Minutes of Choppington Parish Council meeting on 13 April 2022 (DRAFT)

MINUTES OF THE CHOPPINGTON PARISH COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 13 APRIL 2022

THOSE ATTENDING:

Cllr H Allsopp

Cllr G Huntley

Cllr A Iley

Cllr J Rowell

Cllr Vaughan (Chair)

Cllr L Watson

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mrs A Brindley, Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer, Mr D L Nicholson, Deputy Parish Clerk and Mr D Iley Finance Officer.

AGENDA PART 1

062/21      1.         APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE.

The following apologies were received:  Cllr J Foster (Holiday), Cllr K Grimes and Cllr A Hart (prior appointments). The meeting agreed that these were proper reasons for absence.

C063/21      2.         DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY AND

OTHER REGISTERABLE INTEREST(s).

No declarations made.

C064/21      3.         PUBLIC QUESTIONS.

The Parish Clerk reported no questions have been submitted.

C065/21      4.         PLANNING MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION.

21/01195/FUL – Epworth House 2 High Street Guide Post

We have been advised by NCC that the applicant had demonstrated that it was unviable to make improvements to the building and demolition and rebuild would be necessary.   The Parish Clerk advised that in consultation with Cllr Grimes, the Council has updated a response to support the view that a new proposal should be produced to provide something of a similar style and façade.

C066/21      5.         TO RECEIVE AND ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING ON 8 DECEMBER 2021

The meeting agreed the minutes represented a true record of the meeting, authorising they be signed as such by the Chairman and placed in the public domain.

C067/21      6.         MATTERS ARISING.

None.

C068/21      7.         TO RECEIVE AND ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL  (BUDGET) ON 26 JANUARY 2022

The meeting agreed the minutes represented a true record of the meeting, authorising they be signed as such by the Chairman and placed in the public domain.

C069/21    8.         MATTERS ARISING.

The Parish Clerk advised that the necessary notifications in regard to the precept had been sent to Northumberland County Council.

 

C070/21    9.         TO RECEIVE AND NOTE THE MINUTES OF THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE ON 9TH FEBRUARY 2022.

Members received the minutes

C071/21    10.       ANNUAL REVIEW OF RESERVES

The Parish Council is required to maintain adequate financial reserves to meet the needs of the organisation.

RESOLVED:  Members considered the report and confirmed the level of general and earmarked reserves as adequate for the needs of the organisation.

C072/21    11.       REVIEW OF INVESTMENT POLICY

The Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer presented the Investment Policy for consideration by members. The policy informs the investment strategy for the year to come. The policy concentrates on low-risk investments that spread risk and affords protection for Parish Council funds.

RESOLVED: Members confirmed the investment policy attached as appendix 2 to these minutes.

C073/21    12.       REVIEW OF INVESTMENT STRATEGY.

Because of the special and confidential nature of the business to be discussed, this item was placed on part 2 of the agenda.

C074/21      13.       ANNUAL STATEMENT OF RISK.

The Parish Clerk explained that each Parish and Town Council should have in place a system to help it to manage risk. This system will be simple for the smallest parishes and more complex for larger parish and town councils.  A council’s internal auditor may use this risk management system to help to identify what tests to carry out as part of the audit.

Good practice requires the Parish Clerk to assess and manage risk and the Authority to consider ways to improve and document existing practices.  The Parish Council has previously recognised the importance of risk management and has adopted procedures for risk assessment and management.  The failure to manage risks effectively can be expensive in financial terms and, also in terms of service delivery and reputation.

Members are ultimately responsible for risk management because risks threaten a council’s ability to achieve its objectives. The Clerk should therefore ensure that members:

  • Identify the key risks facing the council.
  • Evaluate the potential to the council of one of these risks taking place; and
  • Agree measures to; avoid, reduce or control the risk or its consequence.

