You are summoned to a meeting of the Parish Council on 8th September 2020 at 7.30 pm in the Council Chamber, Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks.
Parish Clerk 2 September 2019
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.
If you wish to attend, this virtual meeting please email the firstname.lastname@example.org before 4pm on 7th September 2020 to be sent an electronic invitation before 6pm on the 8th September 2020.
1.1 To Accept Apologies for Absence.
2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
2.1 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.
3.1 To accept the minutes of the:
Parish Council meeting 4 August 2020
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 item of business included in the agenda, in accordance with Standing Orders.
To accept the following Minutes
5.1 Planning Committee – 3 July 2020 and to note the minutes for 24 August 2020.
5.2 Policy Resources & Communications 28 July 2020 (for noting)
6.1 To approve the Financial Report and authorise the list of payments in the sum of £ 35,365.54 for the period ending 31st July 2020 set out in Appendix 1. Please click here to view Appendix 1.
7.1 District Councillors’ Report
7.2 County Councillor Report
7.3 Rail Matters.
7.4 Youth Initiatives
7.5 Police report
7.6 Report from Councillors on meetings of outside bodies where the Council is represented.
8. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
8.1 Current matters (oral report)
9. CLERK’S REPORT
The purpose of this report is to inform the Council on Grant applications received this year. The Council agreed a budget of £3,000 for grants and donations to local groups and organisations for 2020/21. The current grant application process is set out for Members information in (Appendix 2). Please click here to view Appendix 2.
The Council made the following donations in 2019/20
||Hassocks Guide Hall Association
||St Catherines Hospice
||Hassocks Christmas Day Lunch Committee
||St Peter & St James Hospice
||Jack & Jill Playgroup
||Parkfield Equine Solutions
||Fauna & Flora Group
||Hassocks Community Runners
The following grant requests have been received for 2020/21
||Funding applied for
||St Catherine’s Hospice
||Hassocks Christmas Day Lunch Committee (subject to this event being held) – papers to follow
||Victim Support ( have not submitted a specific value but assumed the median value)
||Air Ambulance – Kent Surrey Sussex
||4 Sight Vision
||AG Family Support
Supporting documents for each of the above applications are attached as (Appendix 3). Please click here to view Appendix 3.
RECOMMENDATION: The Council is invited to consider the above applications, and determine the grant awards for 2020/21.
9.2 New Grants system Members at full Council last year (PC83.2) requested that the Clerk develop a scheme with the option to enable grant applications to be considered twice during the year as opposed to the current arrangement of once a year and to review the current conditions.
At present the conditions associated with Hassocks Parish Council grant applications and conditions are very basic it was therefore proposed that Members of Policy Resources & Communications Committee consider strengthening these and were invited to review the attached conditions and application form set out in Appendix (Appendix 4/5) which would facilitate the option of considering applications twice during the year.
(Extract from PR&C minutes)
‘The document is based on a model document and amended to reflect the requirements of Hassocks Parish Council therefore Members (PR&C) were requested to consider the draft documents and assess whether they meet the needs of the Council with regards to the administration of the grants scheme.
The original intention was for this policy to be considered at the Policy & Resources Committee in March to enable any changes to be brought in this year however due to the ‘lockdown’ this matter was not possible to progress. Therefore any changes would now have to come into effect 2021/22.’
Policy Resources & Communications Committee considered the paper at its August meeting and agreed to adopt the revised grant process:
PRC20/05.3 Members welcomed the revised conditions and application form design as they felt the Council should become more active in ensuring that funds were expended in line with the application and in particular the larger grant values and that the objectives were achieved.
Members confirmed that the funding should be linked in supporting the parish’s priorities.
Members suggested an amendment to the application form relating to the section regarding the number of direct beneficiaries of the proposed project to be replaced with expected demographics of the beneficiaries. Subject to the above amendment members RESOLVED to APPROVE the revised grant conditions and application to be introduced for the 2021/22 grant funding round
The revised amendment suggested by Policy Resources & Communications Committee has now been incorporated into the document. (Appendix 4 & 5). Please click here to view Appendix 4. Please click here to view Appendix 5.
Members are therefore requested to NOTE the introduction of the revised grants scheme for 2021/2 where grant applications will be considered in September and February each year.
