08 April 2024 – Minutes (draft)


Minutes of the Personnel Committee Meeting held on 8 April 2024 at 3pm in the Meeting Room, Thame Town Hall.


Deputy Mayor, Cllr A Gilbert
Chairman of Policy and Resources, Cllr M Dyer
Chairman of Community, Leisure and Recreation, Cllr P Cowell
Chairman of Planning & Environment, Cllr H Fickling
Chairman of Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee, Cllr C Jones


M Sturdy (Town Clerk)
K Slater (Responsible Financial Officer / Corporate Services Manager)


1 Apologies for Absence

Apologies were received from Cllr Dite (personal). In the absence of the Chair, Cllr Gilbert (Deputy Chair) chaired the meeting.


2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations.


3 Public Participation and Public Questions

There were no applications to address the Committee.
There were no questions put to the Committee.


4 Minutes

The Minutes of the Committee Meeting held on 9 January 2024 were confirmed as a correct record, and were signed by the Chairman.


5 Exclusion of the Public

RESOLVED: That under Section 1, Paragraph 2 of The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business because publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted.


6 Leadership Training Feedback

A presentation was received from the Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) and Corporate Services Manager following their completion of the Navigation Leadership Training. The committee asked several questions and were impressed with the outcomes from the training.

The RFO and Corporate Services Manager left the meeting.


7 Staff Appraisal Timetable 2024

The timetable for this year’s appraisals was noted.


8 Staffing Update

The following staffing changes were noted:

  • A new member of staff joined the Town Council on 29 February 2024, initially for two days a week until 1 April 2024 when they took on the role as Customer Service Officer in the Information Centre for 4 days a week.
  • The Town Council’s Administration Officer and PA to the Mayor will be retiring on 26 April 2024 after 20 years.
  • This role will be taken up by the current Community Services Officer who will be moving across from the Information Centre after 17 years in that role. The Administration Officer role will include 5 hours a week of support to the Operations Manager.
  • The Finance Administrator will take on an additional 5 hours per week to further support the RFO and Corporate Services Manager.
  • Interviews for the Business Administration Apprentice are due to take place between 8-10 April 2024. This role will include running the Information Centre each Tuesday and will be line managed by the Committee Services and System Officer.
  • Interviews for maternity cover for the Communications and Events Officer will take place between 15-17 April 2024, aiming to have someone on board in early May.


9 Funding Manager / Grants Officer

The Clerk updated the committee about the options being investigated, including the option to employ a fundraising consultant with the agreed budget, which would potentially expediate the project whilst reducing the risks involved with direct employment. The committee agreed that this would only be an acceptable option if the consultant could also deliver the intended support to partnering organisations insomuch as signposting grant opportunities and checking through applications before they are sent.


  1. The Clerk can continue to work on a solution but must ensure that however the fundraising solution is delivered the service to the community is included.


10 Staff Handbook

A revised Staff Handbook has been created by our contracted HR consultants. This includes the latest legislation and elements which are flexible, the flexible elements were discussed and agreed by the committee who were pleased that a specialist organisation would ensure that any changes in legislation would be regularly updated.

Questions were raised regarding values around accepting gifts – the Clerk agreed to check those against legislation before issuing the new handbook.


  1. The New Staff Handbook should replace all previous editions, be circulated to all staff and be updated in line with any changing legislation.

Cllr Gilbert left the Meeting; a motion was passed that Cllr Cowell chair the remainder of the meeting.


11 Staffing Matters

The Clerk shared general data relating to staffing matters including the latest sickness records for 2023/24 – It was recognised that supporting staff through difficult times in important but that in such a small team absenteeism puts additional pressure on the remaining team. Whilst the new Handbook sets out a clear procedure It was suggested that a method such as the Bradford Factor[1] be considered to assist with management of absenteeism. The Clerk will review this with the Responsible Finance Officer and Corporate Services Manager.

The Clerk explained that not having cover when the cleaner is on holiday, or the caretaker is unavailable has resulted in loss of revenue at the Town Hall. To address this the Clerk proposed a recruitment exercise to employ a casual caretaker/cleaner to cover for the holiday hours. The cost for this would be found within the current budget due to agreed / budgeted positions mot starting on April 1st.

The committee discussed the possibility of employing someone on a short-term bases to support and start work on the set up of a community bus, until such time a suitable model of management could be found. The committee did not feel that they had enough information to support this at this time but would welcome a future business case to consider.

The committee discussed the work and projects in process and impacting on all staff. Where appropriate it was agreed that where a role is given significant additional responsibilities it should be re measured by a suitably qualified external organisation to ensure it is set at the correct scale point.


  1. The recruitment process for a cover cleaner / caretaker can go ahead subject to the costs being covered within the agreed staffing budget.
  2. Scale point review for any positions with significant changes in responsibilities should be carried out using external specialists to ensure objectivity and equality.
  3. A business case would be required before recruitment to the community bus could be considered.


The meeting concluded at 4:45pm.



Signed …………………………               Date: ……………………..


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradford_Factor