Every council is different and there is no such thing as a standard list of risks. There are however common themes that are likely to emerge. These might include:

  • Physical assets – buildings, equipment, IT hardware etc.
  • Finance – banking, loss of income, petty cash etc.
  • Injury to the public – in playgrounds and recreation grounds, community buildings etc.
  • Complying with legal requirements – agendas and minutes, records, etc.
  • Councillor propriety – declarations of interest, gifts and hospitality etc.

The Clerk needs to consider each of the possible risks under each of the identified schemes. For example, physicals assets could be lost as a result of fire or flood, damage by vandals, theft, or deterioration through lack of maintenance.  All these risks can be minimised or transferred by various means such as taking out insurance, securing alarms or by regular inspection and maintenance.  In addition to identifying risk, it is a good idea to make a judgement about likelihood of the risk occurring and its potential impact.  Classification need be no more complicated than high, medium, or low.  Members have received training and will be aware that specific training to address areas of concern will be arranged.

There are three main ways of managing risk:

  • Take out insurance.
  • Work with another party to reduce the risk; or
  • Manage the risk yourself.

The Parish Clerk asked Members to consider the annual statement of risk as contained in Appendix 4 attached to these minutes and note the changes highlighted.

  RESOLVED:

  1. Members considered and adopted the annual statement of risk (assessment and management) for 2022.
  2. Confirmed the increase of fidelity insurance

 

C075/21      14.       PARISH CLERKS REPORT.

  1. Finance Report. Members received a report on expenditure made and income received since the last meeting of the Parish Council. She identified Members approved this report for display on the Parish Council website.
  2. Financial Performance to the end of the financial quarter. Members received a report detailing the financial position to the end of the year.  Members approved this report for display on the Parish Council’s website.
  3. Health and Safety report. Members received the quarterly report for consideration, a copy of which is attached to these minutes. The Parish Clerk reported on:

1          The works being undertaken on the grounds of the Welfare.  Works will commence in the week commencing 11th April which will entail ground works and the placement of 3 storage containers.  Currently the area is contained behind fencing, but during the week there will be the need for moving heavy machinery.  We have delayed the start of the works as it conflicted with a youth football school playing on the welfare fields, and requested that there will be no movement when the sports fun day is on. A risk assessment with take place before each event.

2          Liddells Field.  We have closed Liddells play area due to vandalism within one week of it being opened.  We are awaiting the contractor to repair the item that was vandalised.  This area is very prone to vandalism and antisocial behaviour.  It is regularly reported that cars and motorbikes enter and cause damage to the field.  The Parish Clerk suggested that members might wish her to investigate barriers across the entrance.  Although this will not prevent cars on the field as it possible to enter along a track a few hundred meters down the road, it would restrict the cars using the field as a through route.  The Clerk reported that the proposed plans for Liddells field including the MUGA may need to be revised given the antisocial behaviour in the area.

3          Play area repairs to the spinner at Morpeth Road and seat at Cambridge Road have been completed by Kompan

 

AGENDA – PART 2

Members resolved that in consideration of Standing Order 3 and because of the special and confidential nature the following items require consideration after the exclusion of press and public

 

  • CO75/21 Consideration of any matters referred from Agenda Part 1.

Investment strategy 2022/23.

Members resolved that investments to a maximum of £100,000 be considered by the Finance committee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 10                                                                                                          Appendix one

Review of Reserves

 

 

1          Legal Implications

 

Parish Councils are required to maintain adequate Financial Reserves to meet the needs of the organisation.

 

2          Review of Reserves

 

It is essential that authorities have sufficient reserves to finance both its day-to-day operations and future plans.  It is important, however, given that its funds are generated from the precept, that such reserves are not excessive.

 

            Choppington Parish Council holds 2 categories of reserves

 

  1. General

General Reserves are funds which do not have any restrictions on their use. They cushion the impact of uneven cash flows or can be held in case of unexpected events or emergencies.   It is recommended that general reserves are between 3 – 12 months of precept less transfers to earmarked balances.  This year £89033-£356,132

 

Members may consider that given the uncertain times that we are going through with rapid fuel inflation, general inflation and uncertainty in the supply chain, a higher general reserve is prudent until the environment has calmed.

