Policy, Resources & Communications



To:      All Members of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee (Ian Weir, Kate Bailey, Sue Hatton, Carolyn Barton and Kristian Berggreen) with copies to all other Councillors for information.

A meeting of the POLICY RESOURCES & COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE will be held on Tuesday 30 November at 7.30pm 2021 at 7.30 pm in the Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks.

Parish Clerk 24 November 2021




4. MINUTES to accept the Minutes of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee held on 20 April 2021. (Previously Circulated)


6. DRAFT BUDGET 2022/23

The attached paper set out as (Appendix 1) details of the draft budget proposal for 2022/23. Members are requested to consider the contents of the report and determine whether the draft budget proposal should be forwarded to Council for consideration and make any recommendations regarding the level of proposed precept for 2022/23.

7. COMMUNICATIONS (verbal update)

8. URGENT MATTERS at the discretion of the Chairman for noting and/or inclusion on a future agenda.

9. DATE OF NEXT MEETING 18 January 2022

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.


10. Staffing Matters (Appendix 2)

Please Note
All members of the public are welcome to attend meetings of the Parish Council and its Committees.

Item 5 – 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.

If you wish to attend this virtual meeting please email info@hassocks-pc.gov.uk before 09.00 hrs on the day of the meeting to be sent an electronic invitation by 14.00 noon on that same day.

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.

Appendix 1

Hassocks Parish Council

Draft Budget Proposal 2022/23


1. Introduction

2. Summary of Budget Information

3. Summary of projected Income & Expenditure 2021/22 and budgeted 22/23

4. Notes to the budget

5. Effect on Reserves

6. Earmarked Reserves (Projects)

7. Glossary of Terms

8. Appendix A Summary Analysis of Impact on Precept

1. Introduction

The following paper sets out the projected budget out turn for 2021/22 and a draft budget for consideration for 2022/23.

The aim of this document is to create a budget that takes into account both revenue and capital expenditure. As part of the budget setting process a number of factors are required to be considered which include:

  • The current impact on the budget as result of Covid 19 and anticipating potential future impacts of the pandemic
  • Allowing for general (e.g. inflationary) changes to expenditure where necessary.
  • Allowing for future staffing costs.
  • Allowing for changes to the Councils operational priorities identified as part of the Business Planning process.
  • Taking into consideration the potential possibility that Parish Council precepts may be capped in future years.
  • Setting aside an amount to be transferred to reserves to contribute to the cost of longer term projects to support the Councils priorities.
  • Being prudent in the Councils assessment of future income streams.
  • The level of unallocated reserves should be set at a prudent level to allow for unforeseen but possibly costly expenditure.

The Council operates a ‘balanced budget’ approach to ensure the long term viability of its operations and earmarks funds in advance to support the longer term priorities of the Council. This has enabled the Council to establish itself on a sound financial footing, and protect its existing reserves to be utilised to fund the Councils priorities. Based on the current budget projections if the Council chose not to increase its precept for 2022/23 the budget would run at a projected deficit of (£6,655). Members may therefore wish to consider an increase in precept alongside potential increases to allow further sums to be allocated to Earmarked Reserves to support future Council priorities. The projected outturn for 2021/22 income and expenditure is trending lower in a number of areas as a result of the impact of the pandemic on various revenue budgets. These have also been impacted by the reduced availability of contractors and /materials due to post lockdown demand and supply chain issues which has also impacted on potential delivery timeframes.

Members should determine whether to allocate any of these projected underspent funds (21/22) to the current Earmarked Reserves to support the longer term priorities of the Council prior to this financial year end.  A proposal to do so is set out in section ‘Effect on Reserves’ for consideration, if this proposal is agreed members may wish to factor in setting aside further EMR allocations for the next financial year when setting the precept for the next financial year 2022/23

Appendix A in this report sets out the impact on the Council Tax Bands if the Council were to choose not to apply an inflationary increase and retain the current precept level. (To view Appendix A please click here).

