Hassocks Parish Council

Agenda

A meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Tuesday 14 June 2022 at 7.30 pm in the Council Chamber, Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks.

Parish Clerk 7 June 2022

Members of the public are encouraged to come to the meetings and there is an opportunity for them to address the Council relating to the non-confidential items on the published agenda. A period of 15 minutes will be set aside in item 4 Public participation.

AGENDA

1. APOLOGIES

1.1 To accept Apologies for absence

2. DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS

2.1 To deal with any disclosure by Members of any disclosable pecuniary interests and interests other than pecuniary interests, as defined under Hassocks Parish Council’s Code of Conduct and the Localism Act 2011, in relation to matters on the agenda.

3. MINUTES

3.1. To accept the minutes of the

Parish Council meeting 10th May 2022

4. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Up to fifteen minutes will be available to allow for the public to make representations, answer questions or give evidence in respect of any items of business included in the agenda, in accordance with Standing Orders.

5. TO ACCEPT THE FOLLOWING MINUTES

5.1      Planning Committee – 9th May 2022 (for acceptance) and to note the minutes for 30th May 2022.

5.2      To note the Grounds & Environment Committee minutes for the 18th May 2022

5.3      To note the minutes of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee for the 26th May 2022

6. FINANCE

6.1       To approve the Financial Report and authorise the list of payments in the sum of £18,185.57 issued between 1 April 2022 and 30th April 2022. (Appendix 1). To view Appendix 1 please click here.

6.2       To consider the Annual Governance Statement for 2021/22 (Appendix 2) this report sets out how the Council has met its governance responsibilities.

6.3       To consider, approve and sign the summary draft Internal Auditors report (Appendix 3) and to consider and approve the Accounting statements for 2021/22 and the Annual Return (Appendix 4).

6.4       To consider the Council Risk assessments in accordance with the Councils requirement to review annually. (Appendix 5).

7. REPORTS

7.1 West Sussex County Councillor

7.2 Mid Sussex District Councillors Report

7.3 Police Report

7.4 Rail Matters – oral Report (Leslie Campbell)

7.5 Youth Initiatives – oral report (Frances Gaudencio)

7.6 Reports from Councillors on meetings outside bodies where the Council

Is represented.

8. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

8.1 Current matters (oral report)

9. CLERK’S REPORT

9.1 Insurance – This is to advise members of the outcome of the recent market testing of the Councils insurance via Gallagher’s (formerly Came & Company Insurance Brokers). After testing the market the Clerk in consultation with the Chair have agreed to renew its insurance with Hiscox for a one year term in the sum of £5,333.99. The policy will run from the 1st June 2022 to 31st May 2023.

This premium has exceeded the allocated budget of £5,000 therefore retrospective authority is sought to fund the additional £333.99 overspend from General reserves.

10. URGENT MATTERS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE CHAIRMAN for noting and/or inclusion on a future agenda.

11. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

 To note that the date of the next Council meeting is Tuesday 12th July 2022 at 7.30pm.

EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

In view of the confidential nature of the business about to be transacted Councillors will be referred to the Confidential Agenda. If any members of the public or press are in attendance they will be requested to withdraw from the meeting in the public interest.

FILMING, RECORDING OF COUNCIL MEETINGS AND USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
During this meeting members of the public may film or record the Committee and officers from the public area only providing it does not disrupt the meeting. The Confidential section of the meeting may not be filmed or recorded. If a member of the public objects to being recorded, the person(s) filming must stop doing so until that member of the public has finished speaking. The use of social media is permitted but members of the public are requested to switch their mobile devices to silent for the duration of the meeting

Please Note:
All members of the public are welcome to attend to attend meetings of the Parish Council and its Committees.
Item 4 – a period of 15 minutes will be set aside for the public statements and questions relating to the published non-confidential business of the Meeting.
It may be necessary to consider particular items in confidential session and where this arises, these items will be considered at the end of the agenda.

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

Appendix 2

To: Council

Date: 14 June 2022

Contact for this report: Parish Clerk

Subject: Item 6.2 Annual Governance Statement for year ended 31 March 2022


1. Hassocks Parish Council (HPC) is responsible for ensuring that there is a sound system of internal control, including the preparation of the accounting statements. It must demonstrate that the following accounting statements are in place for the year ended 31 March 2022.

 

1. We have put in place arrangements for effective financial management during the year, and for the preparation of the accounting statements.

 

HPC has prepared its accounting statements in accordance with the Accounts and Audit Regulations.

At each full Council meeting members consider and approve monthly expenditure:

Under the transparency agenda all expenditure transactions are listed approved and signed by the Chairman.

A monthly current account bank reconciliation is considered and approved by the Chairman at the monthly meeting.

A quarterly bank reconciliation is carried out for each of the three savings accounts and signed by the Chairman at Council Meetings.