 

  1. Earmarked

These funds are identified for specific purposes.

There is, in practice, no upper or lower limit to EMR save only that they must be held for genuine and identifiable purposes and projects, and their level should be subject to regular review and justification … (JPAG5.37)

Earmarked balances are reviewed during the budget process and reported to the Parish Council following the end of the financial year.

 

  1. Reserves

 

General                                              £ 154,792

Earmarked Reserves

Repair and replacement                  £ 133,680

Cleaswell Park/GP field                  £ 100,000

Riverside Park                                 £   20,000

Festive lighting improvement         £   15,000

Painting                                             £     5,000

Local Improvement                       £     5,000

Total                                       £ 278,680

 

 

 

  1. Decisions Required:
  1. Members are requested to note the level of reserves at the start of this financial year.
  1. Request a reserves policy is prepared for consideration to the policy review working group for recommendation to the Finance Committee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 11                                                                                              Appendix Two

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choppington Parish Council

 

Investment Policy

 

 

 

 

Investment Policy for Choppington Parish Council

 

Adopted 4 November 2015

Reviewed 27 January 2018

Reviewed 20 April 2021

Reviewed 13 April 2022

 

 

  1. Context

 

  • This document establishes policy, and reporting arrangements for the management and control of the Council’s funds.

 

1.2       This policy informs how the Council develops its investment strategy.  This document uses as guidance the Department for Communities and local Government ‘Guidance on Local Government Investments’ issued under section 15(1)(a) of the Local Government Act 2003 effective on or after 1 April 2018. It applies where a parish council expects its total investments exceed £100,000 in the financial year. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/678866/Guidance_on_local_government_investments.pdf

 

1.3       The policy was approved by the Parish Council on 4 November 2015 and is reviewed and if necessary revised on a three-year basis.

 

  • The Council acknowledges the importance of openness and accountability for the prudent management of public funds.

 

  • The Parish Council will determine each year an investment strategy:
  1. The type, purpose, and extent of any investment.
  2. The levels of investment that can be made in each category (Specified, loans and non-specified Investments)
  3. The overall sums available for investment
  4. Maximum terms of investment and rate of return
  5. How it benefits the core activities of the Council

 

  1. 2. Risk

 

2.1      The Council’s risk procedures consider the current Guidance on Local Government Investments.

 

2.2      The Council’s investment priorities are the security of reserves and liquidity of its investments with the generation of income only after security and liquidity has been assured.

 

2.3       The Parish Council will review risk on an annual basis.

 

  1. External Management of Funds

 

Where external investment managers are employed, they will be contractually required to comply with the strategy.

 

  1. Specified Investment

 

4.1       An investment is a specified investment if all the following apply:

 

  1. The investment is denominated in sterling and any payments or repayments in respect of the investment are payable only in sterling.

 

  1. The investment is not a long-term investment (is an investment other than one which is due to be repaid within 12 months of the date on which the investment was made, or one which the authority may require to be repaid within that period).

 

  1. The making of the investment is not defined as capital expenditure by regulation 25(1)(d) of the Local Authorities (Capital Finance and Accounting) (England) Regulations 2003 [SI 3146 as amended].

 

  1. The investment is made with a body or in an investment scheme of high credit quality, or with one of the following public-sector bodies:
  2. The United Kingdom Government
  3. A local authority in England and Wales
  • A Parish Council or Community Council

 

4.2       For the purposes of this policy high credit quality is measured through credit rating, which is an evaluation of the credit worthiness of a debtor, especially a business (company) or a government, but not individual consumers.  The evaluation is made by a credit rating agency of the debtor’s ability to pay back the debt and the likelihood of default.  Evaluations of individuals’ credit worthiness are known as credit reporting and done by credit bureaus, or consumer credit reporting agencies, which issue credit scores.

