7th December 2020 Town Council Minutes – Draft

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 7th December 2020 at 7pm via video conferencing.

Present: Cllrs Mike Facey (Chair), Chris Allen, Andy Brewer, Peter Clayton, Bill Hancock, Nick Tolley, Phil Harvey, Sue Harvey, Andy Hodge, Janet Keen, Alan Matthews, Mike Murphy, Louise Parkin, Colette Winfield

Sam Winter, Town Clerk, and Sally Jones, RFO, were in attendance.

6 members of the public were present, including one member of the press & a county councillor.

Public Participation

There were no speakers.

159/20/TC     Apologies

                        Apologies were received from Cllrs Sue Barber & Dawn Carey.

                        Cllr Helen Groves was absent.

160/20/TC     Declarations of Interest in items on this agenda & dispensations granted

Cllr Janet Keen declared an interest in 179/20/TC as she had been involved in the cross-county climate strategy.

161/20/TC     Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on Monday 5th October 2020 were approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

162/20/TC     Action List

The Action List was noted as completed

163/20/TC     Report from the Police

The meeting received an update on policing across the towns. Closing problem addresses had served to reduce drug related issues and police patrols have been increased to tackle post-lockdown anti-social behaviour. Reports of CV19 breaches have increased calls by 2.5k. CV19 testing of police has been increased to manage staffing levels and emergency callout response times have been maintained at under 5 mins. In answer to members’ questions, it was confirmed that, following the installation of barriers at pier Street car park, a police lead is still in place to react to ongoing issues & that the CCTV requires attention to ensure clear lines of sight through trees. In response to reports of drug dealing, police patrols will be made at Manor Gardens.         

164/20/TC     Chairman’s announcements

The Chairman reported that he continued to represent the council by attending all events in a Covid safe manner.

165/20/TC     Reports from county cllrs on county council matters

Cllr Clayton circulated a written report on county council projects and activity.

Cllr Woodman was in attendance and stated that the 20mph & crossing at Churchfield School was proceeding and that access for pedestrians and the disabled from Burnham will be improved at Edithmead Lane.

166/20/TC     Reports from district cllrs on district council matters

There were no reports.       

167/20/TC     Reports from town councillor representatives appointed to outside bodies

Cllr Facey reported that the HPC meetings had been cancelled.

Motions for note/resolution

168/20/TC     To consider the external auditor’s response for 2019/2020         

The meeting received the clear audit report.

169/20/TC     To consider the full town council budget 2021/2022

The meeting noted the advice of the RFO on how the council might allocate reserves to support the precept to ensure there is no 21/22 increase on the tax payer.  It was resolved to approve the full draft budget and to consider the level of precept at the January council meeting.

170/20/TC     To consider the financial risk assessment

 The meeting  considered and approved the risk assessment.

171/20/TC     To consider a request from the Burnham and Highbridge Coronavirus Support Group for £3,000 to allow it to continue to respond to need within the community, and to enable it to coordinate increased volunteer support for the NHS during the vaccination programme.   

The town clerk outlined the assistance given by the office and Coronavirus Support Group to support the NHS in locating suitable buildings for use as vaccination sites. The support group’s representative explained the process for organising the volunteers, of which there are currently 25, and confirmed that the group had been unsuccessful in obtaining funding support at this stage. It was confirmed that the group aims to restructure to ensure it is sustainable and better suited to being of long term benefit to the community. The request for funding was welcomed by members and it was resolved to make the grant of £3000 to the group for use in maintaining its services to the community. 

172/20/TC     To approve the protocol for the death of a senior national figure

The meeting heard that the protocol was based on a national model and had little room for change. It was resolved to approve and adopt the protocol subject to the town clerk making any minor amendments required for clarity. 

173/20/TC     To approve the adoption of the Data Protection Policy, as reviewed and approved by the HR sub-committee

The meeting heard that the policy aims to guide staff & councillors in the use of data. The town clerk shared the observations made at a recent independent assessment of the council’s GDPR processes and confirmed the office is working through the recommendations, reviewing the extent of the data held and the legal basis for its processing. The town clerk confirmed the ico’s statement that there is no longer a requirement for councillors to register in their own right and any work undertake as a councillor is covered by the council’s policies, procedures & privacy notices. However, the clerk asked councillors to keep in mind that they are still bound to apply GDPR compliant measures in any work on a project outside the scope of the town council, for which they should seek guidance from the ico. It was resolved to approve and adopt the Data Protection Policy.