2. We maintained an adequate system of internal control, including measures designed to prevent and detect fraud and corruption and reviewed its effectiveness. HPC has made proper arrangements and accepted responsibility for safeguarding the public money and resources in its charge.
3. We took all reasonable steps to assure ourselves that there are no matters of actual potential non-compliance with laws, regulations and proper practises that could have a significant financial effect on the ability of this smaller authority to conduct its business or on its finances. HPC has only done what it has the legal power to do so and has complied with the proper practises in doing so.

Standing Orders and Financial Regulations are adhered to and are kept under review.

4. We provided proper opportunity during the year for the exercise of electors’ rights in accordance with the requirements of the Accounts and Audit Regulations.

 

During the year, HPC has given all persons interested the opportunity to inspect and ask questions about the authority’s accounts.

HPC displays relevant documents on the village notice boards and in the Parish Council’s front window. This information is also published on the Councils website.

5. We carried out an assessment of the risks facing this authority and took appropriate steps to manage those risks, including the introduction of internal controls and/or external insurance cover when required. HPC has considered the financial and other risks it faces and has dealt with them properly.

An annual risk assessment is written and reviewed.

6. We maintained throughout the year an adequate effective system of internal audit of the accounting records and control systems.

 

HPC has arranged for a competent person, independent of the financial controls and procedures, to give an objective view on whether internal controls meet the needs of the Council.

An Internal Auditor was appointed and will undertake two visits a year to review accounts and procedures as a minimum.

7. We took appropriate action on all matters raised in reports from internal and external audit. HPC has responded to any matters brought to its attention by internal and external audit.
8. We considered whether any litigation, liabilities or commitments, events or transactions, occurring either during or after the year-end, have a financial impact on this smaller authority and, where appropriate have included them in the accounting statements. HPC disclosed everything it should have about its business activity during the year including events taking place after the year-end if relevant.

There were none

 

9. (For local councils only) Trust funds including charitable.
In our capacity as the sole managing trustee we discharge our accountability responsibilities for the fund(s)/assets, including financial reporting and if required, independent examination or audit.
HPC has met all of its responsibilities where it is a sole managing trustee of a local trust.

 

 

 

2. OFFICER RECOMMENDATION Members are recommended to approve this Annual Governance Statement for year ended 31 March 2022 set out in Appendix 2. To view Appendix 2 please click here.

 

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

To: Council

Date: 14 June 2022

Contact for this report: Parish Clerk

Subject:  Item 6.3 Annual Return supporting documentation – Internal Auditors report for the year ended 31 March 2022 and Accounting statements for the year ending 31st March 2022.


6.3.1 The Internal Auditor’s report has been received and the year-end report has been attached as for Members information together with the signed the Annual Internal Audit Report for 2021/22. (Appendix 3). To view Appendix 3 please click here.

6.3.2 A copy of the Accounting Statements to support the Annual Return are attached and were reviewed as part of the Internal Auditors review and are set out as (Appendix 4). To view Appendix 4 please click here.

RECOMMENDATION

6.3.3   Members are RECOMMENDED to note the contents of the Internal Auditors report.

6.3.4   Members are RECOMMENDED to approve that the Accounting statements for the year ended 31st March 2022, in this Annual return, present fairly the financial position of Hassocks Parish Council and its income and expenditure.

 

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

Appendix 5

To: Council

Date: 14 June 2022

Contact for this report: Parish Clerk

Subject:  Item 6.4 Annual Risk Report.


6.4.1 Hassocks Parish Council is required to monitor and review risks on an ongoing basis and to consider policies arrangements in place to mitigate.

6.4.2 This report sets out the risk assessments (Appendix 5) for Hassocks Parish Council covering:

Financial & Management risks
Physical risks.

6.4.3 Members are requested to review and consider the attached risk assessments to determine they are satisfied with current management/controls of the risk in operation and that appropriate actions are being taken to reflect the changing risk environment.

RECOMMENDATION

6.4.4 Members are RECOMMENDED to consider the contents of the risk reports and note the actions put in place to manage the risks to the Council and to approve the current approach to risk management.

To view Appendix 5 please click here.

Minutes

Draft Minutes of the meeting of the Parish Council held on 14th June 2022

at 7.30pm in Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks

Attendees: Parish Councillors Ian Weir, Jane Baker, Kristian Berggreen, Sue Hatton, Leslie Campbell, David Bunting ,Bill Hatton, Frances Gaudencio and Alex Simmons.

Parish Clerk: Ian Cumberworth

MINUTES

PC22/38       APOLOGIES   Cllr Carolyn Barton, Cllr Kate Bailey, Cllr Claire Tester.

