half of the Orders in necessary detail it was
Resolved that consideration of the remaining half of the Orders (from page 7) is deferred until the next meeting of this Committee to allow the remainder of the evening’s meeting to continue.
With regard to the Order relating to time and day of Council meetings it was
Resolved that an item is included on the next Council agenda to review the day of the week on which we hold full Town Council meetings.
1954.THE CHAIRMAN THEN PROPOSED THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION
It is advisable in the public interest that the press and public are temporarily excluded, whilst matters pertaining to staff issues are discussed, and that they be instructed to withdraw from the meeting.
This was passed by Members.
1955.TO CONSIDER VARIOUS STAFFING ISSUES, INCLUDING ADVERTISING FOR A NEW MEMBER OF STAFF, AND CHANGES TO OFFICE OPENING HOURS AS A RESULT
Confidential minute 1955 is appended for Members only.
1956.ITEMS FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY
There were no items for information.
There being no further relevant business the meeting was declared closed at 10.15pm