 

4.3       Credit assessment and evaluation for companies and governments is generally done by a credit rating agency such as Standard & Poor’sMoody’s or Fitch. These rating agencies are paid by the entity that is seeking a credit rating for itself or for one of its debt issues.

 

 

  1. Loans

 

            5.1  The Parish Council may choose to make a loan to a local enterprise if it satisfies the Council’s strategy for local economic growth, however it must demonstrate

  1. a) total financial exposure is proportionate
  2. b) An assessment of the impact on a balanced budget if the loan value is at risk
  3. c) Appropriate credit control measures are in place to recover overdue repayments
  4. d) The Council has agreed the loan level

 

  1. Non-specified Investment

 

6.1   With regard to non-specified investments (i.e., those not meeting the definition for specified investments or loans) Parish Councils are recommended:

 

  1.          Set out procedures for determining which categories of such investments may prudently be used.  Choppington Parish Council will take full account of credit rating (see paragraphs 4.2 and 4.3 above).

 

  1. Identify which categories of such investments are to be prudently used in the financial year.

 

  1. State the upper limits for the amounts which, at any time during the financial year, may be held in each identified category and for the overall amount which may be held in non-specified investments (the limits being defined by reference to a sum of money or a percentage of the authority’s overall investments or both).  This will be determined as part of the budget process and confirmed by the Parish Council at its April meeting.

 

  1. Borrowing

 

7.1      The Council recognises that there are other methods of raising resources for capital financing, other than borrowing including use of Council Reserves, revenue financing, Government and EC grants, Lottery funding, leases and capital contributions from other partners and stakeholders.

 

7.2      Wherever possible the Council will seek external funding towards capital

programme projects.

 

7.3       Local Council borrowing is governed by Schedule 1 to the Local Government Act 2003.  Borrowing may only be entered into for a purpose that would be capital expenditure as defined in S16 of the Local Government Act 2003 and the decision must be made by the full Council.

 

7.4       The requirement to borrow will be reviewed annually as part of the Investment Strategy and the budget process.  The Council is only likely to borrow if it is felt the benefits of borrowing outweigh any risks and where the benefit of the investment matches the period of repayment.

 

  1. Borrowing in advance of need

 

Borrowing to invest in a yield bearing opportunity is borrowing in advance of need. To borrow under these circumstances, the Council must include in the investment strategy the management of risk including the non-achievement of yield or borrowing costs increasing.

 

  1. Reporting on investment performance

 

Reporting will be included in the Finance report given by the RFO to the Parish Council/Finance committee on a quarterly cycle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 13                                                                                              Appendix Four

Parish Council Risk Assessment and Management

Annual Review April 2022

 

1          Legal Implications

 

Each Parish and Town Council should have in place a system to help it to manage risk. This system will be simple for the smallest parishes and more complex for larger parish and town councils.  A council’s internal auditor may use this risk management system to help to identify what tests to carry out as part of the audit.

 

2          Cost Implications

 

The financial costs associated with the identified measures for the management of risk is contained within the Parish Council budget for 2022/2023.

 

3          Resource Implications

 

The costs associated with the management of risk in terms of the human resource required for assessment and management are contained within the Parish Council work programme.

 

4          Background

 

Good practice requires the Parish Clerk to assess and manage risk and the Authority to consider ways to improve and document existing practices.  The Parish Council has previously recognised the importance of risk management and has adopted procedures for risk assessment and management.  The failure to manage risks effectively can be expensive in financial terms and, also in terms of service delivery and reputation.

 

Members are ultimately responsible for risk management because risks threaten a council’s ability to achieve its objectives. The Clerk should therefore ensure that members:

 

  • Identify the key risks facing the council
  • Evaluate the potential to the council of one of these risks taking place; and
  • Agree measures to; avoid, reduce, or control the risk or its consequence.

