Minutes of Annual Parish Council Meeting – 10th May 2023

Minutes of meeting

A brief summary of key elements of the Annual PC Meeting on 10th May 2023.  At this meeting they:

  • appointed a Chair, Vice-Chair and Responsible Finance Officer
  • appointed members to all standing committees, working parties and other external bodies,
  • reviewed and ratified Standing Order, Financial Regulations, Code of Conduct and Committees’ Terms of Reference,
  • noted the Internal Auditor’s report and agreed the Annual Governance Statements

The official minutes follow:

Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council

Held on Wed 10th May 2023 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall, CO6 3BW

Chair:Cllr Brian Butcher
Parish Councillors:Cllrs Bob Tyrrell, Harry Stone, Andrew Savage, Katie Pulford, Sara Cullis & David Short (Cllr John Gili-Ross attended via Zoom, but had no voting rights)
Also in attendance:Laura Walkingshaw (Parish Clerk)
City & County Cllrs:None
Members of the public:None

23/79          Election of Chair

Cllr Brian Butcher stated his wish to stand as Chair of West Bergholt Parish Council for another year and previously supplied members with a statement of intent, Cllr Savage proposed, Cllr Stone seconded. All favour.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher duly elected Chair of West Bergholt Parish Council.

23/80          To receive the Chair’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher then signed the Chair’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

23/81          Councillor’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office

Following the uncontested election of May 4th 2023, the Councillors signed and submitted their Declaration of Acceptance of Office forms and were reminded to update their Register of Members’ Interests and submit their Election Expenses (even if nil).

One Councillor, Joel Fayers, did not submit his name for re-election and therefore there is a vacancy on the Council. Due to the election, there is no need to undergo the Notice of Vacancy process so the Council can advertise then co-opt at the next meeting, if there are suitable candidates.

23/82          Election of Vice Chair

Cllr Stone stated he wished to stand as Vice Chair of West Bergholt Parish Council, Cllr Savage proposed, Cllr Short seconded.

RESOLVED – Cllr Stone duly elected Vice Chair of West Bergholt Parish Council.

23/83          Receive/accept apologies and welcome to the public.

RESOLVED – Apologies were received and accepted from Cllr James Owers and Manya Barrow. Cllr Butcher wished all the Councillors congratulations on their re-election.

23/84          Questions from registered electors

There were no questions from registered electors.

23/85          Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

23/86          Previous Minutes

RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 26th April 2023 were approved and signed by the Chair, with no amendments. (See link to PC Minutes P1 Apr 23)

23/87          Report from Colchester City & Essex County Councillors

There were no reports received from either Colchester City & Essex County Councillors. It was noted that Cllr Lewis Barber was re-elected as a Colchester City Councillor at the recent election.

23/88          Constitution

a)   To appoint a Responsible Finance Officer (RFO)

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to re-appointed Cllr Savage as the Responsible Finance Officer for West Bergholt Parish Council. Cllr Cullis seconded. All in favour.

b)   To appoint members to the Council’s standing committees and external bodies:

Publicity Officer – Sara Cullis

WBPC Committees:

Planning Committee

Bob Tyrrell, Brian Butcher, Andrew Savage, Sara Cullis

Chair of Planning Committee: Cllr Tyrrell

Finance Advisory Committee

Andrew Savage, Brian Butcher, Harry Stone, John Gili-Ross, Bob Tyrrell

Chair of Finance Committee: Cllr Savage

Staffing Sub-Committee (reports to Finance Advisory Committee)

Andrew Savage, Brian Butcher, Harry Stone or John Gili-Ross depending on the appointment.

Environment Committee

John Gili-Ross, Harry Stone, David Short, James Owers, Katie Pulford, Manya Barrow

Chair of Environment Committee: Cllr Gili-Ross

     Reporting direct to Environment Committee (Elected by Environment Committee):

          Public Rights of Way – currently John Gili-Ross

          Transport Representative – currently Manya Barrow

These positions will be noted at the end of May Parish Council meeting, following the next Environment meeting. Cllr Butcher asked that whoever acts as Clerk for that Committee remembers to provide the Proper Officer with a copy of the agenda prior to their meeting. This is so that the summons can be published in advance of the meeting, with three clear days, to provide an opportunity for the public to attend should they so wish.