Timescale for setting the budget

Legally Hassocks Parish Council must set its precept no later than 1st March for the financial year that commences 1st April 2022. In practice the Council normally determines the precept requirement in December. We have not yet received confirmation of our final tax base figures from Mid Sussex District Council which are normally provided in December. Therefore for the purposes of calculating the precept the Council Tax Base figure has been based on provisional figures to enable the draft precept to be calculated. In the event of this provisional number being adjusted this would either increase or decrease the equivalent band D property.

2. Summary of Budget Information

HPC Precept Year Property Tax Base (Band D equivalent) Total Precept Precept per Band D equivalent Property
2013/14     £55.69  **
2015/16 3296 £166,276 £50.44
2016/17 3329 £181,500 £54.42
2017/18 3348 £188,760 £56.38
2018/19 3365 £275,009 £81.73
2019/20 3382 £280,545 £82.95
2020/21 3468 £295,545 £85.22
2021/22 3,490  £295,545   £84.68
2022/23 3,612 £295,545 £81.82

Option 1: if the Council were to retain the (2021/22) precept level due to the increase in property base of Band D equivalent properties the Band D precept would reduce by £2.86 per annum and would deliver a deficit budget of (£6,655)

Option 2: If members were to consider delivering a balanced budget for 2022/23 the precept would need to be raised to £302,200 which would attract a precept for a band D property of £83.67 per annum however in doing so the Council would not be able to finance a recent decision made by Grounds & Environment Committee to establish an annual sinking fund for the replacement of the Play equipment.

Option 3: The sum determined by the Committee for the sinking fund was £10,102 per annum therefore if members wish to finance this in the next financial year via the precept members would need to raise the precept to £312,302 which would attract a precept for a band D property of £86.46 per annum

The options are based on the property base of 3,612 which is an increase of 122 from last year.

Option PRECEPT Band D Precept Council tax Increase/decrease from previous year Overall % increase /decrease in precept % increase/decrease  charge per property
1 £295,545 £81.82           (£2.86) 0% -3.4%
2 £302,200 £83.67           (£1.01) 2.25% -1.2%
3 £312,302 £86.46            £1.76 5.67% +2.1%

In 2021/22 the Council chose not to increase the precept however with inflation projected to average around 4% in 2022/23 if members wish to deliver a balanced budget a small increase would be required. The impact of any increase would be reduced as a result of an increase in the property base within the parish therefore the overall costs are apportioned across a greater number of properties.

Taking the options above:

Option 1 would deliver a deficit budget but deliver an annual saving for a Band D property of £2.86 or a saving of 5.5 pence per week.

Option 2 would deliver a balanced budget (excluding any allocation to support sinking fund) and deliver an annual saving for a Band D property of £1.01 or 2 pence per week

Option 3 would deliver a balanced budget (including the allocation to support sinking fund) and deliver an additional annual cost for a Band D property of £1.78 or 3 pence extra per week