 

Every council is different and there is no such thing as a standard list of risks. There are however common themes that are likely to emerge. These might include:

  • Physical assets – buildings, equipment, IT hardware etc.
  • Finance – banking, loss of income, petty cash etc.
  • Injury to the public – in playgrounds and recreation grounds, community buildings etc
  • Complying with legal requirements – agendas and minutes, records, etc
  • Councillor propriety – declarations of interest, gifts, and hospitality etc

 

The Clerk needs to consider each of the possible risks under each of the identified schemes. For example, physicals assets could be lost as a result of fire or flood, damage by vandals, theft, or deterioration through lack of maintenance.  All these risks can be minimised or transferred by various means such as taking out insurance, securing alarms or by regular inspection and maintenance.  In addition to identifying risk, it is a good idea to make a judgement about likelihood of the risk occurring and its potential impact.  Classification need be no more complicated than high, medium, or low.  Members have received training and will be aware that specific training to address areas of concern will be arranged.

There are three main ways of managing risk:

  • Take out insurance
  • Work with another party to reduce the risk; or
  • Manage the risk yourself.

 

During 2018/19 the Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer conducted a comprehensive review of insurance and risk, meeting with representatives of Came Insurance and attending seminars run through the SLCC.  Insurance is reviewed on a 3-year cycle.  Staff receive training on risk annually through the Society of Local Council Clerks and members review the authorities risk statement each year.

 

5          Action Required

 

1          Members are asked to consider those items contained in Annexe 1 and to agree any required control actions.

 

2          Instruct the Parish Clerk to take any/all actions identified by members.

 

 

 

 

Angela Brindley

Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer

06 April 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annexe One

CHOPPINGTON PARISH COUNCIL

RISK ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT 2022/2023 

 

AreaRiskLevelControl (and agreed improvements)
Assets

 

Protection of physical assetsLThe Parish Council owns physical assets such as bus shelters, notice boards, planters, play equipment, portable staging, grass cutters, public seating, waste bins, War memorials, gardening equipment, security equipment, equipment for snow clearance, equipment required for the maintenance of sports surfaces, computers and related equipment, mobile sports court and specialist container and office equipment. Insurance exists in relation to 3rd party liability.

Each asset together with their purchase price is contained in the Parish Council Asset Register.  The combined replacement cost of these is in excess of £500,000.  To insure for replacement will be in the region of £3,000/annum (£250 to £750 excess in respect of any claim).  The Parish Council has previously resolved to make financial provision for the replacement of these assets on a cyclical basis of between 5 and 25 years, dependant on the economic life of each asset.  The Parish Council considers that this earmarked fund gives the most cost-effective solution for cyclical and other required replacements.  The necessary financial contribution to this fund is calculated on an annual basis each January and the required provision is identified in the Parish Council budget.

Although formal transfer of Allotments from NCC has not yet taken place.  Allotments are regularly inspected.

From 1 April 2013 Northumberland County Council transferred the responsibility for play areas to the Parish Council.  The replacement cost of equipment located in these play areas is in the region of £225,000.00. The Parish Council has previously agreed to make provision for the replacement of all play equipment on a cyclical basis (15 to 20 years).  It is considered that this fund is adequate for replacement of equipment through damage/vandalism. The liability for play areas and any land when transferred to the Parish Council will be automatically covered under the existing Public Liability insurance.

During 2022/2023 financial provision has been made for the replacement of 2 play areas in line with the schedule detailed above.

 

 

Security of buildings, equipment etcLThe Parish Council owns one building, which will be subject to a long term (peppercorn community lease) lease, with the tenant being responsible for security, maintenance, and repair.  The Parish Council offices are located within premises owned by a local charity. Office equipment is contained within a secure environment.  It is anticipated that the Parish Council will own or have purview of additional community buildings in the future.  A separate consideration of risk will be undertaken for each building. The Parish Council owns a modular sports facility (MSF) that can be transported from area to area in a secure trailer. When not in use the MSF and trailer are stored in a secure area.  Replacement of this facility is provided for through earmarked funds.
 