Working Parties:

Climate Change Working Party – Bob Tyrrell, Sara Cullis, Andrew Savage

New LCAS Gold Award Working Party – Brian Butcher, Harry Stone, Andrew Savage

N P Review Working Party – Andrew Savage, Bob Tyrrell, Sara Cullis

William Sims Sports Field WP – Brian Butcher, John Gili-Ross, David Short, Bob Tyrrell, Andrew Savage

MUGA Working Party – (to look at prices & use) Harry Stone, Katie Pulford, Brian Butcher

ACTION – Clerk to find the historical paperwork on the MUGA WP for Cllr Pulford.

Communications WP – (to look at website, FB & Instagram), Sara Cullis, Manya Barrow, Katie Pulford  

New Parish Office Working Party – Andrew Savage, Brian Butcher, Chair of Hall

Council representatives to various bodies

Orpen Hall Mgt Cmt – Bob Tyrrell, Manya Barrow, James Owers, Katie Pulford (reports to Trust)

Joint Steering Group (Social Club) – Brian Butcher, Harry Stone, Andrew Savage (reports to Trust)

ACTION – Cllr Tyrrell asked to join the Joint Steering Group. This will need to go to the next JSG meeting for approval as per the Licence Agreement.

Poor’s Land Futures Group – Brian Butcher, Sara Cullis, David Short (reports to Trust)

Playground Advisory Group – Brian Butcher, Harry Stone, David Short

Traffic Safety Group – Harry Stone, Sara Cullis

Village Bulletin Editorial Board – Manya Barrow, Brian Butcher

Heathlands School Liaison – Brian Butcher, Harry Stone

St Mary’s Church Liaison – Harry Stone, Andrew Savage, Brian Butcher

CALC – Brian Butcher, John Gili-Ross

Project lead councillors (reporting to PC)

N G’s East Anglia Green Project – David Short

Colchester Road Crossing – Brian Butcher

N P Implementation Plan – Sara Cullis

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to agree all of the above appointments, seconded by Cllr Cullis. All in favour.

c)    To review and ratify West Bergholt Parish Council’s Standing Orders

The only amendments made have been to replace Colchester Borough Council with Colchester City Council and Chairman with Chair.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to agree the WBPC Standing Orders, seconded by Cllr Savage. All in favour.

d)   To review and ratify West Bergholt Parish Council’s Financial Regulations

The only amendments made have been to replace Colchester Borough Council with Colchester City Council and Chairman with Chair.

RESOLVED – Cllr Savage proposed to agree the WBPC Financial Regulations, seconded by Cllr Stone. All in favour.

e)   To review and ratify West Bergholt Parish Council’s Committee Terms of Reference (Planning, Finance & Environment)

Planning & Development Committee

Two amendments made: to allow the Chair of the PC to have full voting rights as an ex-officio member, in line with 4e of the WBPC Standing Orders and to change the meeting date from the 3rd Wednesday of the month to the 3rd Monday as per the WBPC Diary Dates for 2023.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to agree the Planning Committee’s Terms of Reference, subject to those two amendments, Cllr Tyrrell seconded. All in favour.

Finance, Policy & Personnel Advisory Committee

A query was raised on the Terms of Reference for the Finance Committee in regard to the inclusion of the Chair of the Orpen Hall Management Committee (as a Trust Committee, rather than a PC one). It was agreed therefore to review the Terms of Reference and bring them back to the next convenient Parish Council meeting for approval once suitably amended.

Environment & Highways Committee

No amendments recommended by Clerk; it had last been amended in June 2022.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to ratify the Environment Committee’s Terms of Reference, seconded by Cllr Stone. All in favour.

f)    To review and ratify West Bergholt Parish Council’s Code of Conduct

No amendments were made to this document at this time.

RESOLVED – Cllr Butcher proposed to agree the WBPC’s Code of Conduct, Cllr Cullis seconded. All in favour.

The Clerk will be attending a CCC online guide to the newly proposed LGA Code of Conduct on Thursday 18th May and will report back to the Council at its next meeting.