9.3 Replacement Boiler for the Parish Centre: During the recent annual boiler service it was established that the current boiler was leaking, showing signs of rusting together with a cracked plastic casing inside the boiler. The current boiler was fitted in June 2010 and we have been advised that it would not be feasible to repair the current boiler. Although it remains safe to use it was recommended that the unit is replaced in the near future.
On this basis we have sought a quote to replace our existing boiler from our service engineer with a suitable replacement ‘A’ rated condensing boiler. The cost of replacement and associated installation costs would be circa £1,700. Sufficient funds are currently held in the Parish Centre repairs budget to meet the cost of this replacement therefore authority is sought to commission the replacement system in the sum of £1,700.
9.4. Small Business Grant: The Parish Council was recently contacted by Mid Sussex District Council (20th August 2020) to advise us that there had been a change in the Small Business grant qualification criteria following legal advice received from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Following this advice it had been determined that Parish and Town Councils could now apply for a Small Business Grant of £10,000 if they have a property liable for business rates as at the 11th March 2020 and were/are in receipt of small business rates relief.
Hassocks Parish Council meets this criteria therefore a grant application was submitted on behalf of the Council with a view to securing this funding. The cut-off date for submission applications was the 28th August 2020.
This funding initiative represents part of the government covid funding support package to offset additional costs and loss of revenue incurred as a result of the pandemic.
I am able to confirm the parish council has been successful in securing this funding which has now been paid into the councils bank account.
The office up until recently has been able to work remotely using a third party software product which is now no longer available to use which has impacted on the team’s ability to work remotely. With the potential of future restrictions and access to the office being impacted upon it is proposed that some of this fund be utilised to acquire a longer term solution to facilitate secure remote working access.
Having held some preliminary discussions with our IT support provider they have proposed a number of options which have been discussed with the Chair. Having considered the proposals in discussion with the Chair it was agreed to commission the installation of a WatchGuard Firebox with Total security which would enable the team to access the full systems remotely to enable work to continue in the event of any lockdown.
The cost of this solution with a 3 year licence would be £1,404.72 (net) including installation. In accordance Financial Regulation 3.7 within the enhanced limit of £2,500 PC20/9.7) the Clerk sought authority from the Chair to enter into a contract to install this solution.
Failure to do so would result in team members not being able to work remotely which has been a key contingency of the authority in the current climate and enabled the team to work throughout the lockdown period and beyond. The cost of this is to be met from the business grant funding received which is provided by the government to assist organisations who have incurred additional costs or lost revenue as a result of the impact of the pandemic.
Members are asked to NOTE the actions taken
At present some team members are being relied upon to use their own personal computers for work purposes to enable them to work remotely which is not an ideal solution. Members are therefore requested to consider whether some additional funds from this grant could also be utilised to increase the number of work laptops available.
Some indicative quotes were obtained very early on in the pandemic when supply and availability of equipment was limited which caused prices to spike. At that time, a suitable laptop was estimated to cost circa £1,075 (including software). Supply chains have now improved and pricing has become more reasonable therefore costs may be more affordable. Member’s views are sought.
10. Urgent Matters at the discretion of the Chairman for noting and/or inclusion on a future agenda.
11. Date of next meeting 13th October 2020
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 present they will be requested to withdraw from the meeting.
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.
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
Minutes of the virtual meeting of the Parish Council held on 8th September 2020 at 7.30pm.
Attendees: Parish Councillors Ian Weir (Chair), Jane Baker, Bill Hatton, Peter Gibbons, Alex Simmons, Kate Bailey, Frances Gaudencio, Sue Hatton, Kristian Berggreen, Frank Rylance, Bob Brewer, Clare Tester and David Hammond.
Parish Clerk: Ian Cumberworth
Visiting Member(s): none
Cllrs Leslie Campbell, Nick Owens
PC20/41 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.
Cllr B Hatton declared an interest in 9.1 grant item 6 and 7
Cllr S Hatton declared an interest in 9.1 grant item 7
The minutes of the meeting held on the 4th August 2020 were accepted as a true and accurate record of the meeting.
PC20/43 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
There was one Member of the public present who observed proceedings but did not wish to speak.