 

Maintenance of buildings, equipment etcL

 

A full maintenance contract exists in respect of photocopying equipment (3 machines), with IT equipment being self-managed. One of these machines is scheduled for replacement.  Financial provision has been made for their future replacement through earmarked funds.
FinanceBankingMIt is anticipated that not more than £750,000 will be held in accounts at any one time during 2022/2023. The budget set by the authority for 2022/2023 does not anticipate excessive interest/charges on our principal account. Funds held will reduce during the financial year as earmarked expenditure for the development of community facilities is made. Fidelity insurance will be regularly reviewed, and initially set at £700,000. Members will review the level of fidelity insurance required on a quarterly basis and to direct adjustments to ensure value for money.

Currently all funds are held in 2 accounts, main account Unity Trust and risk spreading through utilisation of a public sector deposit fund. Parish Council funds are excluded from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and deposits through the public sector deposit fund is made to mitigate risk. These investments will be made in accordance with the Parish Council’s Investment Strategy in April 2021 (C060/20) and to be reviewed at the Parish Council meeting 13th April 2022.

 Risk of consequential loss of incomeLPartnership projects are funded, in part through investment from partner organisations. All activity beyond this is funded through precept income.
 Loss of cash through theft or dishonestyHOnly small amounts of cash are handled.  However, in the age of electronic banking it is considered that a Fidelity Guarantee of £750,000.00 is required (see recommendation contained in Financial Banking above).
 Financial controls and recordsMFinancial Regulations are currently being reviewed. Monthly bank reconciliation and quarterly budgetary control reports prepared by Clerk are reported to Council. Two signatures from five signatories on cheques. Members perform scrutiny/probity checks by rota each month. Parish Council accounts are subject to scrutiny by internal and external audit. All financial procedures and processes are reviewed annually. The Parish Council has adopted an Investment Policy.
 Comply with Customs and Excise RegulationsMVAT payments are reviewed regularly, and claims made by the Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer. VAT claims are reported to members and scrutinised through audit.

The Parish Clerk and Deputy Parish Clerk undertake VAT training on an annual basis to maintain knowledge and realisation of financial benefit.  The Parish Council has retained the services of an external VAT adviser to support the council when required.

 Sound budgeting to underpin annual preceptMReports to Council contain examination of Financial and Resource implications. Council receives and considers detailed budgets as part of its annual consideration December/January, with required precept being calculated in January. Income & Expenditure against budget reported to Council every quarter.
 Complying with borrowing restrictionsLNo borrowing has been made by the Parish Council to date.
 
LiabilityRisk to third party, property, or individualsMPublic Liability insurance in place.  Existing cover of up to £10m.
 Legal liability as consequence of asset ownershipMAssets owned are contained in the Asset Register and include street furniture.  The mobile court is owned by the Parish Council and will be operated on our behalf by a third party with all necessary liability insurance.
 Libel and SlanderMMembers and clerk – standard cover up to £250,000 (This cover extends to the Deputy Parish Clerk and other staff).
 Officials IndemnityMCover for members and clerk for any negligent act, accidental error or omission committed – standard cover up to £500,000 (This cover extends to other members of staff).

 

Employer LiabilityCompliance with Employment LawMAdvice sought from National Association of Local Councils and the Society of Local Council Clerks when required.  Existing insurance cover up to £10m in respect of most aspects. Potential cover in respect of Tribunals is limited to £50k. The Parish Council is classed as a Larger Local Council and has made budget provision to obtain, when required, legal advice to support the authority in respect of legislative changes, increased responsibility/liability and to protect the authority from any legal actions mounted against the authority.  Provision has also been made to support the development of each member of staff.
 

 

Comply with Inland Revenue requirementsMNorthumberland County Council undertakes all payroll functions on behalf of the Parish Council. Internal and external auditors carry out annual checks.
 Compliance with Pension Fund requirementsMThe Parish Council has 4 employees, 3 of whom are members of the Local Government Scheme. Necessary policy reviews and statements are prepared under the direction Tyne and Wear Pension Fund, which administers the scheme.