3. Summary of projected Income & Expenditure 2021/22 and proposed budgeted 2022/23

Receipts 2021/22

Year-end projected

Receipts 2022/23 Draft Budget
Precept 295,545 Precept (illustrative purposes only) 295,545
Bank Interest 26 Bank Interest 75
Miscellaneous Income 440 Miscellaneous Income 0
Allotment Income 1,450 Allotment Income 1,450
Burial Fees 4,250 Burial Fees 5,000
Adastra Park Pavilion 3,750 Adastra Park Pavilion 4,000
Adastra Park Grounds 4,554 Adastra Park Grounds 4,500
Adastra Park Tennis 2,000 Adastra Park Tennis 2,000
Adastra Park Bowling Green 1,915 Adastra Park Bowling Green 2,000
Parking Disc Income 475 Parking Disc Income 500
Tree fund donations 365
Total Receipts 314,770 Total Receipts 315,070
Payments Payments
Staff (note 1) 140,656 Staff 162,750
Administration 28,946 Administration 32,300
Civic (note 2) 2,700 Civic 1,350
Grants 4,000 Grants  4,500
Allotments 1,700 Allotments 1,575
Burial Grounds (note 3) 3,100 Burial Grounds 18,400
Parish Centre/Garage (note 4) 7,500 Parish Centre/Garage 13,250
Adastra Pavilion 12,100 Adastra Pavilion 12,950
Adastra Park Grounds 15,900 Adastra Park Grounds (note 5) 17,850
Play Equipment 5,200 Play Equipment (note 6) 5,000
Adastra Skate park 0 Adastra skate park 250
Adastra Tennis Courts 125 Adastra Tennis Courts 1,250
Bowling Green (note 7) 1,200 Bowling Green 2,100
Parklands Copse 1,200 Parklands Copse 1,250
Talbot Field 1,500 Talbot Field 1,750
Street Scene 10,617 Street Scene 11,850
Street Lighting (note 8) 17,750 Street Lighting 19,500
Environmental Improvements 8,300 Environmental  Improvements (note 9) 6,500
Neighbourhood Plan 0 Neighbourhood/Parish Plans (note 10) 2,500
Parking Discs 400 Parking Discs 600
Christmas Lights 3,750 Christmas Lights 3,750
Economic Develop 0 Economic Development 500
Total Payments 266.644 Total Payments 321,725
Adastra Park Masterplan (Retention) 9,239
 Tree Planting 85
Public Rights of Way 3,000
Village sign 3,000
Youth 2,000
Total Net Capital Expenditure 17,324

4. Budget Notes 2021/22 – 2022/23

Notes Details (Significant variations/suggested options)
1 Staff Costs (21/22) underspend realised this year as currently continuing to carry a vacant post, but option to retain budget sought to enable flexibility in the event of considering revisiting the establishment in 2022/23.

Provision for 2022/23 reflects an allowance for inflationary uplift and incremental progression where appropriate.

2  Civic (20/21) expenditure against budget is underspent primarily due to   £2,000 allocated to support potential Twinning events which were deferred as a result of the pandemic.
3 Burial Ground (21/22) Repairs & Renewals to be retained at higher level to repair /resurfacing existing path which is currently starting to break up and establish extended path network to improve accessibility.  The allocation within the 2021/22 budget for the path network (£6,000) was understated particularly in light of the current premiums on contractor’s prices and materials as a result of the pandemic, therefore these improvements have been deferred. The proposed budget for 2022/23 has been increased to reflect a more realistic allocation to enable these works to progress in 2022/23.
4 Parish Centre Repairs & Renewals Budget Proposed to retain this budget at higher level to enable scheduled works to the outside of Parish offices painting/treating wood frames /doors etc. to be undertaken but deferred in 2021/22 due to covid lockdown measures and availability of trades.
5 Adastra Park Grounds budget proposed to be increased to reflect additional tree works identified as part of the recently completed tree survey.
6 Play Equipment (21/22) projected overspend this year as a result of increase in repair works required to maintain equipment in good order. Based on the experience of this year it’s proposed to retain a higher budget allocation for repairs for 2022/23.
7 Bowling Green – Expenditure down this year likely to return to more normal levels for 2022/23 as facility was closed/lightly used for part of year as a result of restrictions.
8 Street Lighting – PFI annual contract price scheduled to increase together with projected fluctuations in power costs, the extent of which will be reliant on the contractor’s energy supplier arrangements.
9 Environmental improvements (22/23) budget reduced slightly overall as allocation provided for PROW has reduced and will now only cover ad hoc maintenance repairs. The majority of funding for PROWS will now be met via EMR via a delivery programme of scheduled improvement schemes.
10 Neighbourhood/Parish Plan Proposed allocation to complete a piece of work on the Parish plan to support the Neighbourhood plan in 2022/23 encompassing climate change and community resilience.

Overall the projected revenue budget spend for 2021/22 will be lower in part due to the impact of the pandemic which has resulted in a number of service work streams being curtailed /delayed.