Absent without apologies:  Cllr Robert Brewer

Visiting Member(s): –  County Councillor Kirsty Lord (Sent Apologies)

PC22/39       DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS

Disclosure by Councillors of personal interests in matters on the agenda, and whether the Councillor regards their interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct. – None.

PC22/40       MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on the 10th May 2022 were accepted as a true and accurate record of the meeting.

PC22/41       PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

No members of the public were present.

PC22/42       MINUTES

42.1          Members accepted the minutes of the Planning Committee meeting on the 9th May and noted the minutes of the meeting on 30th May 2022.

42.2          To note the minutes for the Grounds & Environment Committee 18th May 2022.

42.3          To note the minutes of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee for the 26th May 2022

PC22/43       FINANCE

43.1          Members considered the finance report and the supporting bank statements and reviewed the following payment list.

The Finance report and payments totalling £18,185.57 (Appendix 1) for the period ending 30th April 2022 were considered and APPROVED.

43.2          Annual Governance Statement – The Clerk introduced the Annual Governance Statement (Appendix 2) set out on pages 6-8 on the agenda. The paper set out how the Council has discharged its responsibilities. This statement had been assessed as part of the internal auditors work and had formed part of the internal auditors testing and will also be subject to further scrutiny by the Councils external auditors.

Members were content with the detailed in the statement, therefore they were requested to approve the attached Annual Governance Statement and authorise the Chair and the Clerk to sign the statement as a true and fair record of the control framework on behalf of the Council.

Members indicated they were satisfied with the governance report and RESOLVED to APPROVE that the Annual Governance statement be signed by the Chair and the Clerk.

43.3       Internal Auditors report – The Clerk advised members that the internal auditors report detailed in Appendix 3 (pages 9-26) set out the detailed findings and assessment of the control framework. Overall the Internal Auditors conclusion was positive and concluded that the Council have sound governance/control frameworks in place.

The auditor has made two recommendations one which relates to Fidelity Insurance cover which has now been addressed a part of the recent re-letting of the insurance contract. The other relates to reviewing Financial Regulations against NALCS new model document which will be scheduled in later in the year.

Members were asked to note the contents of the Internal Auditors report and the actions being taken to address the recommendations.

Members duly NOTED the contents of the Internal Auditors report and his statement in support of the overall governance framework.

Members also NOTED the actions to be taken to address the two recommendations being made.

Cllr Gaudencio also raised whether Standing Orders would be reviewed as part of this process and if so whether there may be an opportunity to review some elements in our existing procedures. The clerk indicated that some textual elements within Standing Orders are compulsory however there our other elements that the Council have flexibility on. It was confirmed that this could also be looked at as part of the review.

43.4       Accounting statements – Members were taken through the Accounting Statements detailed in Appendix 4 on page 27 of the agenda together with a detailed breakdown of the figures on pages 28-31.

This document had been reviewed by the Internal Auditor as part of their assessment of the internal control framework and will also be assessed as part of the external audit. Members were requested to consider and approve the Accounting Statements and authorise the Chair to sign the Accounting Statement Document on behalf of the Council.

Members RESOLVED to APPROVE the signing of the 2021/2022 Accounting statement by the Chair.

43.5       Risk Management – The Clerk introduced the risk report set out on pages 33-44 which detailed the position regarding the risks within the council. The report was split into two sections:

  • Management/Financial risks
  • Physical risks.

Members were informed that the Council is required to formally review risks annually however members were advised that risks are kept under review throughout the year due to changing circumstances and amended as required. The Clerk clarified that there had been some modification to the description text, however this had not resulted in a material change to the risk profile of the organisation. It was also confirmed that the risks are considered and reviewed as part of the internal audit process.

Members therefore RESOLVED to AGREE the contents of the risk review and accepted that it reflected the risk profile of the Council.

PC22/44     Reports

44.1        County Councillors reports: – Cllr Kirsty Lord (KL) had submitted her apologies but had submitted a brief report for the Clerk to present as follows:

Railway tunnel – Cllr Lord attended the tunnel opening with Cllr Sparasci last Wednesday. Efforts are being made to ensure that the footpath (5k) is upgraded to a bridleway and that the surfaces either side of the tunnel are upgraded and lighting is provided to ensure the community can access and make the fullest use of the tunnel.

Stonepound – Discussions have been held with Highways regarding a north-south crossing at Stonepound on Keymer road.  This idea has been rejected in the past due to the AQMA site as it would require all 4 arms of traffic to be stationary to allow a crossing here. Concerns had been expressed previously this could worsen air quality.  However now that air quality is improving at Stonepound, this option will be revisited to see if plans could be prepared to move forward as soon as circumstances around the AQMA allow.