23/89           Finance

a)   To note the Internal Auditor’s report on the 2022-23 accounts

Internal Auditor checked through the Parish Council’s accounts and documentation on the 24th April 2023. She was happy with the internal controls of the Council; she signed the Internal Auditor’s section of the AGAR. Her report was noted by the Council, with just five matters to draw to the members attention, these are for consideration rather than cause for concern:

  • Policy document dates on website – original dates are misleading when reviewed annually, webmaster has already been instructed. Document review record to be established.
  • Signing of bank reconciliations – initialed, but needs to be signed by RFO. This is to be added to the monthly internal review.
  • Risk assessments for new activities – such as Xmas Tree, RA completed but not formally recorded. Will be from now on.
  • Internal controls for cash receipts – Quiz payments (only £140) leave staff vulnerable to accusations, however work to be spread between Clerk & Assistant this year to rectify.
  • Property damage cover for play equipment – consideration for Council on the insurance. Cllr Savage explained how this consideration is complicated. The auditor is saying that if there are several of the same assets spread throughout the village e.g., Friendly Benches, which are unlikely to all be damaged at the same time, does the PC consider just insuring one of them or all? However, the RFO’s concern is that if someone consciously underinsures then the insurance company is within its rights to only give that person a percentage of the payout if a claim is made. The Parish Council’s Long Term Agreement insurance policy is up for renewal at the end of May and will therefore be discussed by the Council in greater depth at the next meeting.

b)   To agree Section 1 – Annual Governance Statement 2022-23 by members of West Bergholt Parish Council

RESOLVED – Annual Governance Statement was read out by Cllr Savage. He then proposed that the Council agree Section 1 of the AGAR, Cllr Butcher seconded, All in favour. Section 1 was then signed by the Clerk and Chair of the meeting.

c)    To agree Section 2 – Accounting Statements 2022-23 for West Bergholt Parish Council

RESOLVED – Accounting Statements for 2022-23 were shown to the Council by Cllr Savage. He then proposed that the Council agree Section 2 of the AGAR, Cllr Stone seconded, All in favour. Section 2 was then signed by the Chair of the meeting, having previously been signed by the RFO, Cllr Savage.

23/90          Items to Note

a)   Crime Statistics

24th Apr – 7th May 23: 5 crimes: four involving car crime & one theft from flat.

ACTION – Clerk to ask PS Ben Knighton how the Stroll with Patrol went on the 7th May.

b)   Cleaner/Caretaker

The candidate who was offered the job of Cleaner/Caretaker has since declined the role, therefore the Orpen Hall Management Committee are looking at alternatives and once they have suitable solutions & candidates, they will reinstruct the Council in regard to any employment contracts.  

c)    Annual Parish Meeting Complaint

The Council received a letter of complaint in relation to the Annual Parish Meeting to which the Chair has crafted a response and the Clerk has reviewed. The Chair sent the reply this evening.

d)   Invitations to the Chair

The Chair, Cllr Butcher, has recently accepted invitations to both the Making of the Mayor ceremony at the Town Hall and the University of Essex AGM.

e)   Section 106 – Heathlands School

Cllr Pulford asked a question concerning the availability of section 106 funds for Heathlands School. Cllr Butcher explained that there is already provision in the section 106 (payment from developments) specifically for ECC education establishments, but it is a different process to the release of monies to Community Services & Leisure Services from CCC.

ACTION – Clerk to find a recent example of a section 106 agreement for Cllr Pulford

23/91          Items for Next Agenda (Wed 24th May- Extraordinary Mtg)

Extraordinary meeting to simply cover the normal monthly work of the Council, which includes the usual Planning, Finance & Environment Committee reports. Cllrs Stone and Savage gave their apologies in advance of the meeting.

23/92           In Committee

Matters taken in the absence of Press and Public (Public (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960) as the item contains exempt information as defined by the Local Government Act 1972 Sch. 12a Pt (1).

No matters were discussed in committee.

23/93          Date of Next Meeting

Extraordinary Meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wed 24th May 2023 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall, Lexden Rd, CO6 3BW.

The meeting closed at 8.55pm.

Signed:                                                                   Date:

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