  RESERVES 2021/22 RESERVES 2022/23
A Opening Balance brought forward 349,479 Total Consolidated Reserves Opening Balance b/fwd. 380,281
B Less Total Earmarked Reserves (129,842)


Allocated EMR                      (156,620)
C General Reserves Balance (working capital)  ( A – B ) 219,637 General Reserves Balance (working capital)  ( A – B ) 223,661
E Add total Receipts 314,770 Add total Receipts

2022/23 Precept for illustrative purposes only added assuming no increase

F Less Total Payments (266,644) Less Total Payments (321,725)
G Projected Budget surplus (E – F) 48,126 Budget Deficit– (based on no increase in precept) (E – F ) (6,655)
H Capital EMR Expended in year (17,324) This assumes EMR expended in year (for illustrative purposes only) (44,000)
J EMR carried forward 112,518 EMR Balance carried forward 112,620
K Proposed Additional EMR allocated 2021/22

( B – H + J )

44,102 Additional EMR allocated as part of budget setting.  
L Projected Total Consolidated Reserves

(A +/- G – H)

380,281 Projected Total Consolidated Reserves (for illustrative purposes only) (A +/- G – H) 329,626

The current Reserve picture is based on existing allocations to Earmarked Reserves (EMR) and does not take into account at present all longer term projects currently under consideration.

Income Streams

The Council has a number of key Income Streams that it can utilise.


Other Income

Adastra Park:
Community Pavilion – hire fees
Grounds (pitch hire fees etc.)
Tennis Courts (hire fees)
Bowling green (fees)

Burial Ground

Parklands Allotments

Miscellaneous Income

Sale of Parking Discs

Bank Interest


6. EARMARKED RESERVES (PROJECTS) projected closing balance 31/03/21

  Projected Cost Value How funded
1 Hassocks Trading Association  500 Reserves
2 Park Improvement scheme 29,648 Reserves/s106
3 Tree Planting Initiative 1,191 Reserves
4 Bus Shelter Replacement 10,000 Reserves
5 Repairs Fund 18,785 Reserves
6 Legal/land transfer 8,000 Reserves
7 Parish Acoustics 3,000 Reserves
8 PROW Improvements 3,000 Reserves
9 SDNP CIL Funding 3,394 Reserves
10 Business Plan 35,000 To be allocated to specific schemes
See table 6 below
11 Additional proposed allocations for schemes previously considered at G & E Committee 44,102 See table 6 below proposes
Transfer from General Reserves
  Total 156,620  

6. PROJECTED DETAILED EARMARKED RESERVES POSITION if schemes recently identified as priority initiatives at grounds & environment committee

  Projected Cost Value How funded
1 Hassocks Trading Association 500 Reserves
2 Park Improvement scheme

(additional £15,000 allocated)

44,648 Reserves/s106


Play equipment sinking fund

(New allocation) **

10.102 Reserves (from General Reserves)
4 Garden of Remembrance

(New allocation) **

10.000 Reserves (from General Reserves)
5 Tree Planting Initiative  1,191 Reserves
6 Bus Shelter Replacement 10,000 Reserves
7 Repairs Fund 18,785 Reserves
8 Legal/land transfer 8,000 Reserves
9 Parish Acoustics 3,000 Reserves
10 PROW Improvements ** (£41 k additional allocation) 44,000 Reserves (from Business plan
EMR and General Reserves)
11 SDNP CIL Funding 3,394 Reserves
12 Flooding (new allocation) 3,000 Reserves (from General Reserves)
  Total 156,620  

The proposed additional Earmarked reserves allocation is represented by the £35,000 previously earmarked within EMR  20/21 as Business Plan, projected underspend/savings this year within the revenue budget relating to Twinning, Salaries, Parish centre and Burial Ground repairs with the balance being drawn down from existing General reserves to support the initiatives recently identified at Grounds & Environment Committee.


7. Glossary of Terms

Financial Year: The financial year for a Parish Council runs from the 1st April to the 31st March each year, this is set in statute.