 

 Safety of Staff and VisitorsMThe Parish Office is located within Stakeford and Bomarsund Sports and Social Welfare Centre, a community building. The Parish Council is becoming engaged on an increasing basis in organising events where health and safety process and procedures are required in both planning and delivery. Risk grows with activity and the Parish Council has commissioned legal and technical support in consideration of legislative change and increased regulatory requirements from an external provider.

Training in respect of risk assessment has been undertaken by all members of staff. Training will be undertaken at every opportunity during the next 12 months.

Legal

Liability

Ensuring activities are within legal powersHClerk clarifies legal position on any new proposal ensuring legal authority. Legal advice is sought when required.
 Proper and timely reporting via the MinutesMCouncil meets quarterly and receives committee meetings minutes held in interim. Minutes made available through website.
 Proper document controlLDocuments are held in secure locations with authority for particularly sensitive documents to be deposited at bank or solicitors. The Parish Council is compliant with the requirements of GDPR, FoIA and other requirements are observed.    
 
Councillor

Propriety

Registers of Interests and gifts and hospitality in placeMRegister of interest completed.  The acceptance of gifts and hospitality is not encouraged and there is a requirement to declare any gifts or hospitality (over £50 in value) as and when received.  This requirement extends to members and employees and is reviewed annually.

 

 

 

 

Angela Brindley

Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer

06 April 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 14.1      Finance Report                                                                             Appendix Five

Expenditure
Cheque RefTransaction DetailDate PaidTotalPayee Name
302145Membership Fee01/03/2022105.00Association of Accounting Technicians
Std OrdSchool Sports Programme06/03/20221638.58PFC
RentOffice Rent06/03/2022808.92Stakeford & Bomarsund Welfare
DD1675S174email server licences08/03/202266.24Google Ireland Ltd
302147multi lock plus extra keys10/03/2022123.32Parish Clerk reimbursed (Guide Post Field)
Std OrdIT/Functional12/03/2022417.15members support
302149Preparing for audit Eventbrite21/03/202210.00PC reimbursed
302148Youth work sessions21/03/2022270.00Senior Youth Worker leader
302150PAT testing21/03/2022330.00J & D Shepherd Limited
302151Training online AB and DI21/03/2022108.00Soc of Local Council Clerks
302152Festive lighting22/03/202218451.20Northumberland County Council
DD1676S174Telephone & Broadband25/03/202276.02British Telecom
302153Parish Election recharge28/03/20226747.70Northumberland County Council
302155Jubilee bunting29/03/20228.60CDO
302156SLCC membership DPC29/03/2022215.00DPC reimbursed
302157Containers & locks30/03/202211984.40Cleveland Containers
302158weighing scales31/03/202256.89FAO
302160Travel expenses31/03/2022296.30DPC reimbursed
DD1674S174Bank Charges31/03/202231.05Bank
302166Photocopying31/03/202236.00Total Business Group
41780.37
Income
Interest Received04/03/202255.57Public Sector Deposit Fund
Inv 102 for CDO services31/03/20222590.00West Sleekburn Community Trust
2645.57

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 14.2
Incomenote
BudgetActualVariance
Precept4108674108670
Partnership411523336-192211
Other7501945731
Neighbourhood Plan900002
Total424732436148
Expenditure
Staffing costs1591381567782360
Office Costs14707134411266
Members Costs11912718647263
Fees And Charges18717136375080
Contingencies17500184215658
Surfaces & Boundary contracts712046382482
Local Service Delivery76500729403560
Allotment Expenses12501405-155
Community Services10840342574154
Grants and donations120001050109502
Sport in the community19663196630
Youth Provision151144609105055
Total364461300614 
projects66119111368-452496
TotalIncome436148
Expenditure411982
transfer to balances24166
Note 1£16681 received from previous West Sleekburn Trust as contribution towards new building
Note 2Budget includes £9,000 towards neighbourhood planning grant and expenditure of grant
Note 3Support budget for all members, County Cllr Foster receives similar support from NCC and does not claim for Parish
Note 4Many of the activities have not yet resumed after Covid, we have reduced the budget to £8408 22/23
Note 5Budget for youth club full year 4770, restarted 20 January 2022
Note 6Includes play areas, festive lighting, security containers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 14    3.                                                                                                   Appendix Six