To accept the following Minutes.
To agree the minutes of the Planning Committee 3rd August 2020 and to note the minutes for the 24 August 2020.
To note the minutes of Policy Resources & Communications Committee 28th July 2020.
Members considered the finance reports and the supporting bank statements and reviewed the payment list. The Finance report and payments totalling £35,365.54 for the period ending period ending 31st July 2020 were considered and APPROVED.
46.1 District Councillors reports: – Cllr Sue Hatton (SH) informed members that most MSDC staff members are continuing to work remotely. The impact of Covid 19 has had a significant impact on the district council’s finances generally but in particular the impact on the operational costs/revenue associated with the Leisure Centres which have only just recently reopened.
Members were advised that the future of Claire Hall was due to be considered at the forthcoming Cabinet meeting next week.
Burgess Hill Martlets development proposals have now been approved but there will not now be any affordable housing provided as part of this development.
46.2 County Councillor – no report submitted
46.3 Rail matters – PG informed members that the rail Emergency Measures Agreement is due to come to an end later this month therefore the government may need to revisit this arrangement.
Members were advised that in August there were 193 cancellations in part due to availability of staff and train crews of which 166 were cancelled outright and 27 ran but failed to stop at Hassocks.
46.4 Youth Initiatives – The Clerk informed members that he had recently received notification from the youth club that they had secured some additional funding to enable them to organise some ‘free’ skateboard training sessions run by professional coaches at the park. The sessions will be open to all and will run alongside the youth club sessions with a view to improving youth engagement. The dates are yet to be finalised.
Cllr Gaudencio (FG) advised members that she understood that the group were arranging to run some purple bus sessions at the park now that the group are on a stronger financial footing.
Cllr Gaudencio (FG) also updated members regarding the progress on initiatives being developed by the Hassocks Youth Project group which is an independent group of which Cllr Gaudencio and Cllr Hammond are on the steering team.
(FG) indicated that progress of developing initiatives continues to be hampered due to the impact of Covid and the difficulties of running activities indoors but the group are in the process of exploring a number of options.
46.5 Police matters – nothing to report.
46.6 Report from Councillors on meetings of outside bodies where the Council is represented – None
PC20/47 CHAIRMANS REPORT – Nothing to report.
PC20/48 CLERK’S REPORT –
Members were informed that the Council had received eight applications for grant funding through the Council’s funding scheme this year. Members were requested to review each application in turn and determine whether they resolved to award the grant funding requested. The Councils 2020/21 grant budget was £3,000 therefore sufficient funds were available to meet the total value sought via the applications if members were to approve all applications. The Council carefully considered each of the following grants in detail taking into account the merit and purpose of each funding request together with the level of support being sought together with the content set out within the respective submissions:
The following grant requests were considered for 2020/21
||St Catherine’s Hospice
|RESOLVED – to award St Catherine’s Hospice £300.00
||Hassocks Christmas Day Lunch
|RESOLVED – to award Hassocks Christmas Day Lunch £100.00
|RESOLVED – to award Victim Support £250.00
|RESOLVED – to award Citizens advice £500.00
|RESOLVED – to award Air Ambulance £250.00
||4 Sight Vision
|RESOLVED – to award 4 Sight Vision £400.00
** Cllr Bill Hatton disclosed an interest and did not vote on this matter
|RESOLVED – to award HKD Transition £500.00
** Cllr Bill Hatton & Cllr Sue Hatton disclosed an interest and did not vote on this matter..
||AG Family Support
|RESOLVED – to REFUSE the award of grant: Although members were very supportive of the areas of work this organisation were involved they expressed reservations that this entity was trading as a commercial limited company and felt the information provided in support of the level of grant to run a potential workshop was not sufficiently robust to demonstrate a clear benefit to parishioners within Hassocks specifically to Hassocks at this point in time therefore on this occasion were unable to approve the application.
Overall members determined to award £2,300 of this year’s budget, members were advised that for the next financial year 2021/22 it was proposed to move over to a twice yearly grant system where grants will be considered in September and February of each year.
Members welcomed this approach and requested that the Clerk seeks clarification from some of the current applicants regarding the outcomes achieved from their proposals for those receiving a grant of £500.00 or above where relevant and request that those organisations provide a report back to the Council on the actual outcome of their initiatives at a later point.