A revenue budget: Revenue is the running cost of the council and its services, and the income that meets those costs.

Capital Budget/Earmarked Reserves: A capital budget involves funding for capital projects – the acquisition or construction of long term assets e.g. the development of facilities within Adastra Park or creation of a cemetery or the purchase of a new council building.

The precept: The Parish Council is able to raise funds by levying a charge on residents. This is known as the precept. The precept is raised through an additional charge on resident’s council tax. The billing authority pays, in this case Mid Sussex District Council, each precepting authority the amount they require and collects such sums from its residents through the council tax. Unlike other tiers of government the precept is not capped at present.

Council Tax Bands: The amount of Council tax that you pay varies depending on the “BAND” your property is in. Bands run from A-G, the banding is based on a valuation of a property as at 1 April 1991. Band A is the lowest valuation and Band G the highest. Council tax is usually expressed as the Band D equivalent (this being the mid-point).

Council Tax Base: The Council tax base is determined by expressing all domestic properties in an area as Band-D equivalents. The total amount required to be met from council tax is then divided by the tax-base to produce a Band D charge. From that amount so produced, each of the other seven band council tax charges are calculated.

Council Tax Support (CTRS) Grant: Council Tax Benefit was abolished from 1st April 2013 and each local billing authority was required to provide their own scheme of Council Tax Support to assist vulnerable and low paid residents in paying their council tax.

Support for low income individuals is now provided through a discount applied to their Council Tax Bill, meaning that the Council Tax Base (the number of Band D equivalent properties in a local authority’s area that Council Tax is charged on) is reduced and as such, less Council Tax is collected. The net effect of this is that precepting authorities either need to increase their precepts to offset the cost of this or face a reduction in their funding.

Reserves: Part of budgetary control is to ensure adequate but not excessive reserves or balances are held.

It is rare for a local council to hold its reserves other than in the form of easily accessible bank deposit or other short-term savings accounts. Councils have no legal powers to hold revenue reserves other than those for reasonable working capital needs or earmarked purposes. The value of all reserves should be approved by the Council and the amount of working capital to be held should also be approved by the Council.


Minutes of the POLICY, RESOURCES and COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE meeting held at the Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks on Tuesday 30th November 2021 at 19.30 pm

Attendees: Parish Councillors: Ian Weir, Kristian Berggreen, Jane Baker (ex-officio member) David Bunting (substitute member).

Clerk: Ian Cumberworth

PRC21/01 APOLOGIES: Cllrs: Sue Hatton, Kate Bailey and Carolyn Barton (Cllr Bunting attended as substitute member on behalf of Cllr Barton).


PRC21/03 ELECTION OF CHAIR AND VICE CHAIR The Clerk indicated that in light of the number of members present who normally sit on the Policy & Resources Committee it was not proposed to elect a Chair / Vice Chair for the current year at this stage and this will be held over to a future meeting. However a nomination was sought for a member to chair this evenings meeting.

Cllr Weir was nominated and seconded to act as the Chair for the meeting. All members were in favour and AGREED that Cllr Weir chair the meeting.


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 20th April 2021 as previously circulated were accepted by members as a true and fair record.


There were no members of the public present.

PRC21/06 DRAFT BUDGET 2022/23

Cllr Weir first sought confirmation from all members present that they have had the opportunity to read the budget report and also sought confirmation as to whether other members of the Policy & Resources Committee not present had fed back any comments to the Clerk. All members confirmed that they had read the report and the Clerk confirmed other comments had been received. Cllr Weir indicated he would be happy to consider those as part of any discussion.

Cllr Weir then invited the Clerk to take members through the report

The Clerk introduced the report and informed Members that the paper in Appendix 1 set out a draft budget proposal for 2022/23 together with a summary of the projected out turn for the current financial year 2021/22.

The Clerk then took members through each section of the report in turn, the introduction within the report set out considerations taken into account in determining the budget proposal.