174/20/TC     To approve the adoption of the GDPR Criminal Records Policy, as reviewed and approved by the HR sub-committee.

The meeting heard that the policy was based on that recommended by the council’s employment law advisors and that the HR sub-committee had approved the removal of standard questioning about criminal records from the job application form to avoid discriminatory questioning that might create a higher risk of non-compliance with GDPR. It was resolved to approve and adopt the policy.

175/20/TC     To approve the adoption of the privacy notices for staff & councillors & for recruitment, as reviewed and approved by the HR sub-committee.

The meeting heard that the notices were based on those recommended by the council’s employment law advisors. It was resolved to approve and adopt the notices.

176/20/TC     To receive a recommendation from the Finance & Resources Committee to approve adoption of the Expenses Policy for staff & councillors

The meeting heard that travel by electric pedal bike will be reimbursed under the policy as a bicycle unless confirmed otherwise by HMRC. It was resolved to approve and adopt the policy.

177/20/TC     To consider and approve the draft proposed Procurement Policy

The town clerk explained that she had received staff observations that the existing financial regs did not give the clarity needed on procurement processes. The attention of the meeting was drawn to the process for holding a contactor list for small jobs, which permits staff the option to seek quotes from a pool of local suppliers, particularly SMEs, who have been tested to ensure they meet H&S, capability and insurance requirements. This list was intended to speed up the quote process and give the council more security in knowing the right checks have been consistently applied before services are procured. The meeting heard that proposed policy had been reviewed by staff with good feedback. It was resolved to approve and adopt the policy. 

178/20/TC     To consider and approve changes to the Financial Regulations (subject to item 177/20/TC)

The meeting noted the changes applied to the financial regulations to bring them in line with the procurement policy and it was resolved to approve and adopt the changes.

Cllr Keen left the meeting

179/20/TC     To receive a proposal from Cllr Facey to support an application to the Somerset County Council Climate Emergency Fund for a new scheme operated by the Somerset Eco-Centre to promote sustainable living and action on climate change for rural areas.

The meeting heard from Cllr Facey that, should the committee agree to support the SAVE initiative to tackle climate change and take action on environmental issues in the local area, due to there being no suitable council meeting before the deadline, authority to agree the final submission should be delegated to the clerk in liaison with the chairman of the council and chairman of the Town Improvements Committee. It was resolved to support the application to the county’s Climate Emergency Fund and to delegate authority to the clerk, as proposed.

Cllr Keen re-joined the meeting

180/20/TC     To appoint a councillor representative to the Burnham Chamber of Trade & to receive a nomination of Cllr Hodge

The meeting heard that the nominated person will be a representative of the council and not a member of the chamber of trade and that historically the chairman of the Town Improvements Committee had been nominated to the positon. It was resolved to approve that the chairman of the Town Improvements Committee is nominated to be the council’s representative on the Burnham Chamber of Trade, which at the present time is Cllr Hodge.

Financial Reports

181/20/TC     To receive and approve the details of expenditure for September and October 2020

The details of expenditure for September and October 2020, were received and approved.

182/20/TC     To approve the Town Council accounts for the month of October 2020

The Town Council accounts for the month of October 2020, were received and approved.

183/20/TC     To receive the town council ear marked reserve report for the month of October 2020

The ear marked reserve report for the month of October 2020 was received.

184/20/TC     Minutes of previous committee meetings:

It was acknowledged that committee minutes had been circulated, received and added to the website.

7th OctoberPlanning
12th OctoberFinance & Resources
27th OctoberPrincess Management
28th OctoberPlanning
11th NovemberBurial
16th NovemberTown Improvements
23rd NovemberFinance & Resources

185/20/TC     Correspondence

 The list of items of correspondence was received.

186/20/TC     Date of Next meetings

The dates were noted as listed.

 DecemberThursday10thHuman Resources
 DecemberMonday14thPlanning
 January 2021Wednesday6thPlanning
 JanuaryMonday11thTown Improvements
 JanuaryMonday25thFinance & Resr’s (Final Budget)
 JanuaryWednesday27thPlanning
FebruaryMonday1stTown Council – Budget

It was noted that the next town council meeting will be held on Monday 1st February 2021 at 7pm.

The Chairman wished all attendees a merry Christmas and closed the meeting at 19:52.

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