HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL
To: All Members of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee (Ian Weir, Kate Bailey, Carolyn Barton, David Bunting, Don McBeth and Paul Shepherd) with copies to all other Councillors for information.
A meeting of the POLICY RESOURCES & COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE will be held on TUESDAY 24th October 2023 at 7.30pm in the Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks.
Parish Clerk 17 October 2023
1. TO ACCEPT APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
2. TO ACCEPT DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
3. MINUTES to accept the Minutes of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee held on 5th September 2023. (Previously Circulated).
4. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
Hassocks on Show event –October 28th October – Adastra Hall – verbal update.
6. Budget Position
The purpose of this report is to update the Committee on the budget position for 2023/2024
Financial Accounts Budget – 1 October 2023 provides a detailed position as per the RBS finance system and is produced for information in Appendix 1. To view Appendix 1 please click here.
The attached report sets out the following detail:
- Annual spend/income to date
- 2023/24 budget
- Variance (difference between spend and budget to date – Expenditure and Income)
- Balance of budget
- % spent to date
Members are requested to note the report
7. Budget Initiatives
Members are requested to consider potential initiatives they would like to see funded in the next financial year (2024/25). In considering options members should have regard for the Councils current allocated Earmarked Reserves (EMR) our priorities within the current Business plan and the new emerging business plan document. This would then enable these initiatives to be considered as part of the forthcoming budget setting process.
8. URGENT MATTERS at the discretion of the Chairman for noting and/or inclusion on a future agenda.
9. DATE OF NEXT MEETING. 28th November 2023.
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. Minutes to accept the confidential minutes of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee held on the 5th September 2023 (previously circulated).
11. Staffing matters
All members of the public are welcome 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.
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.
HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL
Draft Minutes of the meeting of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee held on 24th October 2023 at 7.30pm in the Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks.
Attendees: Parish Councillors Carolyn Barton, David Bunting, Ian Weir and Don McBeth.
Visiting member: Peter Richardson.
Parish Clerk: Ian Cumberworth.
PRC23/38 APOLOGIES – Cllr Paul Shepherd.
Absent without apologies Cllr Kate Bailey.
PRC23/39 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.
The minutes of the meeting held on the 5th September 2023 were accepted as a true and accurate record of the meeting.
PRC23/41 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
No members of the public were present.
Hassocks on Show Event – Members were advised that the display boards for the event had been completed and were mocked up in the foyer of the Parish Centre. Members were encouraged to finalise the content prior to the final colour versions being produced.
Members indicated they were happy with the mocked up version and felt that it was well presented. Members wished to place on record their thanks to the office team for pulling together the information and content for the information boards.
Members then viewed the promotional video produced by Cllr McBeth covering the work of the Council and its achievements. This will also be shown at the event. Members were impressed with the footage and thanked all who were involved in its production. It illustrated just how much the Parish Council had achieved in recent years.
Members discussed the logistics of the day and agreed that Cllr Weir would co-ordinate organising the time slots for the eight members that had confirmed attendance to be on the stall. It was also confirmed that Members would set up and take down the displays. Name badges and general stationery to be provided by the office.
To assist Members it was agreed that the Clerk would circulate a booklet which had been produced for the event that set out the councils responsibilities and members would be encouraged to familiarise themselves with the content prior to the event. There would also be some hard copies available for the public on the stall.
PRC23/43 Budget Position
The Clerk introduced the paper setting out the position as at 1st October 2023. Members were advised that based on the current information it looks as if the Councils revenue streams were continuing to strengthen and return to pre pandemic levels.
Members’ attention was drawn to a number of income and expenditure streams.
It was noted on the revenue side that burial fees will exceed the budget income. Bowling income had increased and it was anticipated that Pavilion revenue was on target to exceed the budgeted income.
The Clerk drew Members’ attention to a number of areas of expenditure:
In respect of Insurance the Council has recently entered into a term arrangement and secured savings in excess of £2,500 therefore enabling these funds to be returned to general reserves.
Parish centre/Garage The Repairs & Renewals budget remains underspent as refurbishment of windows has not progressed at this stage as alternative options are being explored, however in light of the recent attempted break in of the groundsman’s store it was proposed members consider the installation of more secure garage doors Members were supportive of this proposal.
Elections Sums were allocated for elections which were not utilised as no election was required therefore these funds can be returned to general reserves.
Adastra Park grounds maintenance budget will be exceeded to cover the absence of the groundsman. Any overspend will need to be covered by general reserves. Some of the above savings/underspends referred to could be utilised to cover some of these costs.
Retention funds currently held in relation to the Playground Installation contract will be released in the near future as all outstanding defects have now been resolved and will be released back to the contractor.
The Clerk indicated he did not propose to go through the information line by line but was happy to take any questions Members may have. It was also emphasised that due to the profile of some of the expenditure it’s unlikely to be reflected in the accounts until the back end of the year.
Members raised a range of questions regarding specific income and expenditure headings which the Clerk responded to. Members were content with the explanations provided.
Members duly NOTED the report.
PRC23/44 Budget Initiatives
Members’ views were sought on some potential initiatives to be considered as part of the budget setting process.
The Clerk requested that members consider supporting the acquisition of two software packages in relation to Allotment management and Burial Ground management.
It was anticipated that this would improve resilience and streamline some of the current manual processes, these packages could be part of our suite of packages currently provided by Rialtas (finance package) or alternative providers.
At present these systems are managed by a combination of spreadsheets and Word files. The proposed systems would streamline/automate some of the current processes and provide further resilience in the event of key individuals leaving the organisation.
It would be anticipated that these would improve consistency of record keeping and data entry standards as the authority continues to grow.
Members were supportive of this proposal and requested and AGREED that the Clerk undertake further enquiries to establish potential costs.
Parish centre replacement windows/soffits/bargeboards rather than repairing. The Clerk raised the possibility for Members to consider utilising the existing Repairs & Renewals EMR sinking fund to finance this initiative rather than requiring new funding.
It was suggested that members may wish to consider replacing with (non-wood uPVC) such as wood effect/or other to reduce future maintenance and improve insulation efficiency. The existing windows do not meet current building standards and the current insulation of the existing window profile is poor.
The porch area would remain as it is but would be re-treated.
This could potentially be funded via an existing allocated sinking fund of £18,785 for R & R allocated within our EMR. Therefore no new funds would be required.
Members were supportive of this initiative in principle subject to further discussions regarding the finish.
Members raised the issue of the trees along the boundary of the park on Keymer Road obscuring the lighting and whether funds could be allocated to undertake some works to improve the lighting. The Clerk indicated that the Council has an existing budget for tree works available in the current financial year and will look to see if this can be addressed in this financial year.
Members discussed the visibility of the entrance to the park in the dark and what options might be available to improve this. It was acknowledged that reflectors had been used previously but were vandalised. Members indicated that to improve lighting in this area would probably be a longer term aspiration.
PRC23/45 URGENT MATTERS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE CHAIRMAN – None.
PRC23/46 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
To note that the date of the next is Tuesday 28th November 2023 at 7.30pm