Health and Safety report to Parish Council meeting 13 April 2022

 

 

Health and Safety items covered in this report relate to:

 

  1. Parish council as an employer

 

  1. The following equipment/premises
  1. Play areas
  2. Bus shelters (not for the ground it stands on)
  • Allotments (Site at Bomarsund)
  1. Parish Office

 

  1. Addition health and safety inspections for:
  1. Stakeford and Bomarsund Welfare Centre – the Council shares areas of the building has access to the car park and uses surrounding areas for sporting activities.
  2. West Sleekburn premises and grounds on behalf of the Trustees of West Sleekburn Hall.

Employees

 

Covid update.  When working from the office staff are maintaining social distancing.  Moving around the public area staff are required to wear masks.

 

Play areas

 

The Parish Council maintains the following play areas

West Sleekburn

Milburn Grange

Eastgreen

Cambridge Road

Liddells Field

Welbeck Road

 

Weekly reports are received from inspections by Northumberland County Council which are reviewed by DLN and DI.  The reports are colour coded to alert the seriousness of any damage or defects.

Anything marked as a serious alert (red) may be dealt with by the NCC inspector, but this will trigger a visit by a Parish officer and a course of action agreed.

 

Issues to note 

 

Liddells Field

The refurbishment has been completed, with the exception of the HAG climbing frame.  We had specified that two ladders were to be replaced because of corrosion, however only one was on the order, therefore we are waiting for the second one to arrive from HAGS.

A resident has an image of a car parked alongside the play area.  Entry can be from over the fields behind the play area or from the road/cut between West Terrace and Fair Avenue.

Our recommendation is to investigate a way to barrier off access from the cut. Although this will not prevent cars travelling from the back fields it will deter them from cutting past the play area to use the cut as an exit point.

 

Cambridge Road

We have replaced the melted seat at Cambridge Road. The bin had found itself in the middle of the play area, however, is now back in situ.  Should it happen again we will need to concrete the paving stone down.

 

Church Avenue

Report that net is coming away from ring on Basketball area.  It may be a simple repair with cable ties, but we require ladders to do it.

 

Morpeth Road

Spinning Ring has indents in ring which was to be replaced by Kompan when they were here doing the refurbishment at Liddells Field, but this is still outstanding.

 

Eastgreen

The self-closing gate is not working correctly, which we will investigate this week.

Report that some of the railings a slightly bent from NCC, our inspection can only find one, however.  It has been marked at requiring monitoring on the report with no risk of injury.

 

Reports of soil infills required in front of bench seats at Milburn Grange and Church Avenue and overgrown bushes at Milburn Grange will be attended to during the winter maintenance cycle.

 

 

Allotment site

 

DI undertakes monthly inspections of allotments noting the general condition of site, gates, locks, water taps and tracks and any general obstacles.

 

Issues to note

No change – Still awaiting plainings for pot holes to entrance of site, instead of waiting for NCC to supply them we have asked G&B engineering who are doing the compound to purchase additional for the allotments

Water boxes require repair, DPC has had a template prepared.

 

Parish Office

 

No change to report

Covid measures are no longer in place except the wearing of masks when moving around the Welfare building and meeting visitors. Hand sanitisers are available at the doors to the Welfare and on the stairs to the Parish Offices.  No-one other than staff are able to access the Parish Offices unless they have business there.

 

Stakeford and Bomarsund Welfare

 

Premises as above.

 

West Sleekburn Hall

 

DI performs monthly hard surface inspections.

 

Issues to report

No issues

 

Actions to be considered

 

To consider the report and direct the Parish Clerk on any issue raised that require further action.

 

 

A Brindley

Parish Clerk

                                                                                                            06 April 2022