Kingsland gate – A site visit was undertaken with Richard Speller (Highways).  The footpath out of the site currently ends abruptly at the road with lots of bark and a narrow strip of tarmac opposite the bus stop but no sensible place for crossing. The developer is required to replace the bark with an appropriately surfaced and sufficiently wide pavement. When this is done county will look to put a safety fence at the exit from the estate due to the slope from the path and concern about safety for children.

Opportunities are also being explored as to whether it would be possible to re-site the bus stop or create a crossing island to reach the bus stop safely, although this is complicated by the right turn into the Friars Oak pub.

At the last Parish Council meeting members raised the issue about the installation of a way marker for footpath 9c.This has been discussed with WSCC who have agreed to provide one which will likely be installed in the autumn

Clayton Avenue – the sink hole is now fixed. The problem was a leaking sewer. It appears that the delay in the repair was due in part to a breakdown of communication/liaison between the respective agencies.

44.2          District Councillor Report (Cllr Sue Hatton) indicated that unfortunately she was unable to attend the tunnel opening but indicated that it was a fantastic achievement for the village to secure this improvement to remove the danger of the crossing.

Within the S106 development agreement there is an obligation on the developer to install surfacing and lighting however this is triggered once there is certain level of occupation on the site. This matter is being taken up with MSDC planers to see whether the developer can bring forward this trigger point.

The District Plan review which the District paused earlier in the year have written to Mr Gove MP regarding the potential housing numbers being reduced, however they are yet to receive a formal response. Until the Council is informed differently the existing numbers will remain.

At a recent public meeting a surprise announcement was made by the MSDC leader of the Council Jonathan Ash-Edwards that it was proposed to remove the site (Cuck-Stye) located between Cuckfield and Ansty from the current District Plan review which was proposed to contribute up to 1600 homes. This proposal may therefore impact on other locations if this reduction is required to be made up elsewhere.

MSDC have now appointed a new member to the Cabinet – Rachel Cromie.

MSDC are currently undergoing a management restructure.

MSDC have approved the release of funds at the request of Burgess Hill Town Council to create a temporary urban park on the Martletts site until any development progresses.

44.3          Police Report –   The Clerk informed members that he and Cllr Weir recently attended a virtual Police liaison meeting with the Police Commissioners office where we took the opportunity to raise a number of issues including the lack of visibility of our assigned PCSO and lack of presence in the park/village generally.

The issue of re-establishing Beat Surgeries in the Parish Centre was also raised and a number of potential dates had been provided to the police.

Since the meeting we have had more visits from the police within the park, however we have also seen an increase in Anti-Social behaviour within the park including, obscene graffiti on the skate park, a bench sheared off at welded joints, fire lit in the gents toilets and glass smashed in the small children’s playground and Skate Park areas.

44.4        Rail Matters – Cllr Campbell indicated that a meeting had been scheduled in the near future in the Parish centre to discuss the potential future/options for the group.

44.5       Youth Initiatives – Cllr Gaudencio updated members on a number of initiatives Hassocks Youth projects were organising including the Art sessions that are now running regularly in the Sports Pavilion on a Thursday night and how some of the Councils grant funding is being used. In addition summer guided bike rides are also planned.

The group sits under the umbrella of Hassocks Community Organisation and efforts continue to be made to acknowledge the Councils support on all promotional material.

Cllr Gaudencio also indicated that she had recently spoken to the MSVA Community Development Officer and although there were pockets of deprivation in the village the current level of youth provision is reasonable being delivered via after school clubs, Hassocks Youth projects, Church youth club and Sussex Clubs for Young people.

Members asked Cllr Gaudencio some more detailed questions on the events operated by Hassocks Youth projects and thanked her for the update.

44.6       Report from Councillors on meetings of outside bodies where the Council is represented – none

PC22/45     CHAIRMANS REPORT – nothing to report.

PC22/46     CLERK’S REPORT

46.1       Insurance – Members were advised of the outcome of the recent market testing for Insurance.

In consultation with the Chair the Council have entered into a one year contract with Hiscox

Although the budget had been increased it does not fully cover the increase in premium with a shortfall of £333.99.

Therefore members are requested to note that the insurance contract has been let to Hiscox on a 1 year contract and to retrospectively approve the release of £333.99 from General reserves to cover the overspend.

Members NOTED the award of the contract to Hiscox and retrospectively APPROVED the release of the additional £333.99 from General reserves to cover the increase in premium over and above the allocated budget.

The Clerk also reminded members that as previously agreed the Council has also arranged for its building assets to be valued for re-instatement costs to provide assurance that the Councils property assets are sufficiently insured. In the event it is identified they are undervalued this may lead to our premiums increasing further.

PC22/47     URGENT MATTERS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE CHAIRMAN – none.

PC22/48     DATE OF NEXT MEETING

To note that the date of the next Parish Council meeting is Tuesday 12th July 2022 at 7.30pm.