48.2 Grants 2021/2022
The Clerk introduced the report setting out the proposed revised Grants Scheme which is due to come into effect in 2021/22 that was recently considered and approved by Policy Resources & Communications Committee.
The proposal set out that grants would be considered twice during each financial year. In addition the grant scheme conditions had been strengthened to provide greater clarity and more accountability in accounting for how the grants are used and their outcomes.
Members sought clarification from the Clerk in respect of the types of entities that could be considered for grant funding. Members were referred to the grant conditions and in particular the first four bullet points set out on page 3 in Appendix 4. Members were satisfied that this provided some clarity and suggested that the new scheme could be reviewed post the next round of grant consideration to ensure the effectiveness of the new arrangements.
Members RESOLVED to note the report and agreed to programme in a review of the new grant arrangements in October 2020 shortly after the first round of applications have been considered in September next year under the new arrangements.
48.3 Replacement boiler for the Parish centre: A recent service identified a number of defects in the Councils existing boiler, that although it remains safe to use it would benefit from being replaced. We have been advised that the issues identified are not repairable.
The Clerk informed members that he has sought a quote for an ‘A’ rated boiler from the Councils service engineer. The cost of the replacement and associated works would be circa £1,700.
Authority was therefore being sought to commission the replacement system.
Members were advised that sufficient funds were currently held within the parish centre repairs budget to enable the cost of the replacement to be met.
Members discussed the various boiler manufactures and warranties and were content with the proposed installation, therefore.
Members RESOLVED to agree to the installation of a replacement boiler within the Parish Centre and for the costs to be met from the Parish Centre repairs budget.
48.4 Small Business Grant:
Members were informed that the Parish Council had recently secured a grant in the sum of £10,000 from the government Covid support package via Mid Sussex District Council which is provided to offset some of the additional costs and loss of revenue as a result of the impact of the pandemic.
The Clerk advised members that until recently the office team have been able to work remotely using a third party software product which unfortunately is no longer available to use, which has impacted adversely on the effectiveness of the offices work. This product had enabled the team to continue work throughout the lockdown period.
With the potential of future restrictions longer term solutions were explored to build the Councils resilience with our IT support provider to enable the team to continue to have the ability to work remotely if required.
A number of proposals were considered in consultation with the Chair and in accordance with Financial regulation 3.7 it was agreed to commission the installation of a WatchGuard firebox with total security which will enable the team to access the Councils network remotely without having to rely on third party software and at the same time strengthen the Councils system security. Members are asked to note the actions taken
The Clerk informed Members that at present the current arrangements are reliant on some individuals using their own personnel IT equipment for work purposes to enable them to work remotely which is not an ideal arrangement.
With the benefit of this additional funding members were asked to consider whether these funds could be utilised to acquire two additional laptops for the team, in addition members may wish to acquire a ‘pool’ device (e.g. tablet) that could be used by any members who are currently unable to access virtual meetings due to technology issues to enable them to participate in meetings going forward.
The Clerk informed members that he had sought some indicative quotes from the Council’s IT support provider and a suitably specified i5 machines would cost circa £580 – £650. The Clerk informed Members that any device acquired would be for work purposes only and remain the property of the Council
Members were supportive of the proposal and emphasised the need to ensure the laptops were sufficiently specified, the Clerk indicated this would be the case.
With regard to the tablet Cllr Sue Hatton suggested that it might be worth approaching Mid Sussex District Council for advice on a suitable machine as they have been provided to some district members to assist them in attending remote meetings. Cllr Simmons also offered his assistance regarding advice on machines if required.
Members RESOLVED to authorise the purchase of two suitable laptops for use by the office team and to acquire a suitable ‘pool device’ that could be used by any member(s) that are experiencing difficulties in attending virtual meetings due to technology issues. The cost of the equipment and any associated software to be funded from the small business grant fund
PC20/49 URGENT MATTERS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE CHAIRMAN for noting and/or inclusion on a future agenda.
There were none.
PC20/50 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
To note that the date of the next Council meeting is Tuesday 13th October 2020 at 7.30pm.