Members were invited to view pages 5 and 6 of the report which summarised the income and expenditure for 2021/22 (projected out turn) and a proposed budget for 2022/23.

The report set out the impact of both revenue expenditure (day to day expenditure) and reserves used to support the council’s priorities.

To provide an illustration for members the Clerk indicated that if the Council chose not to change the current level of precept it would return a deficit budget of £6,655 for 2022/23.

If members however were minded to deliver a balanced budget and adjust council tax to cover the projected shortfall this would increase a band D equivalent property annual Council Tax bill from £81.82 to £83.67 which is equivalent to a 2.25% increase in precept, however due to the increase in property base this would represent a reduction in payment of 1.2% actually paid in council tax when compared to this year’s payment.

Members were advised that as the property base within the parish had increased by 122 in the current year it would mean that any precept raised would be spread across a wider number of households.

The Clerk then took members through page 4 of the report which set out 3 possible options for consideration.

  1. – Retain precept at same level and deliver a deficit budget
  2. – Uplift precept to deliver balanced budget
  3. – Uplift precept to deliver a balanced budget including an allocation to fund the 2022/23 play equipment sinking fund.


To assist members in seeing the impact of each of these options a table was set out on page 4 of the report summarising the financial impact on the precept, the % change in both the precept and % decrease/increase in Council Tax to be paid for the Parish element. All of the options would only have a moderate financial impact on charge payers with option 3 attracting the highest uplift with estimated extra 3.3 pence per week being due from a Band D household.

The Clerk informed Members that due to savings being realised within the 21/22 budget it also provided an opportunity for Members to consider allocating some additional funds from general reserves towards earmarked reserves as part of this budget setting process. On page 10 and 11 of the report such a proposal reflecting the financing of recent priority initiatives identified and supported by the Grounds and Environment Committee was set out.

The Clerk advised members that as part of the budget setting process he had attempted to provide some narrative in respect of some of the key variances in the current budget (21/22) and suggested options/initiatives for 2022/23 which were set out on page 7 of the report.

The Clerk informed Members that he did not propose to go through each income/expenditure item line by line but would be happy to take any questions members may have on some of the proposals.

The Clerk reaffirmed that the table set out on page 8 illustrated the impact on reserves if the precept were to be retained at current levels and members approved the allocation of General Reserves to Earmarked Reserves to support the initiatives recently identified and supported at Grounds and Environment Committee.

Cllr Weir invited members in turn to raise any questions or views on the proposals set out within the paper.

Members sought clarification on a range of elements within the budget which the Clerk responded to and the consensus amongst members was that the Council should continue to adopt a prudent approach particularly in light of the projected inflation rates for the forthcoming year together with the expected continued inflated pricing from contractors/suppliers post lockdown which could mean that funds will not go as far as originally anticipated.

Members debated the merits of the three precept options with each member expressing a preference for proposal 3: uplifting the precept to deliver a balanced budget and funding the 2022/23 play equipment sinking fund. This view had also been supported in correspondence received by the Clerk from members from the Committee who were unable to attend in person. Members also indicated that they were supportive of transferring funds from General Reserves to Earmarked Reserves as set out in the report to support the priorities of the Council.

PRC21/06.1 After careful consideration of the proposed budget requirement Members RESOLVED to RECOMMEND to full Council that they consider adopting option 3 and set the Precept level at £312,302 for 2022/23 to deliver a balanced budget and finance the play equipment sinking fund.
PRC21/06.2 Members RESOLVED to RECOMMEND to full Council to approve the allocation set out in the report of General Reserves to Earmarked Reserves to support the initiatives recently identified and supported at Grounds and Environment Committee.

PRC21/07 COMMUNICATIONS Members were advised that the office are in the process of finalising a press release for the newly installed Village sign which will be publicised on social media and the local press. Initial feedback from the public seems to be generally positive.

PRC21/08 Urgent Matters. None.

PRC21/09 DATE OF NEXT MEETING. 18th January 2022.

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.